Penn State Basketball: 'These Kids Don't Accept Losing,' Chambers Says
by Ben Jones
The Attitude Era has officially begun.
Addressing a crowded media room Tuesday afternoon, Penn State men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers talked about the upcoming season, his expectations, and the positive energy in the locker room.
"Win or lose, go out and compete as hard as you can," Chambers said. "If we create those habits, and do that on a daily basis, we're going to like the outcome. Does that mean we are a 20-win team? I don't know. But as long as we get better every day, we'll be OK."
Chambers, who comes to Penn State after two years at Boston University, won't be the only one getting adjusted to the new surroundings. The talented freshman class of Trey Lewis, Peter Alexis, Ross Travis and Pat Ackerman is making the jump from high school basketball to an important role on a Big Ten team. While this might mean both coaches and players will have to find the Creamery together, it's also a blessing.
"The bad news is that they're young. But the good news is that I can mold them and teach them to play their position," Chambers said. "No better way for them to learn than to let them go and play, make mistakes, and teach them."
Although Chambers admitted that the transition takes time, he said he was impressed with the work ethic of all four players, especially guard Trey Lewis, who is currently limited in practice due to an undisclosed ankle injury.
"I always ask the question 'Who's the hardest worker on the team?' and Trey is like, 'I am,' which is great; you want that," Chambers said. "Lewis plays with a swagger and such confidence, and that's what this team needs: players who play with great confidence."
Even with the abundance of youth on the Nittany Lions' roster, Chambers says that it isn't keeping them from a positive attitude in the locker room.
"There's a winners' mentality in the room, and you need that for when you have to get through rough patches," he said. "Losing can be contagious, but these kids don't accept losing."
For Penn State, keeping that highly advertised attitude within the confines of the Bryce Jordan Center will be an essential part of what is a rebuilding year for the Nittany Lions. Wins will not be so important this season, but rather strides forward as Penn State looks to replace the production, leadership, and experience of a recently departed senior class.
Penn State unofficially opens up the season this Saturday with an exhibition match against Slippery Rock at 4 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. The season opener is Nov. 12 at a time to be determined by the kick-off of the Penn State-Nebraska football game. Tickets are free for both events, as well as Hoops Madness, which kicks off the season Wednesday night in Rec Hall at 8. Doors will open at 7:15, and a performance by the rapper Fabolous will follow the rally.
- Freshman guard Trey Lewis is dealing with an ankle injury. Coach Chambers wouldn't go into specifics, but Lewis practiced with the squad and seemed to be moving fine.
- Chambers said that Jermaine Marshall is making the steps toward rejoining the team. The issue wasn't directly defined but it is considered an "academic" problem.
- Injured D.J Newbill's shoulder injury is healing without issue and is no longer in a sling or on ice.
- Cam Woodyard practiced Monday for the first time in three weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery and has rehabbed without issue.
- Chambers has put in place the "Attitude Club," which involves all stats from scrimmages being recorded and displayed after practice. The best player from that day joins the Attitude Club. Before hurting his shoulder, D.J Newbill had won the competition four of the five possible times.
- Billy Oliver shot five of six from the floor in the second half of a scrimmage against Temple this weekend. Pat Chambers said that Penn State scored 39 points in a 20-minute session.
Editor's note: Ben Jones covers Penn State basketball for StateCollege.com.