Marlon Smith Update

Penn State basketball coach Ed DeChellis met the media Thursday afternoon, but could only offer a few details about hospitalized guard Marlon Smith. Smith, who collapsed at practice last Friday, is still undergoing tests at the Hershey Medical Center.

“He’s resting comfortably,” DeChellis said, noting that Smith and his family do not want the details of his illness to become public at this time. “He seems to be in pretty good spirits. We’re hoping to know more. They’re still undergoing some tests.”

Smith, a sophomore starter, has missed Penn State’s last two games due to his illness. He was listed in serious condition at Hershey as of Tuesday, and will not play in this Saturday’s home tilt with Michigan. Beyond that, DeChellis had no idea when or if Smith might return.

“It’s a game-by-game thing, it’s a day-to-day thing,” the coach said. “He could be here for practice tomorrow. I just don’t know.”

In the meantime, Smith’s fellow Nittany Lions addressed the situation to the media for the first time Thursday.

“It’s been pretty tough on me,” said point guard Ben Luber, Smith’s roommate and classmate. “Going back to the room and not seeing him there at night and just wondering what’s wrong with him. When I saw what happened at practice, it scared me a lot. I couldn’t even practice from then on out because I couldn’t stop thinking if he was all right. I just hope he is well. Regardless of anything with basketball — if he gets to play again or anything — I just hope his health is well.”

Luber, who stepped away from the team for five games earlier this season to deal with personal issues, knows Smith better than anyone else in the program. As true freshmen starters last season, they finished first and third, respectively, in the Big Ten in minutes per game.

“It feels a little different not having Marlon by my side,” Luber said.

Last weekend, after a late-night flight back from a road loss at Minnesota, Luber and several teammates drove to Hershey to check up on Smith.

“Same old Marlon,” Luber said. “He looks the same. I think he’s doing pretty well. But we’re not really sure what’s going on. We’ll just have to wait.”

“They let them in to see Marlon for a few minutes,” DeChellis said. “... They saw him in good spirits. He was laughing. He was normal. That was helpful for them, because they didn’t know what was going on.”

The loss of Smith leaves Penn State with only three scholarship guards — Luber, as well as freshmen Danny Morrissey and Mike Walker.

“All our minutes are going to go up,” Walker said. “We have to kind of do different things.”

Yet while the Lions are struggling along at 6-10 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten, the greater concern for the time being is their hospitalized teammate.

“Everyone is doing all right with it,” Walker said. “Obviously, it’s kind of up in the air when you don’t know. But we’re doing all right.”

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