Penn State Nittany Lions
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #131
Conference Rank: #11 Big Ten
Penn State Team Page
Coach Patrick Chambers was thrown into a tough position at Penn State. This was a team that made the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and then lost their previous coach to Navy. With a 4-14 record in Big Ten play and a mere one road victory, the Nittany Lions certainly went through some rough times. The good news is that it was a relatively young team and Coach Chambers is slowly building a team that can occasionally compete in the Big Ten. For now all hope lies with Tim Frazier. The 6-1 point guard dished out 6.2 assists per game and scored 18.8 points. He was pretty much the entire team and, all things considered, did a great job keeping the team under control and taking over when he needed to do so.
2011-12 Record: 12-20, 4-14
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Patrick Chambers
Coach Record: 12-20 at Penn State, 54-48 overall
The bad news is a handful of key contributors are gone. Cammeron Woodyard, the team’s most consistent three-point shooter, averaged 8.7 points per game during his senior season. At 6-5, Woodyard was more than just a shooter and did a fine job attacking the basket and helping out on the glass. Trey Lewis and Matt Glover, a couple more guards who earned starts last season, are both transferring. Lewis did not do too much besides shoot three-pointers, but he did that quite well. Glover started 21 contests and, while he was never a big time scorer, did average 4.2 rebounds per contest. The loss up front is Billy Oliver. The big man had to cut his career short due to recurring concussions and his ability to stretch out the defense will be missed.
Coach Chambers needed to find at least a couple players who could immediately step into the regular rotation. D.J. Newbill fits that bill. The transfer from Southern Miss is a big wing who can score and hit the glass. He very well could be a better replacement for Woodyard, especially if he can knock down some long balls consistently. As a freshman at Southern Miss, Newbill averaged 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while starting every game. Do not be surprised if he starts every game at Penn State too. Akosa Maduegbunam, a 6-3 wing, will try and take some minutes away from Newbill and will likely have to play some minutes on the wing. Brandon Taylor is the new player in the frontcourt who is expected to work his way into the regular rotation. The 6-8, 235 pound Tabernacle, New Jersey product has added a lot of girth to his frame in the last year or so and is getting close to being ready to bang in the paint in the Big Ten. Donovon Jack may not be as polished at this point in his career as Taylor, but he is a good shot blocker and that could earn him some quality minutes.
Who to Watch:
The Penn State frontcourt could use an influx of talent, but it is not like the cupboard is bare. In fact, there could be an interesting battle for the two frontcourt starting jobs between Jon Graham, Ross Travis and Sasa Borovnjak. Graham started 17 games as a freshman and came on strong at the end of the year. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds on the season, but those numbers went up during February and March. Graham, at 6-8, is also the best shot blocker on the team. Travis, another sophomore, also played his best basketball late in the season. The 6-6 forward is a little undersized to be a power forward, but he can play small forward too. Travis started 16 contests during his freshman campaign and averaged 4.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. His ability to hit the glass makes him an attractive option in the starting five. Borovnjak came back from an ACL injury during the 2010-2011 season and averaged 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds. Borovnjak is extremely efficient on the offensive end when he gets the opportunity to score. No matter who starts, the Nittany Lions do have three very promising returning forwards.
Frazier was not the only backcourt player who could score last season. Jermaine Marshall is back after averaging 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore. Marshall is a quality outside shooter and a can use his size to attack the basket. With Marshall teaming up with Newbill on the wing, the Penn State backcourt might be a lot more dynamic than they were last year when everything fell on the shoulders of Frazier. This is a group that still lacks the overall talented depth to compete day in and day out in the Big Ten, but there should be improvement this year and that is all the Nittany Lions can hope for right now.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Tim Frazier, Senior, Guard, 18.8 points per game
Jermaine Marshall, Junior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
D.J. Newbill, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Ross Travis, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 points per game
Jonathan Graham, Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#103 Tim Frazier