Close Up on Ackerman

Fight On State caught up with Penn State basketball signee Patrick Ackerman about what he's looking forward to in Happy Valley and his longtime connection with college basketball.

For 6-foot-11 Worchester (Mass.) Academy senior Patrick Ackerman, basketball was always in his blood.

"I always wanted to play college basketball when I was growing up," Ackerman said. "It's always been a dream of mine, I have had my sights set on it since I could dribble."

That dream came true in November when Ackerman officially signed with Penn State -- and he gives a lot of credit to his Father, Tom Ackerman.

"My dad is my inspiration because he got me started in it and knows a lot about the game," Ackerman said. "He is knows what I'm doing wrong and what I need to do, but he isn't pushy."

Tom Ackerman was a basketball coach for most of Pat's life, most recently at Assumption college in Worchester, Mass.

"I think growing up around basketball helped me get the feel for what it was like ever since I was young," Ackerman said. "I always had the advantage mentally because I knew enough about the game and how it works, so it came more naturally."

Now he can't wait for the transition from high school to Penn State this summer.

"What I am most looking forward to is the basketball at Penn State," Ackerman said. "That's what I'm going to college to do."

He added, "School-wise Penn State seems like a great place to be. I'm excited to be down there and be around all the great people."

Plus, the coaching staff has made it clear that the freshman will be expected to contribute right off the bat. And Ackerman is ready to show Nittany Nation his game.

"I am a defensive player first, I bring a lot of passion to the defensive end," Ackerman said. "I like to talk, step in, block shots and rebound and everything. But I'm a seven footer who also likes to step out and shoot a little bit on the offensive end."

He's ready to help PSU out on more than just the court. He's been working on getting his teammate, Canaan Severin, to come to Penn State, but for a different sport -- football.

"I tell Canaan everyday you need to take that offer," Ackerman said. "He knows my dad, too, because he used to coach his AAU team, my dad tells him you need to take that offer."

He continued jokingly, "My dad said you should check out the basketball team too and walk on."

One thing is for sure: Ackerman is ready to continue changing the face of Penn State basketball – for the better.

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