November 11, 2009
Posted by Steve Jones
The 2009 season was Penn State’s greatest basketball run since the 2001 sweet 16 season. And now the 1954 Final Four banner no longer hangs alone in the end zone rafters. The 2009 NIT showed a program on the rise. Penn State was one of the final two teams eliminated from NCAA consideration last March. San Diego State was the other one. They shook off the disappointment and dominated the NIT. The George Mason opener was the only game where Penn State had to fight from behind.
Now it is time for the 2009-2010 season. Penn State loses the leadership and heart of Jamelle Cornley and Danny Morrissey and the three-point shooting of Stanley Pringle.
What Penn State brings back is plenty of confidence and one of the more talented players in the country in Talor Battle. Battle is our feature on Penn State Access Granted and The Sporting News has listed him as one of the top ten guards in the country. In the “off-season” he was the leading scorer for Team USA at the World University Games. He is a special talent that understands the moment and has the poise and confidence to make the big plays that take a program to another level.
Pringle is probably the toughest guy to replace because in today’s game 46% three-point shooting is off the charts. That is a lot of production. Chris Babb played well down the stretch and has shot the ball very well in the pre-season. Freshman Tim Frazier from Houston is lightning quick…in fact he may be quicker than Pringle. He is an excellent penetrator, with good court vision that needs to work on his shot.
Up front Andrew Jones and David Jackson gained tremendous confidence during the NIT run. They both played their best basketball at the end of the season. They have picked up where they left off in the pre-season. Jackson is unselfish and knows the game. Jones is so much smoother around the basket than two years ago. Andrew Ott gets to play right away and he can give rebounding as well as a guy who can face up and shoot. Jeff Brooks is starting to settle down. He has a better handle on the game and what his capabilities are.
Cam Woodyard adds a valuable shooter. Woodyard is improving defensively and his shooting will be very important. Bill Edwards has great fundamentals for a freshman. His MCL injury puts him out until late November or early December but he will be a plus. Jermaine Marshall is athletic while Sasha Barovniak is physical and learning the fine points of the game.
Billy Oliver redshirted last season. He has had a good pre-season.
The schedule is stronger. The NIttany Lions play at Temple, Virginia and the Charleston Tournament that includes Miami, Tulane and South Carolina. At home Virginia Tech, Penn, Sacred Heart, Robert Morris, UMBC, American and Gardner Webb are on the schedule.
One other note for the future…this season’s team does not have one senior.
Author: Steve Jones
Bio: Penn State Sports play-by-play announcer. Check for Steve's posts each week.
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