At his introductory press conference, newly hired Penn State coach Pat Chambers talked about a culture change as PSU.
Basketball would be important and the Nittany Lions would strive for championships, he said. And sure, Penn State went 12-20 last year after 19-15 and NCAA berth a season before. But the caliber of player taking the court in the Bryce Jordan Center is on the uptick. A new plan is in place for the future, and that's exactly what Chambers has been selling to potential Penn Staters.
Returning Strengths: The frontcourt. Tim Frazier led the conference in assists while scoring almost 19 points per game en route to being named media first-team All Big Ten last season. He's a stud. Throw in D.J. Newbill, a Southern Miss transfer, and the Lions should have one of the top guard combos in the conference.
Needs: Outside of the starting point guard slot, there's not an area where PSU couldn't use at least some improvement. Depth will be a big concern.
Biggest Get: Brandon Austin 6-6, 170, PG, 2013 -- Rated four-stars by both Scout and ESPN, the lanky guard chose PSU over Syracuse, Tennessee and Miami (Fla.). He's not a program changer, but Austin will be a big contributor early if he can put on a few pounds.
Class breakdowns after the jump.
Class of 2012:
Donovon Jack 6-9, 210, PF
Brandon Taylor 6-8, 235, PF
Akosa Maduegbunam 6-3, 185, SF/G
Each of these kids needs some polish, but each are potential future starters. Taylor is a big body and will probably see the most PT early but Maduegbunam may have the biggest upside. The Boston-native flew under the radar with an AAU team that missed many of the more prominent events.
Class of 2013:
Brandon Austin 6-6, 170, PG
Geno Thorpe 6-3, 175, G
Austin is the biggest commit the Lions have landed in a long time. He should work out to be Frazier's successor. Thorpe could be Austin's frontcourt mate as an upperclassman and will contribute from the bench early.
Class of 2014:
Isaiah Washington, 6-3, 175, G
Washington, a guard who can score, was quick to commit to PSU, letting Chambers know his plans within a week of his offer. Villanova, Syracuse and Baylor were sniffing around but Washington chose Happy Valley before any serious interest was shown. Landing a verbal this young is also new territory for Penn State, more evidence of Chambers's effect on the program.