PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Signs Of Progress Key For Penn State Hoops In 2015-16 Season

Heading into the 2015-16 season, it’s safe to say that expectations were not all that high for Penn State, even if our staff was higher on the Nittany Lions than most. National media outlets like CBS and BTN both had Chambers’ squad finishing 13th in the Big Ten, another lowly finish for a program that’s only been to the NCAA Tournament twice since the start of the 21st Century.

I’m not sure anyone would argue that this season was a massive success, but a 16-16 record with a 10th place finish in-conference during a rebuilding year shows that progress is being made. From an outside perspective, it may be difficult to comprehend how another tournament-less season could be looked at positively, but that’s the current state of Penn State’s program.

There were plenty of black marks this season — losing to Duquesne and Radford certainly come to mind — and a 2-8 start in the Big Ten didn’t ease the minds of fans either, but plenty of good complemented the bad. The Nittany Lions notched upset victories over No. 22 Indiana and No. 4 Iowa — two wins that restored some hope in a season that looked like a lost cause. Unfortunately, Penn State couldn’t capitalize on the momentum, faltering down the stretch and finishing the season 1-3 before bowing out of the Big Ten Tournament against Ohio State.

Unsurprisingly, Shep Garner continued his development into one of the more dangerous scoring guards the Lions have had in recent memory. The Philadelphia product improved all facets of his game, seeing his scoring increase from 9.2 to 14.8 points per game and upping his three-point shooting percentage from 33.7 percent to 36.6 percent.

Brandon Taylor was the team’s most tangible example of change after a stellar final season in Happy Valley. The senior averaged 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and played perhaps the biggest role in Penn State’s surprising season. Sophomore Payton Banks also made tremendous strides, transitioning from a role-playing position to a more integral starting role, averaging a respectable 9.4 points and 4.3 rebounds that he hopes to build upon.

Both Taylor and Banks can be pointed to as evidence that Chambers and his coaching staff can develop players, allowing them to reach their potential on the court. In some ways, it’s a needed reminder that Chambers is more than just a strong recruiter and motivator.

The loss of Taylor, Donovon Jack, and Devin Foster will sting, but reinforcements are well on their way. UConn transfer Terrence Samuel will be eligible, and should vie for a spot in the starting five. Meanwhile, freshman big man Mike Watkins will make his return to the court after regaining his eligibility and will be expected to play big minutes up front.

The 2016 recruiting class figures to be one of the best in recent memory and its members will be tasked with carrying the torch. Philadelphia Roman Catholic four-stars Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens will join the Nittany Lions, along with three-stars Nazeer Bostick and Joe Hampton to make up Penn State’s future. There certainly could be a learning curve for the freshmen, but make no mistake, Carr and Stevens will play primary roles for the Nittany Lions next season.

It’s fair to question the job Chambers has done. He even said himself in a press conference after the Iowa upset that things haven’t always been easy, and that it gets frustrating to constantly be waiting for the future. But this season, really more than any previous year, showed that things are moving in the right direction. Without a bonafide star like Tim Frazier or D.J. Newbill, the Nittany Lions found a way to keep their heads above water. For a lot of programs, that isn’t enough. But for a Penn State program that is being built from essentially the ground up, it’s proof that better days are ahead.

About the Author

Patrick Koerbler

Patrick Koerbler is a senior Journalism major/History minor from the mean streets of Palmerton, PA. His career goals include becoming the Director of Public Relations for the New York Yankees, and co-hosting a Penn State football podcast with Matt McGloin. Patrick is also a ledge, his interests include sandwiches, and his best friend is Andrew Wiggins. For more fun, you can follow him on Twitter -- @GoodDudePat -- or contact him via email at [email protected] Go Sixers.



North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

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.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend