Penn State boss Patrick Chambers stepped up to the podium at Big Ten Media Day and made a key statement. Without hesitation and without prompting, Chambers made it clear that he was happy with the direction of the program.
“I believe our program is gaining some momentum,” said Chambers. “We have a nice mixture of seniors and young guys with a dynamic freshman class.”
That freshman class referenced by Chambers is led by four-star recruit Josh Reaves. A native of the Washington DC area, Reaves has really impressed Chambers so far in his time in State College.
“In all of my years I’ve never seen a kid with such a professional and mature approach,” said Chambers of Reaves. “He graduated from Oak Hill on a Saturday and then he was up at Penn State that Sunday. He comes in, takes care of his business, I don’t have to worry about him, does extra work, extra lifting, and extra film. I’ve never seen a freshman with this level of maturity or sense of urgency.”
What has led to the momentum Chambers speaks about and the addition of Reaves, as well as what could be a top 10 class in 2016 is hard work.
According to Chambers it is big for him and his staff to be able to get that momentum going on the recruiting trail, and rewarding as well.
“It has been such a long process it is nice to see the fruits of your labor blossom so to speak,” said Chambers. “We have worked so hard to create relationships. The group that we have in, and the group that we have coming in, those relationships started years ago. It is a long process and a long cycle, and to finally hear some yesses, it gives you confidence.”
He continued, “There is interest in the Penn State basketball program now from major high school and major prep school programs. We are a viable option now. To me that is a win in itself.”
Because of the lack of tradition, and even the geographic footprint that Penn State is in, there needs to be a bit of a unique strategy when it comes to recruiting. Knowing that, Chambers and his staff have identified a few things they like to build on.
“It comes down to relationships and what players fit us,” said Chambers of his strategy. “Now people are saying to us, ‘you have too many players’. We haven’t heard that now before at Penn State.”
He continued, “Also it has worked for me in the past at Boston University, and it is our model here. We recruit friends to come here together. We have done it in the past and we are continuing to do that.”
For Chambers a strong 2015 class has helped with an even stronger 2016 class, and now he knows he needs to keep that momentum going during the season.
“I look at this job as two seasons,” said Chambers. “You have the six months of recruiting and the six months of the actual season. We have won the last two summers, now it is time to start winning on the floor.”