PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Roommates, Veteran Leaders Fuel Penn State’s 8-1 Start

Brandon Taylor, Penn State’s versatile 6-foot-6 junior forward, isn’t letting Penn State’s 8-1 start to this season excite him. He remembers his early days in State College, when the Nittany Lions finished with only 10 wins and a 2-16 conference record during his freshman campaign.

“I still try to remember everything that’s happened since I’ve been here,” said Taylor on Monday. “I try to use that to fuel us everyday.”

Donovon Jack and D.J. Newbill were also new to the program that year, and Ross Travis was still an inexperienced sophomore. Now, the four live together and lead a veteran team poised to find more success than in years past.

As roommates, the four may be a mismatched bunch. Taylor said Newbill doesn’t cook, and only occasionally cleans. He added that their takeout orders would make coach Patrick Chambers cringe.

But despite their caloric late-night indulgences and apparent disregard to hygiene, the four’s bond has translated to on-court success.

Newbill attributed much of his success to his teammates, saying that their experience has helped enormously during the rare moments when he isn’t scoring. “I’m older, wiser, that much better,” said Newbill. “I have better players around me… I feel like we have a veteran group, all these guys have been through it.”

He may be the nation’s fourth-leading scorer at 23.3 points a game, but Newbill consistently neglected the idea that he was Penn State’s only offensive option. “I don’t have to come out and be the leading scorer every night,” he said.

Travis has started the year 2-for-16 from the foul line. Newbill, his roommate and teammate, has little doubt that Travis will right the ship. “Ross will be fine,” he said. “He works hard.”

Taylor said he and Newbill often have deep conversations. A Tabernacle, N.J. native, Taylor said he benefitted this summer from living right across the bridge from Philadelphia, where Newbill lives. “I’m his roommate, he’s one of my closest friends,” he said. “From all of the work he’s put in I’m not surprised at all [about his success].”

“He’s pretty much unguardable,” Taylor added.

Chambers echoed Taylor’s remark. “He’s doing it all,” he said. “He’s got to continue to do it all, that’s what the team needs from him.”

Whether the Nittany Lions’ success is due to Newbill, as Chambers suggested, or his teammates, as Newbill insinuated, is unclear. Regardless, the program is receiving the attention it lacked in the four’s first two seasons. During last week’s win against Virginia Tech, 7,326 people flocked to the Jordan Center, including an energetic student section.

“Before, we probably lost like four games by now,” said Newbill. “Now that we’re winning, the fans come out and support.” Newbill isn’t far off: Through nine games last year, Penn State had three losses. The year before, that figure was four.

“The fans appreciate us,” Newbill said. “They know how hard we work, they want to see us do [well].”

About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA


More by Ben

Nassib Healthy To ‘Kick Some Ass,’ Johnson And Hackenberg Seek Pro Evaluations

James Franklin made two things clear before the Lions travel South: Carl Nassib is 100 percent healthy for a game for the first time in more than a month, and Christian Hackenberg and Austin Johnson have both applied for draft evaluations from the NFL.

Gameday Observations: Return To Rec

Penn State Stomps Canisius, 81-67, In First Of Two Rec Hall Showdowns


Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Erica Dambach’s Nittany Lions return a solid combination of experience and young talent. They’re ranked No. 4 to start the season.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend