After his fourth season in Happy Valley, Chambers record stands at a dismal 56-75. Penn State fans certainly aren't pleased about the results and while the Lions have pulled a few upsets under Chambers they've failed to reach either the NIT or NCAA tournament. Next season, Penn State will lose All-B1G performer D.J. Newbill. And yet, Penn State saw fit to extend Patrick Chambers. But why?
It may not be readily apparent, but it seems to me that Chambers has a legitimate chance to break new ground at Penn State. While he hasn't lead Penn State to more than 6 Big Ten wins in his tenure, his teams do defend. Penn State's defensive efficiency under Pat has risen from a low of 144th nationally to this year's 54th overall - Chambers' best defensive team in his short head coaching career. Still, with the loss of seniors D.J. Newbill and Ross Travis the Nittany Lions are likely to take at least a small step back. If not a large one.
But Chambers deserves credit for getting Newbill to campus. And maybe Buzz Williams deserves a sliver of credit as well but D.J. Newbill was a star at Southern Mississippi and could've transferred to many power conference programs. He chose Penn State. Chamber's recruiting ability seems to be setting the Nittany Lions up for something of a revival in the coming years. Penn State's upcoming class might be the best in school history. That might not be saying much but it does demonstrate that Chambers is at least laying the groundwork for what could be greater success in the future. In 2015 Penn State will add two ESPN100 players in Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves - the first time the program has added an ESPN100 player since 2010 and the only time they've landed two ESPN100 players outside of their 2007 class. That 2007 class, for those who don't recall, included ESPN100 player Talor Battle. Penn State went on to win the NIT and make an NCAA Tournament appearance in Battle's 4 years on campus.
As far at the 2015 class admittedly it's not much - Watkins and Reaves aren't 5-star players and are unlikely to set the world on fire right away or maybe at all - but for a program that has never had much in the way of basketball success it could pave the way for an incremental build. Chambers has a chance to establish a foundation of competitiveness in Happy Valley if he can build on his recruiting momentum. We know his teams will play hard. We know they'll defend. But if he can add more talent to the mix, they might just start winning more as well and ultimately that is what Penn State's administration is banking on. They could spin the wheel again for another coach, lose the recruits they have in the fold, and pray it works out better with the next guy but given their history of struggles I think they're making the right choice to give Chambers a chance to see what he could accomplish with Shep Garner and the guys he has coming in. For better or worse, and we'll see which soon enough, Penn State and Pat Chambers will be together for at least a few more years.