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Eric Gibson

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Member since 24 July 2016 | Blog

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Comment 5 hours ago

This is a great point and something that I think is often forgotten when analyzing recruiting. We (the public) only get a limited amount of information. So like, we're all tracking Marcus Littles and Sean Good as "offers" right now, but really, how committable are those "offers"? Their recruitments are completely cold with regard to Penn State. They haven't developed into Big Ten recruits yet and not many high majors are pursuing either guy. You can understand why Chambers would offer a guy like Littles early, because like you said, he has a Big Ten body. Those guys don't grow on trees, especially in your recruiting territory. But his skillset isn't there yet, and if he doesn't show improvement on the AAU circuit this summer, he will not be a serious option. If he is, that's a troubling sign for the rest of the recruiting class and the assumption then would be they had to settle for their plan B or C or even D option. That happens more frequently than we like to admit, because again, it's so freaking hard to recruit for this program. Chambers first few classes were full of reaches because of striking out on the Brandon Austins, Sheldon Jeters, Josh Harts at the last minute. 

I hope they learned this lesson with Isaiah Washington. It's a risk you have to take as an unproven coach at this program - offering prospects so early. You have to be first to gain their attention. If they already have 10+ P5 offers, they ain't gonna listen to Chambers at that point. But this strategy means they have to gamble on necessary development that has to occur before signing day. 

Again, what coach in his right mind would take on this job?

Comment 14 Mar 2017

Penn State beat Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan State this year, so obviously they can play with those teams. I expect PSU to improve for sure next year, but that should only bring more close games because the league will be really competitive. Then it comes down to whether you believe the players can get it done in crunchtime or not. The freshmen couldn't for the most part this season, but I'm still willing to bet the winning tendencies I saw on big stages in high school will develop at this level. Time will tell. 

Comment 13 Mar 2017

No problem, it can be hard to keep up around here with all of our content. 

I will be troubled and disappointed if there isn't an extension. This is the sole responsibility of the athletic department, one of the few times they can truly be judged on their attitude towards basketball. People are already writing off Barbour for continuing the employment of Chambers. I think that's unfair, because a lot of people in the game would say Pat Chambers is on the verge of a breakthrough.

If Barbour was to fire Chambers now, I do think there would be some public backlash from Big Ten coaches. I could see guys like Izzo or McCaffery making statements in support of Pat while criticizing PSU for their decision. That kind of publicity could deter potential candidates from considering this job. Money doesn't just solve all of the program's failures. You have to prove you know what it takes to win in this crazy business.  

There are valid reasons to retain him for at least one more year, so Barbour now has to recognize his contract is up. Doing nothing will leave the coach out to dry on the recruiting trail. That's a half-ass commitment. You can stand on whatever side of the fence you want when it comes to his potential dismissal, but a rolling four-year contract for whoever coaches Penn State basketball should receive universal support. How do you think Virginia Tech got Buzz Williams

As for Duquesne, I'm almost certain that was another home-and-home series, but no confirmation was ever published by the schools. Makes too much sense for PSU to have another game in Pittsburgh, though. As for a potential series with Pitt, I am hopeful it happens in 2018-2019. They were committed with Pitt to the Legends Classic for over a year, so then would be the first realistic year they could do a series. 

Comment 13 Mar 2017

It can still be a 'do or die' scenario even with an extension. That's why I admit it doesn't really prove anything, it's just necessary protection. The only con from an extension would be more money to buyout if they were to terminate him after next season, but it shouldn't be a substantial amount if they negotiate properly. It's not like Chambers has leverage at the moment nor does he even care about money. This is a guy who quit his millionaire sales job at 30 to start coaching basketball for less than 30k. He's already compensated about $1-2 million less annually than his peers. There has to be money in the budget for increased coaching salaries to get this done.

I will never understand why there's always so much opposition to this. One of the common criticisms of this school is the AD's lack of interest/support for the basketball program. A rolling 4-year contract is a clear-cut example of one way the school can up its support. Why are so many resistant to the idea? How do you think potential coaching candidates view this job when PSU lets its head coach try to recruit on a one-year standing contract? Who would want to work under that insecurity at one of the toughest jobs in hoops?

This flawed logic is why I struggle to entertain people's claims that PSU can lure an Archie Miller-type coach with a big paycheck. You still have to prove you know what you're doing. A one year contract shows you do not.

Comment 08 Mar 2017

Hey Dan - thanks for the promo on ESPN for nearly the whole game today. Your compliments of Chambers and his rising program should cut up nicely for video presentations in recruits' homes this fall. Maybe Chambers can now secure another top-30 class this offseason that allows for more leniency next year if they fail to make the Dance. Wouldn't that be something? 

Comment 02 Mar 2017

We had talked about potentially comparing those two teams (NW/MN), but never did get to touch on it. Basically, as I have preached from the beginning of my time, recruiting is where it starts. Both Chris Collins and Richard Pitino are thriving with the kids they recruited in their first classes, and they've only built onto those cores since.

Minnesota - Their turnaround this season has been incredible. Rich Pitino deserves national Coach of the Year. But they have to be considered an outlier. When have you ever seen a bigger one-year turnaround in the history of this sport? It's been a really long time, at least at the major conference level. Their turnaround was due for a variety of reasons, but mainly, their best players are sophomores and juniors, not freshmen. Nate Mason, Jordan Lynch, and Dupree McBrayer were all priority recruits for Pitino in his first classes and are carrying their load this season. He was able to supplement that core with another fabulous class of freshmen this season that also included some key transfers. They also got lucky with Akeem Springs, because the majority of grad-transfers from mid-majors burn out at this level. People remember the great ones like Damion Lee at Louisville last year, but honestly, the grad-transfer market does not yield a good success rate. We experienced that with Allen Roberts a few years ago.

Northwestern - Love this comparison, because it mirrors Penn State so well. Bill Carmody lost a ton in his 13 years, but he did raise the floor of that program when they finally terminated him. He had that run there from 2007-2012 or whatever where they seemingly were on the verge of sneaking into the NCAA tournament with Kevin Coble, John Shurna, etc. but never got over the hump. So Collins didn't inherit a complete disaster like Chambers/DeChellis did here. And then, he was able to land his first recruiting class with the kids he wanted in his first year, because he didn't get hired late and/or deal with the repercussions of a child-abuse scandal. So his first class was Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey. Surprise, they're the ones leading the way for them this season. 

They arrived on campus in Collins' second year, while unfortunately for Chambers, the class he wanted didn't get here until year six. But look at the progression these NW kids are on. Read this article from today. In their first season, they lost 10 games in a row in the Big Ten, but four of them were one possession games. Pretty comparable to PSU this year. 

Tears. A lot of them. On a cold January night in Ann Arbor two years ago, they came, and neither Collins nor Bryant McIntosh could fight them off. McIntosh fell into the arms of family members, devastated. An hour earlier, the freshman point guard caught the ball on the left wing, a maize and blue sea parted, and McIntosh had the freedom of Crisler Center to send Northwestern’s game against heavily favored Michigan to overtime.

He drove.

He missed.

He cried.

So did Collins. “My guys keep getting their hearts ripped out,” he lamented, choking on the sobs.

Northwestern, in 2015, couldn’t stop losing close games. It lost 10 in a row. Doubts surfaced.

But as his eyes welled at Michigan that night, just as they would well 26 months later after a game against those same Wolverines, Collins maintained perspective. “To have Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh in these environments right now as true freshmen, that’s invaluable,” he said. “We’re going to look back on this when they’re juniors and seniors, and we’re winning big, and we’re going to talk about games like this as being part of our process.”

Comment 28 Feb 2017

Great chance for all three freshmen to play really well tonight, Lamar especially. I don't think OSU has the personnel to guard him. If Watkins logs 25+ minutes, I like PSU by double-digits. And while I respect Chad's "due for a letdown game" logic RE: Carr, I'm gonna take that kid at his word when he says he's the most confident he's ever been.  

Comment 24 Feb 2017

I'm confident this will be another close game. I really love how locked in PSU is defensively, and they could shut down Minnesota again. But with Lynch patrolling the paint and this team's unreliable outside shooting, it's hard to believe they'll score enough points to pull off the upset. They won't be able to score as easily at the rim like they were able to against Purdue. Gophers have shot blockers. 

I do think Minnesota winning at Maryland was good for PSU. The Gophers were expecting to lock up their NCAA bid with these next two home games (PSU and Nebraska), but now that they got that road win at Maryland, they're in. Pressure's off, so they could be primed for a letdown at home.