After an offseason of transfers, legal drama, and uncertainty of the future of the program, Penn State media day gave light to the direction and goals of the 2010-2011 basketball season. “NCAA tournament” was senior leader Talor Battle’s response to the team’s benchmark of the season. “As a kid growing up that has always been my dream. I know it was good to win the NIT during my sophomore year. But I’m sure that doesn’t compare to getting to the NCAA tournament and feeling that atmosphere.”
Answers to some offseason questions, not direct quotes from DeChellis, but summary of his comments–
1. Taran Buie
Buie has the ability to do what Talor can, but don’t assume he’ll be Talor 2.0 off the bat. In regards to his off the court issues it was dealt with internally and he understands what he did and had to “jump through some hoops” for him to get back to where he needs to. Chemistry wise he and Talor play each other hard on the court, but they get along. No clashing egos or Crispen-esq on court fighting.
2. Sasa’s torn ACL left a hole open in the rotation, who takes his spot as a big man?
Billy Oliver, Drew Jones, D.J. Jackson and Jeff Brooks are playing up front along with Jon Graham. Because of the lack of true depth at the position there is a chance they will play with 2 forwards and no true center on the court. Billy Oliver is healthy, headache free and Graham is coming along. The long-term goal is to play an uptempo game similar to the style they played during the NIT run.
Last year there were issues with leadership in practice. Everyone was looking for someone to step up after Jamelle Cornley left but it never happened and it was lacking in the locker room. That has changed in the offseason, with Talor and the other seniors, the team meetings are more spirited. They have goals for the team, rather than the coaches coming up with goals for them. During the summer the team did a workout with Marine’s called The Program. At one point Talor was trying to do too much. The guys told him, “you’re going to get your whole troop killed doing this” and that he needed to let the other guys help him. The light went on at that moment. He’s going to do what he has to to win, but he’s going to do it with his teammates.
4. Offensive change?
This season’s strategy will primarily be a focus on more possessions offensively. Trying to eliminate – turnovers, passing up shots. He’s not sure that they can grind things out for 40 minutes. They’re going to add some press to the package, they’re going to have to play a different group of guys in order to make things a little more up tempo. Another point of emphasis will be on getting David Jackson more shots. He averaged 6 shots a game and 11 points in Big Ten play, DeChellis would like to see him take a more assertive role in the offense. “We were just one play away last year, this year is about making that extra play”
5. Chris Babb and 3-point shooting?
Almost everyone on the team has worked on their shooting beyond the arc, Woodyard has worked on his game and is much closer to being the shooter he needs to be. Jackson and Brooks are both shooting the ball very well early on. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to shoot 35%+ this year from beyond the arc. Tim Frazier has also made big strides in his game.
- So far the team has had 5 practices in 49 hours
- Battle is 613 points from scoring title
- DeChellis doesn’t think about his job security just “The next game.”
Overall-Team is focused, strong chemistry and leadership and has improved in many areas in regards to shooting and basketball IQ.