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Penn State Men's Basketball is well into the Big Ten schedule and things seem to be the same as they have always been. We have a losing record, we get absolutely dominated in the Big Ten and best case we make the NIT Tournament (and that will be close). Will things ever change in Happy Valley when it comes to Penn State Men's Basketball?
I have been a passionate Nittany Lion fan for over 20 years, and I don't really think I have seen much progress in Men's Basketball over that period. If anything I have seen the further decline of a program, no matter who the coach is or where they play (in fact I think we had a better chance when we played at Rec Hall vs. BJC).
Of course there have been a few exceptions, a Sweet 16 appearance back in 2001 and an NIT title in 2009, but our inability to even maintain a .500 record and consistent apperances in the NCAA tournament is just down right pathtic for a school the size of Penn State.
So why is this, why can't a school like Penn State establish a winning tradition. Is it the coaching, is it the lack of recruiting, is it the strength and conditioning program?
People love to make the argument that Penn State can't compete in basketball because the Northeast is just too clogged with other dominant basketball schools. Further, they say that most basketball players don't want to come and play in a non-urban community setting like Happy Valley. Or that Penn State does not have the right coach. Or we have poor strength and conditioning. On a personal note, if you are looking for your own workout regimen, check out these workout programs.
I think all these arguments and really any other is just a load of crap.
There are plenty of kids with incredible basketball talent to go around when it comes to the Northeast. Yes, there are many schools in the region which have long traditions of success but it only takes 1-2 stars to establish a tradition. There is no reason Penn State could not get one single "star" every year or two to come to Happy Valley.
As for the non-urban setting, have you ever been to the state of Indiana or Kansas? None of the schools in those states are really in urban settings, and they get star after star to sign up and live in the middle of nowhere to play basketball.
Maybe it is coaching? Maybe we need to find the type of coach who takes a program from nothing to something. Examples that come to mind are Billy Donavan at Florida, or Brad Stevens at Butler or Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. Maybe we are just not hiring the right coachr. I will accept the argument that Chambers needs more time and that the injury to Tim Frazier was huge (with him this year we would be a different team). But come next year, we should be much better and if not, Chambers is to blame.
Or maybe it is strength and conditioning? I will not go too far down this argument but those that follow Penn State Football have a pretty passionate feeling about our unorthodox strength and conditioning program during the last decade of JoePa's coaching career as being a big reason we got pushed around on the grid iron. And if you watch Penn State basketball, you have seen our fair share of tall but very skinny and weak post players (see Calvin Booth, Jeff Brooks, Billy Oliver, the list could go on and on).
All in all, I don't know the answer but I think there is no excuse for having such a pathetic Men's Basketball program. We need to stop making excuses and figure it out.
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