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Penn State Athletics Should Trust The Process, Hire Sam Hinkie

Penn State men’s basketball is in a tough position.

The squad finally picked up its first conference win of the season Monday night, putting the Nittany Lions at 1-10 in the Big Ten.

Penn State sits at the very bottom of the conference standings, two games behind the likes of Nebraska, Illinois, and Northwestern (who it just beat). Rutgers is three games (!) ahead of the Nittany Lions in conference play at this juncture.

This turn in fortunes for the program is particularly disheartening given the excitement around the team in the offseason. Penn State had a legitimate argument to be included in the tournament last season and took home the NIT title. If nothing else, things seemed to be trending in the right direction, only to put in one of the worst starts to Big Ten play in conference history this season.

With Sandy Barbour seemingly unwilling to shell out serious cash for a new coach and Pat Chambers signed through 2021, a new coaching staff appears unlikely in the near future. So why not bring in one of the most brilliant minds in all of sports?

We already have to “Trust the Climb,” so let’s just go all in.

Sam Hinkie famously served as the general manager for the Philadelphia 76ers from the 2013-2014 season until the spring of 2016. He essentially created the tanking tactic in which he traded almost every valuable player for first- and second-round picks. The NBA league office apparently hated how incredibly bad the Sixers were — they went just 47-199 with Hinkie-built teams — and Hinkie resigned in April of 2016.

During Hinkie’s tenure, the catchphrase for the organization was “Trust the Process,” and Sixers fans remained largely loyal to the plan — and to Hinkie since his exit. Following his tenure, in fact, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been named NBA All-Stars, the Sixers have made a run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Philadelphia is currently tied for third in the conference.

Hinkie is an incredibly smart guy with an expertise in sports analytics. Penn State athletics should hire this Stanford Business School graduate to help turn around the Penn State men’s basketball team.

Think about it: Hinkie wasn’t able to reside over the positive run that the Sixers have had. He took that franchise to the lowest point in NBA history, and then he was gone.

Acting as some sort of consultant to our struggling basketball team would allow Hinkie to take control of a basketball team at its low point — like where he left the Sixers — and see the team have success. It’s like some sort of full-circle opportunity.

Obviously, Hinkie wouldn’t be able to make trades in hopes of recruiting the next Zion Williamson. He could, however, take a look around at the college basketball landscape and get an understanding for the players and styles that have turned programs like Arizona State and South Carolina around.

Hinkie deserves a chance to redeem himself in the world of basketball. There is, perhaps, no potential feat greater than turning Penn State hoops into a perennial tournament lock. I believe that only a mind as great as Hinkie’s could guide our basketball team to the promised land.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected].

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