New Site

October 19, 2010

The new, new site - http://raisethecurtains.wordpress.com/

 


Battle returning, other news

May 13, 2010

Here’s a few offseason updates.

-Talor Battle withdrew from the NBA Draft to apparently the surprise of some people. This is old news, but it’s just a little bit big for PSU. I don’t know how many people thought he would leave, but I personally was never concerned. Talor’s a smart guy. I’m happy he was finally able to get a pre-draft workout with the Trailblazers just before the deadline. He reportedly made 36 of 50 NBA threes. But in reality, Talor’s chances to get drafted and stick in the pros were pretty slim this year. I will say right now, though, I do expect Talor Battle to hear his name called in the 2011 NBA draft. Just a hunch.

-On the recruiting front, Penn State has been busy looking to fill their 2 remaining scholarships for the 2010 class with some big men. It’s been reported that the staff is not planning to hold the open 2 ‘ships for the 2011 class, unless they presumably strikeout on their targets. A couple kids who have been on visits recently have committed elsewhere. 6’7″ F Andre Roberson from Texas chose Colorado over PSU. 6’7″ F Colton Christian from Hargrave Military Academy by way of Bellevue, WA, committed to Michigan over Cal and PSU. Previous targets who have also gone elsewhere: Dwight McCombs (Central Florida), Andre Clark (TCU), and Eric McKnight (Iowa State). However, while PSU has struck out with these guys, all hope is not lost. It seems very possible that 6’8″ F Jonathan Graham from Baltimore could end up at Penn State. He reportedly was seen on campus two weeks ago and presumably will make his decision by May 19th, the end of the spring signing period. It was found out today by Nate Bauer at BWI that Graham is visiting today. There’ll be more on Graham when his decision is public (especially if it’s PSU).

-A couple of scheduling tidbits. The Big Ten/ACC Challenge was released today. PSU fans have been complaining forever that the Nittany Lions play the same teams in this challenge. At the beginning, it was Clemson year after year. But the last 4 seasons have brought Georgia Tech (2x), Virginia Tech, and Virginia. What I believe to be the root of PSU’s complaints is the fact that they just really want to play Maryland once and were never given the opportunity. Well, lo and behold, the Terrapins will be traveling to State College on December 1st (on Wednesday, wonder how the staff feels about the 76 Classic withdrawal now?). It’s a very exciting matchup between quiet rivals who really don’t play each other in either revenue sport for no apparent reason. Well I’m sure there’s some bullshit money excuse, but it’s nice that ESPN has set up this gig. Maryland was co-ACC champs last season, but they lost do-everything PG Greivis Vasquez and their other 2 leading scorers. They obviously are a traditionally strong opponent, but it’s probably looking like a ‘down year’ for the turtle next season, or at least by their standards. But that means it could be a very winnable game for the Nittany Lions.

-Also, it was discovered that Fairfield will be traveling to the BJC next year as well (although the source has since rescinded the leaked opponents on Fairfield’s schedule). I don’t know too much about the MAAC, but it’s very possible the Stags will be preseason favorites to win the conference. They finished 2nd in 2009-2010, runners-up to the dominant Siena Saints. Here’s a nice prospective overview of the Stags from USAToday of all sources. These are the types of games the Nittany Lions need to schedule for the sake of their RPI and SOS. Fairfield will easily be a top 200 team, possibly top 100. They don’t pack the name recognition to sell out the BJC, but they are eons better than any America East squad.

That brings the 2010 schedule to this so far:

  • vs. Maryland
  • @ Ole Miss
  • @ Virginia Tech
  • vs. Fairfield
  • vs. Delaware State
  • vs. Lehigh

Hopefully the remainder of the schedule is strong. I don’t believe this was posted on the blog but Cornell was going to travel to Penn State for a game. That, however, has been dropped, which is a smart move on PSU’s end because there is no way the Big Red is going to contend next year. Their run this year was marvelous, but that program is now in serious rebuild mode after the mass exodus. Highly unlikely they’re above 250 or so next season. Also, it was also reported by a fan that Kanaskie said at a public function we were in negotiations with Kansas to play a home-and-home series in Kansas City and Hershey. It is unknown whether that has fallen through or if those negotiations are still ongoing.

That’s all for now.


PSU withdraws from 76 Classic

April 13, 2010

What had been rumored for a while finally came officially true yesterday. Penn State has pulled out of the 76 Classic. While this is disappointing news, Brian Siegrist, the SID, did offer an explanation on twitter. The full statement from his twitter paraphrased below:

Ah, the blogosphere. Contrary to recent posts, PSU’s decision not to play in the 76 Classic had nothing to do with last season’s record, nor was it decided by the tournament organizers. PSU elected not to play in the tournament back in December and notified 76 organizers then. It just took them this long to update their website. PSU is taking a lesson from Minnesota, which played in last year’s 76 and went 1-3 while playing four games in six days and crossing 5,000 miles, including going straight from Classic to ACC Challenge at Miami. The Lions decided against the 3 games in Anaheim, the last of which could be Sunday evening, and then return for a possible ACC game on Monday or Tuesday in State College.


You can read a full in-depth response from Brian over at BSD, as Mike took the initiative to find out what the rational was. And to me, it makes perfect sense. I would rather not have our schedule hang in the hands of ESPN. If you haven’t noticed, they don’t give a fuck about anything other than themselves and their money. Case in point: the 2009 flex game (against Illinois) at the end of the schedule left us with a 9PM tip home tip on Thursday and a 2PM tip on the road @ Iowa just 36 hours or so later. Did we really need to play at 9 PM on Thursday night? Yes, because ESPN said so. Did the late game Thursday have a jetlag effect on the players in Iowa City? You betcha.

Everyone is acting like we are giving up on ‘tough’ competition, but when you actually look at the 76 classic field, you’ll realize it’s really not what they crack it up to be. Depaul and Cal-Northridge are garbage. Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are all losing their best players. The only teams sure to be solid are UNLV and VT, and we’re already scheduled to play the latter anyway.

In fact, I’d even argue there are better squads in the pool of schools who have yet to be linked to an exempt tournament (check out bloggingthebracket’s compilation thus far). Penn State made this decision back in December, so I’d say there’s still a great chance we’ve landed in another exempt tournament. Even if we didn’t, though, who really cares? There are so many of these tourneys these days that the ‘exposure’ gained is minimal at best. PSU is not going to be in one of the premiere fields, so we’re not going to be on television (example: 2009 Charleston Classic).

This would only be a disappointing move if the rest of schedule to replace the 76 Classic were Bryant University, NJIT, and Fordham.  Since we don’t know that as of now, there is no reason to be upset over this (unless you had already made plans to attend). No judgments can possibly be made about the schedule until it is released . Unless, of course, you hate Ed DeChellis and are praying the program fails, despite your empty blanket statements such as: ‘he’s a nice guy’ or ‘a good ambassador to the university’. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about the schedule (see the last 7 compiled), but let the guy at least attempt to do his job before you criticize.


Battle submits his name

April 8, 2010

Or in otherwords, he’s giving himself the opportunity to get evaluated by NBA scouts. That’s all it really is. This was to be expected. He’s got until May 8th to withdraw his name.

Find me an NBA mock draft with Talor Battle in it, and then maybe I’ll actually be worried about him leaving. The only thing I’m worried about is how is he going to finish out this semester if he’s going to be on the road working out with NBA teams over the next month? (EDIT: NCAA rules prohibit players from missing class for NBA workouts, so if Talor did that, he would basically be giving up his eligibility).

Of course, I hope Talor performs well in workouts. I’m rooting for him as always. I just don’t see how he’s going to be able to do anything in a month to raise his draft status from undrafted to a sure pick, which is what I think it would take for TB to leave. As I’ve said before, you can bet the house on Talor Battle and Taran Buie being in Penn State uniforms in 2010-2011.

There’s nothing to see here, move along.


Commitment : Tre Bowman

March 30, 2010

*Photo Courtesy of Recruitrecon.com

Hometown: York, PA
High School: St. Thomas More School
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Schools: Drexel, Minnesota, South Florida

Recruiting Profiles

Articles on his Commitment:

The Story

Tre Bowman committed to Ed DeChellis and the Nittany Lions last night. Bowman is a 6’4″ guard who originally played at Central York High School. He then prepped and re-classified as a 2010 recruit at St. Thomas More school this past year. There isn’t a whole lot out there on the young man, but he looks to be an explosive athlete and a good shooter. We knew with Babb’s departure, the team was lacking perimeter scoring options. Check out this article and watch some video highlights below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PFo9tK8ypc

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dxvambJDMs


Stop the Madness

March 28, 2010

The season has been over for 2 and a half weeks now, but that hasn’t stopped people from letting out their frustrations at the program. Watching the (exact same) conversations has been everything from comical to downright pathetic. But now it’s just long past tiresome and it needs to stop. Now.

There IS good reason to be frustrated. Penn State continues to show undying loyalty to a coach who has yet to yield meaningful results on the court. It’s very likely that PSU could be the only school in major D-1 basketball to show such patience and lack of action to a losing program. I don’t think at this point too many Penn State fans would shed a tear if DeChellis walked away from the program today. As fans, we’re continually slapped in the face as completely unacceptable results go unpunished.

However, it’s time for everyone to face reality. Ed DeChellis isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Tim Curley. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, whether you like it or not. Sure, you can show your disapproval. You can write letters, send emails, stop buying tickets. But it’s not going to do a damn thing. It’s not that Curley doesn’t care. He just doesn’t have to care. Football will always pay the bills (along with the BTN).

So frankly, it’s up to you whether or not you want to support the program. I do, because I always have and always will. However, I sure wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. But it’s time to move on past the bitching and crying. We can only look forward because Ed DeChellis is going to be the head coach for at least another year.


Analyzing the Roster Shakeup

March 21, 2010

As I’m sure you are all aware of, in the last few days there have been a few departures from the basketball team. Not surprising were the announced graduations of Andrew Ott and Adam Highberger. What caught most PSU fans off guard were the announced transfers of promising players, Chris Babb and Bill Edwards.

With the official release from Ed DeChellis and the Sports Information department, I think it’s safe to assume that the transfer train has left the station. As usual with such happenings, numerous unsubstantiated rumors were running wild around the internet. Taran Buie, who has had one hell of a strange year at State College High, was rumored to be expressing interest in getting out of LOI. That turned out to be false. Buie has endured so many strange rumors this year that it’s gotten to the point where anything out of State High now I’ll just believe to be more small town gossip. If there’s anything we have learned from the Battle/Buie family, it’s that their family comes first above all else. Buie’s family is here, he’s not leaving (at least not in the near future). It also appears that Cammeron Woodyard and Tim Frazier, subjected to their own rumors, are also staying with the program.

At first thought, this is nothing like the end of the Jerry Dunn era, which many frustrated fans will have you believe. The ‘family’ motto of the program has constantly been mocked the last 24 hours. I think that couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Adam Highberger – It’s unfortunate that his injury-riddled career is going to end, as he was pegged as one walk-on who DeChellis thought he could become a contributor. But if you know anything about the schooling and standards required to become a dentist, Highberger’s career aspiration, you would know that moving onto dental school far outweighs playing spot duty for this basketball program. I wish Adam well.
  • Andrew Ott – The Villanova transfer is graduating with a business degree, but he still had a year of eligibility remaining. However, I think DeChellis and the coaching staff made the right decision in this case. If we want to reach NCAA goals next year, we needed to bring in another big man who can compete at this level. Ott was a serviceable backup in most cases, but he’s not the guy who’s going to win us ball games. We needed his scholarship (since we had none opening, or so we thought). His playing time significantly decreased towards the end of the year, and I think that was ED’s message to Ott. Yeah, Ott had a shoulder injury at the beginnning of February, but he was definitely healthy to play down the stretch and didn’t. Edwards and Borovnjak took his minutes. Ott might not be leaving on good terms, but this happens all the time across the country in college basketball. Scholarships are sacred and if you’re only averaging 10 MPG with 3 PPG with a degree in hand, you’re going to be shown the door. I wish the Ottzilla well.
  • Bill Edwards – I’ve always had the suspicion that Bill never was really 100% certain with his decision to come here. It’s always hard to closely follow the recruitments of PSU recruits, since we usually don’t land too many big name players. But with how long Bill drew out the process (he decided roughly a week until the spring signing period was over), I just felt he didn’t know where he wanted to go. He kept saying how he was hoping for a bigger offer, and it never came, so he probably settled for Penn State. There were rumors that he didn’t like State College and those were probably true. It’s disappointing to see him go, because I think he could’ve become a heckuva player here. I wish Bill well and look forward to following the rest of his career.
  • Chris Babb – Now this is the biggest surprise. I know Chris has been homesick. It’s gotta be tough when your home and family are 1500 miles away. People don’t realize how little basketball players get to go home. All the major holidays during the school year are during the season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break). Then, they are on campus working out on their own for at least the second summer session, if not both. Throw in the fact that it snows in October here compared to his Arlington, Texas home, and I don’t think Chris’ decision to transfer had anything to do with the players or coaches. However, one must question, would Chris have transferred if we went 9-9 in the Big Ten this year instead of 3-15? Losing certainly breeds frustration and unhappiness and the tough year could’ve made Chris realize how much he misses home. I wish Chris well.

I don’t think these departures signal anything like the end of Jerry Dunn’s era. Players were leaving back then because they were upset with the coach. There was no team chemistry and it was just one huge mess. As of right now, I think it’s clear that the fan base is understandably a far bigger mess than the cohesiveness of the program right now. Talor Battle’s quote in the release further credits that belief.

“I know my teammates and myself are really looking forward to next season and have some things we want to achieve,” said Battle. “I’m looking forward to a really good off-season with the guys who want to be here and I love the guys we have coming back and think we can reach the goals we have set.”

Nonetheless, the departures of Babb and Edwards certainly are alarming for the health of the program. I don’t think their reasons for leaving are anything to get worked up about, but there are some serious holes now in the scholarship table. While the losses certainly aren’t good, I don’t think they cripple PSU’s chances next year (and they cannot be used as an excuse!). We do lose some experience and are going to have to rely on Marshall and Buie to step in right away. I think they’ll do just fine meshing with Frazier, Battle, and Woodyard’s games, though. We all know the backcourt wasn’t the issue this year, and I don’t believe it’ll be an issue next year. This year’s squad lacked the penetration/slasher ability at the 2-guard. Buie and Marshall will provide that, but now we’re lacking perimeter threats. Woodyard and Battle can’t carry it on their own. Another shooter would be beneficial, IMO.

The biggest loss of Babb and Edwards is the fact they were going to be the upperclassmen on the 2011-2012 squad. They were suppose to carry the torch during a ‘rebuilding’ year after Battle’s class graduates. There was already tremendous pressure on DeChellis and staff to deliver on the supposed 5 scholarships for 2011. But now, he has to fill 5 more scholarships for 2011-2012 (and hopefully keep current verbals, Trey Burke and Peter Alexis), 3 of which are available for next year. With so little talent so late in the recruiting game, DeChellis’ future depends on who he lands with these scholarships. A huge mistake in DeChellis’ regime was handing out three scholarships in the 2005 class to European players who never produced anything (Milos Bogetic, Joonas Suotamo, and Nikola Obradovic). This program cannot afford such a blunder again.

However, I’m not sure what we can really expect on the recruiting trail anymore. All the momentum gained from the 2009 NIT championship has been lost with our crappy year this season. We were getting so close to rounding out some stability and class balance, but it’s crumbled a bit with these transfers. Looking at the recruiting calendar, after tomorrow DeChellis will only have another 10 days or so of a contact period in April. Spring signing period runs from April 14th-May 19th. The odds of the staff bringing in the quality of talent in so little time is slim-to-none. But that’s what faces the program right now. I think they should only focus on filling two scholarships right now for next year, a big who can play and a perimeter shooter (preferably JuCos for the sake of class balance). Take another big if you’re positive he can play. They cannot afford to gamble on kids at this point. If you have to save another ship for the 2011 class, so be it.

So now it’s time to scour the internet to find any tidbits we can of who PSU is after. Some names for 2010 are Majok Majok, JuCo Dwight McCombs, Eric McKnight, and Brice Kofane (Buie’s AAU teammate). Although, I don’t think any of those kids have ‘high’ interest in PSU. Hopefully we get some positive news on the recruiting front in the next month…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.