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Penn State Preview

by Chris Mackinder | November 29th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 11-19 (2-14 Big 10, T-10th)
Postseason Games:

3/8/2007 Illinois Big Ten Tournament L 66-60

Returning Statistical Leaders:
16.3 ppg – Geary Claxton
8.0 rpg – Geary Claxton
2.3 apg – Mike Walker

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
C Jeff Brooks 6’8 Fr. A top-60 recruit should sure up post
PF Brandon Hassell 6’11 Sr. Was just 6-foot-8 two years ago
SF Geary Claxton 6’5 Sr. 8 rpg was second in Big Ten last year
SG Talor Battle 5’11 Fr. Averaged 28.1 ppg over last two prep years
PG Danny Morrissey 6’3 Jr. 49.3% 3-point shooter best in Big Ten last year

Key Player Losses: Ben Luber. Luber (5.2 ppg) isn’t like losing a game-changer, but whenever the Nittany Lions needed that 3-pointer in crunch time, Luber seemed to be open and drain it.

Impact Newcomer: Stanley Pringle. Geary Claxton is great, but he can’t do everything for Penn State. A JUCO transfer, Pringle should sure up the point guard position with his quickness and decision making.

Tough Question: Is this the year Penn State makes some noise (any noise)? This will be it for Geary Claxton. He can’t play in Happy Valley forever. That means it is now or never for Penn State to make a push in the Big Ten. If Claxton stays healthy, the Nittany Lions could be a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team (anywhere from 7-11 to 10-8 conference).

Too Much PT: David Jackson. It isn’t that Jackson doesn’t deserve to play, but of all Penn State’s bench weapons, he is the one that could see a few more minutes on the pine and less on the court.

Get Him on the Floor: Pringle. If he’s not starting (Morrissey looks to be the starting PG at the moment), Pringle should be the first guy off the bench. He averaged 18.9 ppg and was the Suncoast Conference Player of the Year in Florida.

Point Guard Impact: When Morrissey is on the floor, defenders will have to stay close as his 3-point ability makes him deadly in the open court. Pringle can drive with the best of them and brings a nice change of pace. In different game situations, both should be very effective.

Final Word: One word–Rider. If a team expects to be taken seriously and contend for a NCAA berth, losing to Rider is unacceptable. Once again Geary Claxton should be one of the conference’s best, but his teammates won’t give him enough help. This is the fifth year of the Ed DeChellis era in Happy Valley and, if Penn State isn’t competitive, it might be his last. At this point, an NIT berth looks like the absolute lmit.

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