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Confirmed: Two Players to Transfer From Penn State Basketball Program

UPDATE: April 10, 4:30 p.m.

The earlier reports from CBS Sports are now official: Akosa Maduegbunam and Pat Ackerman have been granted their release to transfer from the program. Basketball SID Brian Siegrist confirmed the report with a tweet sent at 4:22 p.m. this afternoon. Both players will finish out the spring semester at Penn State.

“As I do every year, I talked with each of our players at end the season to evaluate where they are and to set a course for success in their future,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said in a release. “Patrick and Akosa have decided to seek opportunities elsewhere. First and foremost, we want what is best for our student-athletes. We thank Patrick and Akosa for their contribution to our program, wish them the very best, and will try to assist them in anyway we can.”

The two transfers gives Patrick Chambers an available scholarship to work with for next year. He could potentially add a junior college or graduate transfer or hold on to the scholarship and use it for the 2014 recruiting class.

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When news came out in December that Pittsburgh transfer John Johnson had committed to play for Pat Chambers and Penn State, it raised some eyebrows. The team had already met its limit in scholarships with All-Big Ten point guard Tim Frazier returning on a medical redshirt after rupturing his Achilles tendon. All of a sudden, with four incoming freshman to arrive on campus this summer, Chambers found his program “oversigned” by two scholarship players.

Later that month, the athletic department confirmed that redshirt junior Sasa Borovnjak and Chambers had made a mutual decision for Borovnjak, a 24-year-old forward, to return to his native Serbia and forego his final year of eligibility after he graduates in the Spring.

This freed up another scholarship, but the program was still oversigned by one scholarship heading into the offseason. This meant that one player would would not begin the 2013-14 season at Penn State.

Today, the scholarship situation became clearer when the names of Patrick Ackerman and Akosa Maduegbunam appeared on CBS’s Jeff Goodman’s annual transfer list. When asked about the CBS report, basketball SID Brian Siegrist told Black Shoe Diaries that there were “no official roster changes to report at this time.”

Ackerman, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, saw action in 13 games this year and averaged just 0.6 points per game in 57 total minutes and was one of two remaining players from Ed DeChellis’ final recruiting class. The tallest player on the roster, Ackerman provided depth on the front line, but never really showed much potential on either end. In his limited time on the floor, he often appeared out of position on defense and ineffective on offense. With Ackerman and Borovnjak’s departure, Penn State will be lacking in front line size and will need players like Jonathan Graham and Donovon Jack to step up.

Maduegbunam, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Boston, was Chambers’ first recruit to commit to Penn State after he took the job. He averaged just 0.4 points per game in 14 games after falling down the depth chart behind former walk-on Nick Colella and current walk-on Kevin Montminy. Maduegbunam was lauded by Chambers for his extreme athleticism, but the guard never seemed to acclimate to the level of play. With the logjam of Frazier, Johnson, DJ Newbill, Jermaine Marshall and incoming freshmen Geno Thorpe and Graham Woodward, minutes would be hard to come by for Maduegbunam.

These two departures will actually now open up a scholarship for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Chambers could either choose to hold on to the scholarship for the 2014 recruiting class, or make a late addition to the squad through a junior college transfer or via the trendy graduate transfer route.

Either way, if Goodman’s report is true, it is encouraging to see the scholarship situation shored up for what should be an improved squad next season.

About the Author

Sam Cooper

Sam is a senior originally from Newtown, PA who majors in print journalism and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His athletic peak was age 11 so he decided to grow a beard and write about sports instead.

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