Ever since Penn State’s all-everything guard and unequivocal leader, Tim Frazier, underwent season-ending surgery, Nittany Lions coach Pat Chambers has asked fans not to feel sorry for his team.
Because they’re not feeling sorry for themselves.
There’s no question Penn State had to scramble when Frazier ruptured his left achilles tendon four games into the season. Frazier wasn’t just a big part of the game plan -- he was the game plan.
Last season, he was the only Division I player in the country to average at least 17 points and six assists per game.
So Chambers went back to the drawing board, looking for a new guy to run the show. In Saturday’s 58-47 win against intrastate rival Penn, Chambers offered a glimpse of what that show could look like.
Three players, including Philly native D.J. Newbill, posted double-digit scoring figures. The Nittany Lions weren’t bothered by Penn’s press and hit five of seven 3-pointers in the first half.
Newbill, second on the team with 13 points, also recorded five rebounds, five assists, four steals -- and only one turnover.
“Everybody needs to bring it,” said Penn State guard Jermaine Marshall, who had a team-high 18 points. “Not just D.J., who brings it every game.”
It’s still clear, though, that there is no answer on what life after Frazier brings. The team is still figuring out the pieces.
Newbill isn’t a natural point guard. He’s a winger. In practice, he and Marshall have been splitting duties of who is running the point.
The other options aren’t so promising: Former walk-on Nick Colella, true freshman Akosa Maduegbunam and walk-ons Kevin Montminy and Zach Cooper.
And while Newbill’s production was solid on Saturday, it was Marshall who ran the show at point guard most of the game.
"Out of anybody on this team, I'm all over him because I have a vision of who he should be and who he can become," Chambers said of Marshall. "And he's slowly starting to head that way."