Last week the roster of the Penn State men’s basketball team was shook up a bit as the university announced that guards Matt Glover and Trey Lewis would be released from their scholarships and seeking to continue their educations elsewhere. In the case of Lewis, the decision to transfer comes as a surprise because he’s got a lot of potential and was such a highly touted recruit for Penn State coming out of high school.
Lewis’ freshman season was hampered by inconsistent playing time early on and then a stress fracture in his back that sidelined Lewis for most of the Big Ten schedule. However, during the last three games of the season, Lewis appeared healthy and played significant minutes. The athletic scorer appeared ready to take on a larger role next season. Lewis may still take on that role, but it will have to be at another school.
“I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for the past season at Penn State,” Lewis said. “I had a great experience at Penn State and learned a lot with the opportunity to play in the Big Ten as freshman. After thinking about my future, I think it is best for me to move on and continue my career at a program that may be a better fit for me.”
Glover’s situation is a little bit different. He was brought in this season as a junior college transfer from Sheridan Community College in Wyoming. Although Glover turned out to be dreadfully unproductive as an offensive player, his hustle, defense and rebounding skills led to Chambers giving him significant playing time throughout the season. Now Glover leaving Penn State to be closer to his home in Orange, California.
It is tough to see a guy with such high upside like Lewis leave the program without getting the chance to fulfill his potential, but Chambers has his roster ready with possible replacements. Southern Miss transfer D.J. Newbill decided to transfer to Penn State soon after Chambers took over last August. Transfer rules forced Newbill to sit out the 2011-12 season, but the sophomore guard should be set to receive major playing time next season.
Chambers also has some talented backcourt recruits coming in out of high school. Akosa Maduegbunam from Charlestown, Massachusetts is set to enroll this fall, and Geno Thorpe of Pittsburgh will be a freshman in the fall of 2013. Even with Maduegbunam and fellow classmate Brandon Taylor joining the team for next season, Chambers still has four scholarships open thanks to the transfers, so there could be more help on the way.
Based on recent history, it’s not very unusual to see players leave the program like this under a first-year head coach. Eric Gibson of Black Shoe Diaries reminds us that roster turnover is very common when a school changes basketball coaches.
The reality is these situations are very common, especially under a new head coach. Ed DeChellis saw the early departure of six players he inherited from Jerry Dunn in his first year along. A more fair and recent comparison can be made with Iowa under Fran McCaffery. He was hired in April 2010 and saw four contributing players leave Iowa City for various reasons in his first year, including two returning starters in Aaron Fuller and Cully Payne. There are hundreds of other examples because this much roster turnover is very common under a new head coach.
We’ll make sure to keep you posted on how Chambers plans on filling those open roster spots.