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Penn State Basketball: Chambers Enjoying Start To Pivotal Year

by on May 05, 2017 12:00 PM

In fairness, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour has said nothing to suggest that the 2017-18 season could potentially be coach Patrick Chambers' last with the men's basketball program.

If anything her support has been unwavering and in turn her patience has adequately reflected an understanding of the challenges that come with trying to build a successful Big Ten basketball program.

Even so, as Chambers is set to enter his seventh year at the helm he will do so with his most talented team to date, and with it the highest and perhaps most reasonable expectations of his tenure.

There is an argument to be made that Chambers should stay beyond 2017-18 regardless of how the upcoming season goes. In a results-based business, though, Chambers can point to plenty of incremental and essential successes internally, but nothing in the way of meaningful postseason appearances.

For better or worse, all progress has to lead to that.

And speaking to reporters sitting around a large wooden table inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday afternoon it's clear Chambers knows that. But if it is getting to him, you wouldn't know it.

“I’m gonna enjoy this year,” Chambers said. “I’m gonna have so much fun. I have a great attitude right now, I’m super positive. I know it’s the off-season, and you can say, ‘Why not?’ But that is gonna be my new mantra; to enjoy it. I wish I enjoyed it a little bit more last year. I needed to. But this year, with this team, I really enjoy these guys. I love being around my team. I love being around this staff and this program.”

In Chambers' defense, this season does stand to be his best, perhaps why Barbour has said little to suggest his future is uncertain. The Nittany Lions return a youthful and talented squad that was more capable offensively than most Penn State teams in recent memory. if the defense can match the potential offensive output, Penn State ought to find itself in the postseason conversation.

Which of course is why this season is so pivotal. After three straight years of 15 or more wins, the Nittany Lions have been a few shots and a few better bounces from taking that next step. If those bounces and shots start falling in Penn State's favor in the upcoming season then it's hard to argue that the waiting has been all for naught. Another season of "almost" and Barbour's support may not be so unwavering. 

“I put the pressure on myself to be successful," Chambers said. "I have a vision for this place. Is it taking a little longer than I was hoping? Yeah, it is. But we have to stick to the plan. And the plan is coming together. I feel like all of the pieces are coming together, as well.”

It's hard to dispute that Penn State basketball is in a better place than it was a long six years ago, but what happens in year seven might determine if it was all worth the wait.

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