So I'll preface this with "I'm not against Chambers, but something has to be done." This isn't a defense of Chambers as much as is it just trying to be serious about the team.
What I think this season's downfall started with was Carr's decision to go pro. They're coming off a great year, most wins in program history, four dynamic starters coming back. And then someone tells Tony, "Hey you're good enough to go pro." He was the only player that was coming back to the team that I wanted at the line, both free throw and three point. He was Penn State's best scorer, a great distributor. But he left. His success, and Shep's, was masking the complete inability of the team to shoot consistently. If he stayed, this team would have at least 8 more wins, and they'd have been comfortable. I was shocked he left, after going 1-20 vs Temple in NIT Rd. 1, and not even winning MVP over Lamar. But money talks and he's playing in the league. The European league..
So now we look at this year: They cannot shoot, they cannot pass, they can barely defend. And FT% is abysmal. What's Chambers supposed to do, run free throw drills?? This is Division 1 and these guys couldn't make a free throw if their life depended on it. Nobody outside of Bolton is above 65% (probably, I'm not sure, but that's what it feels like) from the stripe. And then some games they'll go 14-17 from deep and the next they'll shoot 4-25. That's not coaching. That's execution. What's Chambers supposed to do? Watkins is inconsistent, is nearly 40% from the line, and fouls at the worst time. Harrar isn't better. Lamar is trying to carry the offense, but there are too many stretches where he can't buy a bucket. Reaves steals the ball three times a game and can sometimes shoot but he gets ticky-tack fouls. And there are three freshman who just are flat-out not ready. I just don't know what Chambers can do when they don't execute. A few games ago, he had the play drawn up for Lamar to score with 10 seconds to go to win and he missed a 9ft jumper, nothing Pat can do about that. They take awful threes with regularity, they foul with 5 on the shot clock, and I already said how I feel about free throws. Some things are beyond his control, but he is the fall guy.
Yes, it's true that the BJC is not a basketball venue. The baseline seats are too far from away, the student section is shallow, and the corners over the tunnels are a bad combination of the two. Instead, it's a concert arena that they can stuff 20k students in for THON and we won't see Penn State do anything to that money cow. Can they move back to Rec? probably not, but they might as well because nobody goes to games. At least there everyone is literally on top of the … action(?). So nothing is going to happen to their facilities until an alum named Perry Tegula wants to pour 10mil into the program.
But I’m tired of losing games the way they do. My buddy from school and I would go to every game and we have two ways to describe every PSU basketball game; 1. Just good enough to make you believe, but just bad enough to tear your heart out. 2. Either leads or trails by 10+ points for 33 minutes, gets it close for the next 5, and then with 2 minutes left loses on free throws or a buzzer-beater. That’s not sustainable.
This is Pat's last year, he can't stay with this little success, which is a shame because he has recruited the guys. It just all fell apart when his absolute best guy left. I love Penn State basketball, but they're aggravating to watch. I don't like that Chambers is getting so much flak for things that just are not in his control. Yeah, there should be more success, it is ultimately his fault. We're doomed for 10+ more years of less-than average mediocrity. Poor Pat, his team is aggressively underperforming week after week, and unless they find a Hope Diamond in the rough player (or coach) now, Penn State Basketball continues to be awful.
So, if you read this all the way, maybe it was a defense of Chambers. I like the guy, but if there’s a way to make the program better, I am all for it. I wish it was with this team, it should be, but for most of the season it’s been their own fault.