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Penn State Basketball: Barbour Gives Chambers Vote Of Confidence, Talks Program Trajectory

by on February 17, 2015 3:15 PM

For the most part, Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has remained silent as it pertains to the direction of the Penn State basketball program. 

That silence was broken on Tuesday afternoon

Speaking on local radio with Steve Jones, Barbour offered her first real show of public support for Chambers and his staff and the direction of the program. Her interview not so conveniently falling only hours after Chambers was reprimanded and fined $10,000 for criticizing Big Ten officials this past weekend.

"Hey, it's real simple for me. I love Patrick's passion, most importantly for his student athletes, for the game, for the Penn State program, for our ability to be successful. I support that," she said. "There's obviously a lot that goes into that from his coaching and that of his staff to our student athletes and the way they perform on the court and then a lot of moving parts around it. I support Patrick's passion."

Speaking in more general terms as it pertains to the direction and state of the program, Barbour was equal parts honest and supportive.

Penn State's season has not gone as it could have after a 12-1 start. Close losses have become the calling card of the 2014-15 campaign. On the other hand, incoming recruiting classes and the overall competitive nature of the team has been what Barbour sees as the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're not having the kind of success on the court that I believe and I know Patrick does too, we agree on this, that those student athletes and this community deserve. But I believe that we are headed in the right direction," she said. "Again, it's not manifesting itself in the win column the way maybe we thought it would, but I think where we're going with these kids, the recruiting obviously has really pointed up"

"I'll tell you this, Patrick Chambers is my guy. He's gonna be with us, and I believe he's going to build us a long term, sustainable winner at Penn State and I support every ounce of that."

For Penn State fans, Barbour's comments should come across as more meaningful than your typical vote of confidence.

With James Franklin firmly established prior to Barbour's hiring, basketball appeared to be an area where she could make an early splash as an administrator. Her vote of confidence not only dispels that notion but shows a certain understanding of where the program was, is, and might be in the not too distant future.

If nothing else, with a massive football program to restart, Barbour appears to have a grasp of the current environment and genuine interest in the success of her basketball program. While her motives might simply be related to optimizing financial outputs, she and Chambers clearly hold the same interest in seeing the basketball program succeed at a higher level.

What that means contractually for him in the immediate future remains to be seen, but there is good reason to believe that's not on his mind right now.

An AD who's engaged and involved with the basketball program has not always been the case at Penn State. In turn, that makes Barbour's comments worth noting as the season and Chambers' era moves along.

 

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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