The fall signing period for college basketball began Wednesday, and Penn State’s Pat Chambers had a unique way of looking at the Nittany Lions’ impressive haul.
“Christmas came early,” he said with a laugh.
Chambers has every reason to be happy and excited. On what he called “a big day in the history of this program,” PSU signed by far its best recruiting class of the modern era. The four-member group is ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 13 nationally by Scout.com.
Entering his fifth year at the helm of the Lions, Chambers is the first to admit that he’s been no overnight success on the recruiting front.
“It’s been a long five years,” he said Wednesday afternoon, after all four Letters of Intent had been received. “It has taken a long time. And there’s been a ton of nos. A ton. We finally got some kids, the right kids — and firmly believe for the right reasons: who are into getting their degree and want to change the perception of Penn State basketball and make this thing built to last with some consistency — I just think that was so critical to our future.”
The class includes three members of Philadelphia powerhouse Roman Catholic High — guards Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick, and forward Lamar Stevens. Also in the mix is post player Joe Hampton of national power Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.
Stevens and Carr are four-star prospects. Bostick and Hampton hold three-star rankings. All have been in PSU’s crosshairs seemingly forever.
“If you think about it, Lamar was three years,” Chambers said. “Tony was two and a half. Joe was three years. Nazeer was three years. That’s a long cycle. And we full-court pressed, if you know what I’m saying, to say that these are the right kids for us and they’re the right positions for us to get (when) coupled with the Class of 2015.”
Chambers thanked the Penn State administration, fans and alumni for showing patience through his rebuilding process. He said the athletic department’s decision to invest in facilities improvements — a new film room opened Wednesday, upgrades have been made in the training room and there is new branding in the concourse of the Bryce Jordan Center — are helping on the recruiting front.
“To me, it’s been such a long process to change things around here and get it to where we need it to be and try to compete on a daily basis with the powers that be in the Big Ten,” he said. “Every little thing helps. Every little edge or advantage that we can get helps, because (opponents) already have all that stuff.”
Looking ahead, Chambers said he is hearing from plenty of players in the Class of 2017, even though PSU might not have any available scholarships.
“And we’re hearing from kids in ’18,” he added. “We’re well ahead as far as ’18 is concerned because that’s the next big class for us.”
Of course, he ought to be allowed to enjoy the Class of 2016 before moving ahead two years. But that brings up another point.
The members of this class won’t arrive on campus until next summer.
“It’s like a new car in the driveway, but you can’t touch it until you get your driver’s license,” Chambers said.