2008 Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball Preview
A seventh-place finish last season by the Penn State Nittany Lions (15-16 overall, 7-11 Big Ten) was the team’s best showing in seven years. State had to battle through numerous injuries and hardships, including the loss of their leading scorer. However, they were ousted from the conference tournament in the first-round and did not receive a NIT invite.
Senior power forward Jamelle Cornley (30.6 MPG, 12.1 RPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 50.6 FG%, 59.6 FT%) stands just six-foot-five, but he’s a tough, no nonsense competitor who plays through injury. The problem for PSU is that he’s more times than not suffering from some sort of physical ailment. If he can get healthy, that will be a huge boost for the Lions. Andrew Jones (17.0 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 51.6 FG%, 60.8 FT%), David Jackson (22.8 MPG, 5.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 40.5 FT%, 73.9 FT%) and Jeff Brooks (14.9 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.6 FG%, 35.5 FT%), three sophomores, return to share the forward spots. The three bring tough demeanors but not much size.
In the backcourt, Taylor Battle (30.2 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 34.5 FG%, 68.7 FT%) returns after stepping up last year, his freshman season, when Penn State star Geary Claxton (17.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG) went down with a knee injury. Battle has it all—the ability and quickness to make shots, set-up plays and dish off clean assists. Three-point shooter, Danny Morrissey (21.3 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 40.4 FG%, 78.3 FT%), who knocked down 58 threes last season, is back for his senior season. Senior Stanley Pringle (21.8 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 36.8 FG%, 71.1 FT%) offers quickness and keen dribbling skills.
The Nittany Lions have been to the NIT just one of the last four
seasons. But this year, the team looks promising and Ed DeChellis
is a fine coach capable of making good things happen. This Penn
State team has talent, focus and drive. The NIT should be on their
schedule in 2008-2009. Eighth- or seventh-place are possibilities.