I have family in Pennsylvania, so I make the flight back and forth from Orlando to Philadelphia quite a bit. Every time I’m out there — especially during the holiday seasons — I like to pick up the different newspapers that get dropped off at the front doors of their houses, flip to the esteemed sports sections and look for anything having to do with Penn State basketball.
It’s a morbid little game, but being in Florida, Penn State basketball coverage is, well, limited.
Apparently that was also true up north as well. If there was anything inside those columns at all, it was usually sopping with sorrow, hanging around in the shadow of whatever great thing Jay Wright and Villanova did the day before.
The Nittany Lion program — which sits in a state that cranks out recruits of the three, four and five star variety — has been stuck. Trapped, without roads, pathways, or footholds in Philadelphia and other basketball hot beds on the East Coast, they’ve been unable to create a relevant program.
But folks, on this fine August night, I’m here to tell you that Pat Chambers and Penn State are on the brink of — FINALLY — taking one giant step out of the Big Ten basement and into the glorious, national light (and that’s saying nothing of the players that are entering their first season at Penn State, which is OHMERGERD good).
And it’s because of Chambers — and by proxy, Penn State — unlocking the program for all of us to see. They’ve ushered in the new era. They have become socially accessible. They have manufactured their own lanes into Philadelphia (thanks to Chambers experience with the Villanova program).
It’s like they...get it now:
That video is only 22 seconds long, but I think I just committed to the Penn State program after watching it.
There has always been something about Chambers that I’ve been drawn to as a Big Ten consumer. But now that Penn State is letting us take a never before seen look into their program, I get why I’ve always had that feeling. Chambers is that “players coach” that makes each and every player feel like he’s THE guy in a room full of THE guys. You can see that his greatest asset is his ability to build relationships with his players, on a one-on-one basis.
He’s the “open door policy” coach that is as concerned with his players maturing and growing up as he is with winning. He’s got that mixture of Wright and John Calipari.
These miniature glimpses into his coaching style are what fan bases and recruits alike absolutely love. He decided to draw back the blinds and can now create a bigger buzz around his targeted prospects even when he’s not on the trail.
Every single high school kid with offers from Penn State can now access these videos and watch him greet players as they get dropped off with a giant hug and a good ol’ “Rise and grind” greeting. They can see him at a table full of his staff end his meetings with “Let’s have an awesome day. Win the day.”
They can see the “DNA” of the program that Chambers and his staff have created from ground zero and realize it’s not just a part of his pitch. It’s a part of every single day:
Building a Big Ten contender is a “process”. It’s hard.
And I can’t wait to continue watching them, year round, reach their peak.
Note: If you’d like to watch the first two FULL episodes (which I fully recommend), you can watch them on the GoPSUTV YouTube channel.