Posts tagged ‘Patrick Chambers’

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 8, 2013

Hey, man, nice shot: Macklemore is a popular rap-singer—we think that’s what the kids call ‘em—who brought his popular rap-singing act to the Bryce Jordan Center last night. The Collegian gave the show an “A,” and that’s without even counting Macklemore’s apparent basketball prowess. Per his Instagram account:

http://instagram.com/p/gcTXrSwKzw/

And speaking of hoops: College basketball is back. The Lady Lions—ranked No. 13 and 15 in the preseason coaches and media polls, respectively—open the season tonight when they host St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m. Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas leads the way for Penn State, which will hoist its 2013 Big Ten championship banner before the game.

The Nittany Lions open their season Saturday with a 4 p.m. home game against Wagner. We’ll take this opportunity to plug our profile and video of all-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier ’13, and an exclusive Q&A with coach Patrick Chambers over at The Football Letter blog.

Far afield: The busy sports weekend continues on the road, starting Friday morning when the Penn State field hockey team—which already wrapped up its second straight regular-season league title—faces Iowa in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The game will air live on BTN at 10 a.m. today. And if all that sounds familiar, pay attention: The women’s soccer team also plays Iowa today in the semifinals of the B1G tournament—that game kicks off at noon, and will also air live on BTN.

Smith’s bad week gets worse: David Smith, the SUNY Upstate Medical Center president who was reportedly close to being announced as Penn State’s new president, has stepped down from his role while SUNY reviews his compensation.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 8, 2013 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

From The Magazine: Tim Frazier is Back

Expanded content from the pages of The Penn Stater.

We were talking with Tim Frazier a few weeks back in the otherwise quiet practice gym at the Bryce Jordan Center. Off in the far corner, out of camera view, Frazier’s coach, Patrick Chambers, was chugging away on an exercise bike. Frazier started talking, but he got distracted. He tried to ignore the whirrrrr of his coach on the bike, but finally, after about 20 seconds, he couldn’t ignore it anymore.

“I just hear a bike in the background, and it just reminds me…” Frazier said. “When [my teammates] were running and doing sprints, I was on the bike. When they weren‘t doing sprints, I was on the bike.”

He can laugh about it now. Frazier ’13 was talking about the months-long rehab that followed the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered last November, just four games into the 2012–13 season. (And yes, as Frazier mentions, it’s the same injury his older sister suffered while playing for Rice in 2006). A first-team all-Big Ten pick as a junior in 2011–12, Frazier came into last season intending to put himself and his team in the national spotlight. Instead, he watched from the bench in a suit, and spent practice time—hours and hours of practice time—churning away on that bike.

Now, Frazier is back, healthy—”100 percent,” he insists—and eager to make up for lost time.

Frazier was an easy choice for the athlete profile in our November/December issue—not least because he’s so darn good. As a junior, the 6-foot-1 guard from Houston led the Lions in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, becoming the first Penn State player to total at least 500 points, 150 assists, and 50 steals in a season. His 198 assists set a new single-season school record, and he led the Big Ten in steals. Maybe most impressive of all his numbers, his combined field goals and assists accounted for 58 percent of the Lions’ offense—the highest rate in the nation.

He was back on the court this summer during the team’s three-game European tour, the “appetizer” for the season to come. But neither that brief off-season excursion nor the handful of games he played before his injury last season gave fans a sufficient chance to see Frazier make the most of his pairing with DJ Newbill, the former transfer who led Penn State in scoring last year. Together, they give the Lions what Chambers last year predicted would be one of the best backcourts in the nation.

If the coach ends up being anywhere close to right, he might well credit the knowledge Frazier gleaned while watching from the bench last winter. More than once since his injury, Frazier has talked about the benefits of enforced time off the court: ample opportunity to fine tune various aspects of his game, and being forced to think and observe like a coach (oh, and he also finished his degree).

Frazier makes a great point, too, about his teammates: “Everybody got better.” For all the expectations that Frazier will come back at least as good as the do-everything all-Big Ten pick of two seasons ago, he’s surrounded by a supporting cast that, he hopes, will be much more than just a “supporting cast.” Regardless, we’re excited to see him out there. And it sounds like Frazier is just happy to be off the bike.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 24, 2013 at 9:47 am 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 18, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

A “legend” passes: Larry Foster ’48, a giant of the public relations industry and one of Penn State’s most prominent and dedicated alumni, died Thursday. He was 88. Foster’s great impact on the PR world came in the early 1980s, when he guided Johnson & Johnson’s response to the infamous and still-unsolved Tylenol poisoning of 1982. It remains a case study in the right way to handle a corporate PR crisis. His impact on his alma mater has been similarly profound. Along with his wife, Ellen Miller ’49, Foster was a generous and far-sighted donor to Penn State, and particularly to the College of Communications, where they endowed faculty positions and scholarships and supported renovations to the Carnegie Building. A three-term member of the Board of Trustees, Foster also served as president of the Alumni Association, and was instrumental in creating the Alumni Fellows program.

Courting success: The men’s basketball team held its preseason media day Thursday, and while third-year coach Patrick Chambers wouldn’t be specific about how many wins he’s aiming for, or whether this squad has NCAA tournament potential, he made one thing clear: He likes this team. (more…)

October 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 3, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

World class: Another ranking has given Penn Staters something to crow about. This time, it’s the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which lists Penn State 49th out of 400 institutions from around the globe. We’re one of eight Big Ten schools ranked in the top 100. You can find the complete list and details on the methodology here.

A distinguished duo: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, are coming to University Park on Nov. 4 as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Careful while canning: It’s a story that comes up every year around this time: Students who travel for canning weekends (more…)

October 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm 1 comment

Nittany Lion Basketball is Going Back to Rec Hall

For one night in December, the rims will be rocking again in Rec Hall.

photo-1It’s long been rumored (and long been lobbied for by those of us with a particularly strong connection to the place), and on Wednesday, it became official: The Nittany Lions will host Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the gym the program called home for nearly seven decades. The announcement was made by athletic director Dave Joyner ’72, ’76g, who was flanked in the Bryce Jordan Center media room by current Nittany Lion coach Patrick Chambers and by Bruce Parkhill, the man who led Penn State to some of its finest moments in Rec Hall.

The return to the old building has been a long time coming. Chambers said they’ve been working on it for at least a year, figuring out the logistics of playing a basketball game in a building that is no longer set up for hoops. That means a portable floor being brought in and set up in the days before the game, figuring out ticketing allotments, and the smaller but no less vital details—Will there be enough parking? Will there be enough bathrooms?—familiar to anyone who remembers packing into Rec Hall for basketball back in the day. But they figured it out, and for Chambers, the motivation was simple.

“We listened to our fans,” Chambers said. “We listened to our alums. We listened to our former players. We heard you.”

For guys like me—a front-row season-ticket holder for two seasons in the mid ’90s—the nostalgic pull of Rec Hall is obvious. It was great to see Parkhill, who was so terrific to talk to last year for our feature on the ‘93 Penn State-Indiana game, at the podium and clearly excited about the game. But the real treat is seeing how people with little or no connection to Rec Hall as a hoop venue are just as excited. Andrew Jones ’11, the former Nittany Lion big man who returned to the program in June to work as a graduate assistant (and who played all his home games in the BJC), tweeted “I still can’t believe this game is happening!!! Bittersweet but awesome nonetheless.” And current students like Maddy Pryor and Darnell Brady, members of the Nittany Nation student supporters section, were at Wednesday’s press conference to unveil the “Return to Rec” banners. They can’t wait.

Neither can I. Now if only I can get my old seats back in the front row…

Ryan Jones, senior editor

July 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm 4 comments

Mutual Admiration on the Back of the Bus

So I’m sitting on the back of this bus, rolling through suburban Maryland, listening to a couple of guys talk sports.

In general, I don’t really enjoy listening to other people talk about sports—I abhor the shouting and cliches of sports talk radio, and unless the subject is a team I really care about, I’m probably not interested anyway —but this is a little different. These guys have great stories. These guys know what they’re talking about.

Put it in writing: Cael Sanderson is Bill O’Brien’s biggest fan.

Cael Sanderson and Bill O’Brien spent Thursday morning trading stories as the Penn State Coaches Caravan rolled from Washington, D.C. to Lancaster, and I was lucky enough to be sitting a few feet away. We’ve had a different coaching combination on each leg of the trip—Tuesday it was O’Brien and Pat Chambers, who are famously close, swapping tales about recruiting and rival coaches. Wednesday brought Sanderson to the mix, and with Chambers back home in State College on Thursday, Penn State’s football and wrestling coaches were talking shop.

As a lifelong sports fan, and as a sportswriter for most of my career, I find this all to be very, very cool.

The details are all very much off the record, of course, but what I can tell you is how much fun it’s been to watch these guys interact. There’s such an obvious mutual respect between them, and it comes across most clearly in how they listen to each other. With Sanderson and O’Brien in particular—despite having very different personalities and working in arguably polar opposite sports—you could sense a genuine interest in learning from each other. Since arriving at Penn State, O’Brien has spoken repeatedly of how much he enjoys interacting with his fellow coaches. He pretty clearly means it.

I was bummed to learn that Coquese Washington (who joined the Caravan on Wednesday) and Russ Rose (who arrived in time for the Lancaster stop Thursday morning) wouldn’t actually be on the bus; in both their senses of humor and their coaching acumen, both would have added much to the conversation. As it is, I consider myself lucky to be able to listen in; Penn State fans should consider themselves lucky to have such capable men and women in charge.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm 2 comments

A Reunion at the Coaches Caravan

One of the unexpected highlights of tagging along on the Penn State Coaches Caravan has been the chance to run into old friends. Last year in Baltimore, it was Katy Whalen ’09, who was a student a few years ago when I taught a section of Comm 462, and who was nice enough to tell me that, honestly, she had no idea it was my first teaching experience. (She might well have been trying not to hurt my feelings, but I’ll take it.) Tuesday night in Philadelphia, it was Stephen Bogush ’91, ’94g, my old Penn State football teammate.

Well, sort of.

Stephen Bogush and his wife Mary with men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers

Back in 2006, Bogush—a Philly-area anesthesiologist—and I were fellow campers at the very first Penn State Fantasy Football Camp, which I covered for The Penn Stater. I got to meet his wife, Mary Tillman ’94g, and Bogush and I reminisced about the terrific experience at the inaugural Fantasy Camp—the laughs, the array of “old-man” injuries, the rush of getting to play on the Beaver Stadium turf on a glorious summer day. John Lagana ’62, who if memory serves was the senior member of that first fantasy camp, was there as well.

I ran into a few other old friends and acquaintances Tuesday night—always great to see my fellow soccer fanatic and occasional tailgating partner Brad Youtz ’96—and made a few new ones as well. While the coaches understandably remain the draw—as well they should: Bill O’Brien and Patrick Chambers were at turns impassioned, thoughtful, and hilarious on Tuesday’s stops at Penn State Berks and in downtown Philly—it’s a blast to see so many Penn Staters come together on the road. I’ve already heard from a few folks on Twitter who I’m looking forward to meeting or catching up with on upcoming stops. Hope to see you there.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 1, 2013 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Backcourt Valuation

For Patrick Chambers and the Nittany Lion basketball team this season, it’s all about the backcourt.

For months, Chambers has been talking up the Lions’ 2012-13 backcourt as (possibly) the best in the nation. It sounds like craziness from the second-year head coach, but think of it as exaggeration with a purpose. Chambers absolutely believes that his starting backcourt of Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill can be among the best in college basketball this season; just as important, he wants to make sure Frazier and Newbill believe it, too.

“I have to do a great job of managing expectations, because I put it out there—but why not?” Chambers said Monday at the team’s preseason media day. “Why not us? I know people are shocked, because usually when people say that, it’s Ohio State or Michigan State. But it’s Penn State. I’m saying it, I’m the head coach at Penn State, and I think we have a great backcourt.”

The presence of Frazier alone means the claim isn’t that far-fetched. A first-team all-Big Ten pick as a junior last season, Frazier averaged a league-high 6.2 assists per game, and ranked second in the conference in points (18.8) and steals (2.4). Statistically, it was one of the best seasons ever by a Penn State guard.

Newbill is the unknown half of this potentially dynamic duo. A redshirt sophomore from Philadelphia, Newbill sat out last season after transferring from Southern Mississippi, where he made the Conference USA all-freshman team. Word of Newbill’s athleticism, intensity, and defensive prowess trickled out last season, when he and Frazier battled relentlessly during practices. Now, they get their chance to work together.

“If we keep working hard, the sky’s the limit,” Newbill said Monday. “I think Coach said what he said because he knows that. Me and Tim, we heard him make the statement. We’re glad he believes in us, to make a bold statement like that.”

Belief isn’t lacking in the Penn State locker room; now they just have to convince everyone else. The Lions were picked near the bottom of the Big Ten by the league’s coaches and media, folks who know little to nothing about Newbill (a team co-captain before he’s even played a game) and don’t see enough talent elsewhere on the roster to help Frazier win games. We’ll find out soon enough: A 79-54 exhibition win over Philadelphia University last Saturday was a nice warm-up for the games that count, starting with Friday’s tip-off against St. Francis. Not for the first time, a Penn State basketball team will be out to disprove the doubters.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Mr. O’Brien Goes to Washington

He signed 21 autographs. He posed for 68 photos. He shook 101 hands.

That was the tally—part of it, anyway—for Bill O’Brien Tuesday night in Washington D.C., on the fourth stop of the Penn State Coaches Caravan. For about 40 minutes—from the time he entered the ballroom at the Washington Hilton until the time he excused himself to make his way up to the stage—I watched O’Brien stand at the front an impromptu receiving line and greet Penn State alumni and fans. For those 40 minutes, I tracked every interaction O’Brien had.

Washington seemed the right place to document the most campaign-like aspect of the caravan, and O’Brien’s role in it. I joked before I stepped onto the bus Monday morning that I felt a bit like a reporter embedding with a presidential candidate; seeing O’Brien address the handshake line for the fourth time in two days—knowing how many more hands he’ll shake, pictures he’ll take, and autographs he’ll sign in the coming days and weeks—only reinforced the analogy. (more…)

May 2, 2012 at 2:24 am 2 comments

The Bill & Patrick Show

I’m back on the bus now between Baltimore and Washington, en route from the third to the fourth stop on the Penn State Coaches Caravan. As has been the case for every leg of our trip so far, Bill O’Brien and Patrick Chambers are posted up in the back of the bus, each habitually working their phones. They’ve been on those phones quite a bit over the past day and a half, but they’ve also spent a lot of time trading stories and banter. Watching and listening to them interact has been a blast.

Anyone who’s paid attention to Chambers since his arrival 11 months ago knows what the Nittany Lion basketball coach is all about: energy, intensity, and passion. O’Brien’s public personality isn’t quite as obvious; he’s intense, certainly, but not the non-stop salesman that Chambers (literally, a salesman before he was a coach) has shown himself to be. But these guys have enough obviously in common that it wasn’t hard to guess they’d get along.

Do they ever.

What I’ve been fortunate to see on the bus, alumni and fans have gotten a taste of at the three caravan stops so far. O’Brien and Chambers play off each other perfectly, riffing on each other’s roots in provincial East Coast sports towns (greater Boston for O’Brien, the Philly burbs for Chambers), their similar no-nonsense haircuts, and their insistence on being not just colleagues but teammates at Penn State.

That last part is worth talking more about. These men are similar in age (O’Brien is 42, Chambers 41) and experience. Both have young children. Most important, both have been on campus less than a year. As the football coach at Penn State, O’Brien will always be the focus of greater public attention, but in all the ways that matter to these guys, they genuinely seem to see each other as equals, and men who can contribute to each other’s success.

On the stage Tuesday in Baltimore, O’Brien joked about bringing the football team to watch basketball games next season “whether they like it or not” and opening up the revamped Nittany Lion weight room to other student-athletes. Chambers mentioned a burly incoming basketball recruit who “looks like a defensive end,” then glanced back at O’Brien as he warned the coach off his soon-to-be player. It goes on and on. There’s a natural vibe between these two—fellow jocks, to be sure, but not dumb ones. It’s been great watching it develop.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm 2 comments

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