Allen Roberts will begin a new chapter in his life Saturday. And while it's at a place he's never visited, he can't wait to get there.
The former Miami (Ohio) guard will use his final season of NCAA basketball eligibility at Penn State while working on graduate credits in the classroom. Since he already holds a degree from Miami, he'll be eligible to play for Pat Chambers' Nittany Lions next season.
The change of scenery will lead him to bigger and better things in both realms, he believes. A 27-minute and 12.3-points-a-game man a season ago, he is set to join an experienced Nittany Lion backcourt that includes guards D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier.
"I felt Penn State was the best place to go because of the atmosphere, the coaching staff and the opportunity to play against the best in the Big Ten," Roberts explained. "Being a college basketball player, I follow a lot of teams and knew a lot about Penn State before.
"I knew someone that used to go to Penn State [former Lion and current Redhawk Bill Edwards, a high school teammate of Roberts], so I knew the gist of Penn State. I've never been there, yet knew everything about the basketball program."
Chambers was a big part of the reason the 6-foot-3, 214-pound guard chose to move east. Roberts also highlighted the university's resources, academics and facilities as keys to his decision. It was not immediately known what other options were present for Roberts, but he said Penn State "has a lot of things there that can help me succeed."
Working out and preparing for his June 22 arrival has taken up the bulk of his time since leaving Miami at the conclusion of the spring semester. Roberts cited a lack of success as the reason for moving on from the Redhawks.
"Coach Chambers has that winners' mentality. He's not really concerned about what people say about him. He wants to win, and he's going to demand us to be winners," Roberts said. "I want to be in an atmosphere with a coaching staff that accepts nothing but a winners' mentality, and that's what he stands for.
"I've lost over 40 games in two years. I don't come from a losing background, and it's a simple fact that losing that many games can diminish who you really are."
Frazier was an important part of the decision, too. The former All-Big Ten point guard missed most of last season with an Achilles' injury. But he should be full strength for the 2013-14 campaign. And Frazier has proven that he can excel as a scorer himself or while setting up teammates.
Newbill, meanwhile, can play point guard or shooting guard, and is one of the more physical backcourt players in the Big Ten. Roberts, himself a versatile type who can shoot, drive and pass, thinks he will mesh well with the returning guards.
"I actually feel we will complement each other well," Roberts said. "Coach Chambers mentioned he runs a three-guard set as far as ball screens and transitions, so I feel like those opportunities will be available.
"I spoke with Tim, and he said ‘I'm a pass-first guy.' With a point guard like that, he has multiple facets of his game where he can score, pass, shoot and play defense. If I can take some pressure off of him and D.J., then they don't have to be focused on for the entire game, and there are more people to worry about.
"I've been excited since they first called. Big Ten basketball is a dream come true," he continued. "Being able to work hard with a group of guys that are with the same mission and goal is something I've been dreaming about."
Like Chambers, Roberts brings high expectations for the Lions' 2013-14 team. He said he wants to be a part of a team that can surprise people in the NCAA Tournament and "shocks the world."