2005 Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball Preview
2005 Penn State Nittany Lions Team Preview
Ten years ago this was a basketball program that was highly competitive. Last season the Lions were 1-15 in conference play and 7-23 overall. There’s not much hope for a better finish this year.
Yes, in his first two years Coach Ed DeChellis has been active
in recruitment with the best being swingman Geary Claxton. Last
year, his first season, Claxton led his team in scoring with
12.7 PPG. Claxton is a tough slasher who rebounds as good as
anyone off the offensive boards. But he, like the rest of his
team, has a proclivity for turning the ball over. Ball control
needs to be a major area of focus for this team.
Another problem is defense. Penn State was dead last in the Big Ten, letting opponents dump in an average of 70.7 PPG, while they hit for an average of 63.4 PPG.
Forward Travis Parker, a senior, is another good shooter (11.4 PPG) and rebounder (5.4 RPG) and guard Ben Luber, a junior, hits his foul shots 89.6% of the time.
But the Lions have seen seniors Aaron Johnson and Marlon Smith depart. In his last year forward Johnson hit for over 11 points per game and took in almost 10 rebounds each contest. Smith, at guard, provided close to 12 points per contest. Making up for those point totals will not be easy.
The freshman class looks pretty good, with forward/center Joonas Suotamo, who plays for the Finnish National Team, probably the best of them. Suotamo, who has a fine mid-range jump shot, is a likely starter. Coming in with a fairly high level of experience, he’s expected to make a difference right from the beginning.
For Penn State to work its way out of the cellar the team will need to defend much better and hold onto the ball. These are fundamentals that a club must execute effectively day in and day out; if they don’t the Nittany Lions are destine to finish where they have the previous two years-- looking up at all the other teams in their conference.
For more info on the 2005 Nittany Lions check out the official Penn State athletic site.