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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.
*Photo Courtesy of Recruitrecon.com
|High School:||St. Thomas More School|
|Schools:||Drexel, Minnesota, South Florida|
Articles on his Commitment:
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:
Going into the game, I really believed PSU didn’t have a chance. But the Nittany Lions showed some toughness on the road and lost a hard-fought game to a supposedly much better team.
It didn’t look like it was going to be that way at the start. PSU looked dreadful in the first 10 minutes or so of the game as Minnesota raced out to a 21-10 lead. The offense was sputtering and Minnesota was getting further and further ahead. Stephen Bardo, the ESPN color guy, pointed to the foul on a Chris Babb 3-pointer as the turning point for PSU. Talor Battle hit a 3 on the next possession and PSU cut the lead to 5, but what seemed to be forgotten was Minnesota then extended their lead back to 10 at 26-16. I thought Tim Frazier was a huge key to why PSU stayed in the game in the first half. He came in and had 3 pretty assists that set up easy baskets in the half-court offense, something PSU wasn’t able to get before (except for a few long range jumpers from Battle). They went into halftime down only 7, a moral victory considering their play.
But a different PSU team came to play in the 2nd half. The Nittany Lions came out roaring to start the second half, as they hit their first 7 field goals. In the first 7 minutes, PSU outscored the Gophers 17-5 as they jumped out to a 44-39 lead. Talor Battle only contributed 2 of the 17 points. The damage was done mostly by Drew Jones and Jeff Brooks, who were getting great looks inside and finishing. It was exciting and encouraging to watch.
Minnesota weathered the early storm to the half as Hoffarber and Westbrook really started to get going, but PSU wouldn’t go away. Frazier hit a pretty 8 foot floater on a fast break and Battle then hit one of his patented 30-footers. The score was in PSU’s favor at 53-50 with 9 minutes left, when the turnovers came at all the wrong times. Minnesota stepped up the pressure and the Lions weren’t able to handle it, whether it was fatigue, inexperience, or inability to hang onto the rock. They turned it over on 4 straight possessions.
Happy Holidays everyone! I’m sorry your Christmas wasn’t as special as I’m sure you’ve been waiting for these recaps…
Penn State 104 Gardner-Webb 57
This game wasn’t a contest, obviously. While PSU was resting all week and taking care of finals, G-W was out and about getting killed by Duke and James Madison. On the ESPNU broadcast, they claimed G-W was also fighting the flu bug (despite playing 15 total guys in the game?). They didn’t have the legs to play with the Nits as 4 of G-W’s starters played less than 20 minutes. The Bulldogs never stood a chance, and PSU jumped out to a 30-4 lead.
This was another annual pre-Christmas snoozer that meant nothing. Credit to the Lions, though, for coming out in front of 500 fans and taking care of business. If the Lions can take anything away from this game, its that they remembered how to shoot jumpers. They hit 12 of 26 3PA for 46%, while 4 players hit 2 or more. The bench got some run, as well, as no one logged over 30 minutes but 10 guys logged at least 10 minutes.
Battle scored 21 points on 13 shots in 24 minutes. Tim Frazier had one of his best games with 18 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Chris Babb went 5-6 from the field for 12 points (much better than his 35% FG%). Even Andrew Ott had a career-high 12 in 14 minutes (he went 8-9 from the foul line!). So pretty much everyone got in on the action as the Nittany Lions posted their best offensive efficiency on the season (1.4 PPP) and scored over 100 for the first time since December 2006 when they beat VMI 129-111.
Penn State 76 American 57
I thought PSU might struggle with this game, despite the inferior opponent. It was the last game before the players could go home for the first time in 6 months or so (the players apparently already had their bags packed and some literally went home immediately after the game), and they had just played a game on Saturday night. However, American actually had just lost a game 22 hours earlier to UMBC at home (a game that was postponed a day b/c of the Nor’easter last week). American was just as tired, if not moreso, than G-W two days before.
American came out strong as Vlad Moldoveanu scored 11 of American’s first 13 points. Vlad, a recently eligible George Mason transfer, scored 26 points in American’s upset of Depaul. The game was tight in the first half, until PSU opened up a comfortable 11 point lead with a minute left. But they let American creep back in it and the halftime score was 36-30.
Vlad and the rest of the Eagles were out of gas in the second half, as PSU busted the game open. The score was 66-38 with 7 minutes left (PSU going on a 30-8 run). For the second time in 3 days, the Lions were beating down on an over-matched opponent at home.
The stars of the game for the Lions were Chris Babb and Bill Edwards, who started the 2nd half and broke the game open. Frazier and Brooks, who had been struggling, were benched. Babb continued his hot shooting (5-7 from the field) for 13 points to go along with 6 boards. Edwards scored 12 points on 5 shots with 5 rebounds. Battle had 16 points on 9 shots and 7 assists. Andrew Jones had 9 points, but had just as many shots as turnovers.
All in all, neither of these games offered any stiff competition to get PSU ready for the Big Ten season. More to come on the Real Season before PSU’s game @ the Barn on Tuesday.
I haven’t paid much attention to recruiting at all since the season has started, but DeChellis and his staff got a commitment from 6’11” 265 pound C Peter Alexis on Sunday night. The 16 year old attends Holy Redeemer High School up in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
There isn’t a whole lot out there on the big man, as he wasn’t even in the Rivals or Scout databases before he committed. However, he *was* rated a 91 on ESPN’s scale, before being dropped to an 87 after his commitment. Hoop Scoops has him #107 nationally in the class of 2011. Bottom line is the rankings on Alexis are meaningless. For whatever reason, he hasn’t had much exposure or evaluations from national recruiting services.
He looks like a nice, early get. Sometimes guys who are 6’10″+ undergo late growth spurts, so they’re unaccustomed to playing big around the tin. However, Pete was 6’8″ in 7th grade, so he has been playing big for most, if not all of his life. Observers have praised his steady improvement over the first two years of his high school career and expect that trend to continue.
Pete chose PSU over James Madison. Those were his only two scholarship offers but he said Texas A&M, West Virginia, and Yale were heavily pursuing him. It sounds like PSU got in early before anyone else. Local writer, Dave Konopki wrote this in a weekly column just a few days ago:
PETER ALEXIS. The 6-foot-11 junior from Holy Redeemer will most likely become the most-highly recruited player from the WVC since Bishop O’Reilly center Dave Popson in the mid-1980s. And before anymore brings up Bob Sura — who played at Florida State — remember, the former GAR great wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school. You won’t be able to say the same thing about Alexis.
Alexis cited PSU’s dedication to academics (he wants to be an engineer) and the opportunity for early playing time as factors into his commitment. The only video evidence is Alexis making a crucial (yet ugly) bucket for his team in a tight game late. Check out these articles on his commitment:
Alexis is the second commitment of the crucial 2011 recruiting class. Looking at the roster, there are still glaring holes in the frontcourt, even with his pledge. The 2011-2012 roster currently is looking like this:
I expect DeChellis and his staff to keep pursuing versatile forwards with the last 3 scholarships. The backcourt is stacked with depth, talent, and experience, but that front court isn’t going to win any Big Ten championships. There is some athleticism missing, so expect PSU to go hard after athletic, versatile forwards like Desmond Hubert from here on out.
***Also, I plan to keep track of all 3 commitments’ high school seasons, but it’s hard to do in this blog format. So I plan to keep an updated thread over at pennstatehoops.com, which I’m sure most of you readers check out anyway. But if you don’t (even though you should), that thread can be found here.