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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 16th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Penn State Nittany Lions

 

Overall Rank: #85

Conference Rank: #8 Big Ten

 

2005-06: 15-15, 6-10, 8th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Penn State had a surprisingly decent campaign last year for a team that most expected to finish dead last in the conference.  With a relatively young team mostly staying in tact, the Nittany Lions are hoping to improve on their 15-15 record of a season ago.  Coach Ed DeChellis might not have the size or the sheer talent to compete with the big boys of the Big Ten, but another trip to the NIT and a little improvement from the young players, and this will be a very successful season.

 

Who’s Out: The Lions will miss Travis Parker.  The 6-5 forward averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds as a senior and leaves a hole in the frontcourt.  Clik McSweeney saw limited minutes in 27 appearances in 2005-2006 and most will at least miss his neat name.

 

Who’s In: For the first time in a while, PSU will bring in some talented freshmen who won’t have to start immediately.  That means there is actually some depth on this squad and it is a very good sign of a program turning around.  Those incoming freshmen are power forwards David Jackson and Andrew Jones. David Jackson the freshman, not to be confused with David Jackson the senior, averaged a double-double in high school.  Jones will do the dirty work in the paint and, at 6-9, 220 pounds, will give the Lions somebody who can bang inside with the big guys in the Big Ten.  A couple shooting guards return after redshirting last season.  Danny Morrissey, who was sidelined with a torn patella tendon, averaged 7.7 points per game as a freshman and is a lethal option from behind the arc.  Maxwell Dubois missed out on his freshman campaign with a fractured foot.  When healthy, the 6-3 combo guard is amazingly quick and will challenge for minutes in the backcourt. 

 

Who to Watch: Jamelle Cornley averaged a healthy 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds as a freshman.  He’s undersized at 6-5, but will be an effective power forward once again.  It will be helpful for the frontcourt if the center isn’t 6-5.  Milos Bogetic, Brandon Hassell and Jonas Suotamo are the returning candidates to take over the center spot.  It will most likely fall to Bogetic after averaging 12.6 minutes per game as a freshman. 

Unless the freshmen impress early, or the team plays small constantly, expect some troubles to develop at the five spot.

 

Final Projection: Ben Luber was thrust into action as a freshman, and now as a senior, he will have to use his experience in order to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.  Guard David Jackson (the senior) started all 30 games last year.  The combo guard will backup Luber and could start once again as the shooting guard.  On the wing sits Penn State’s leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago.  Geary Claxton averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 boards as a sophomore and it won’t take much longer before everybody in the Big Ten knows his name.  Proving the point that this is actually a Penn State team with some depth is last year’s sixth man Mike Walker.  After starting half of the games as a freshman, Walker was relegated to the bench in 2005-2006.  This year he’ll probably come off the bench once again to provide a long range threat. 

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

 

Projected Starting Five:

Ben Luber, Senior, Guard, 7.5 points per game

David Jackson, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game

Geary Claxton, Junior, Guard, 15.2 points per game

Jamelle Cornley, Sophomore, Forward, 11.4 points per game

Milos Bogetic, Sophomore, Forward, 3.7 points per game

86 Fordham » Complete List » 84 Toledo

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