Yes, the Penn State Nittany Lions made it to the NIT last year. Yes, they have a guard in Talor Battle who made the first-team All-Big Ten and All-Region selection as a sophomore. And yes, the Lions won that NIT I referred to last year. I think some guy named Jamelle Cornley had a little to do with it.
But I digress. There are some issues Penn State’s athletic department needs to sort out. Now, the Nittany Lions haven’t been a nationally-renowned basketball program, but they are a big-time athletic school in a power conference. Starting a season with losses against UNC-Wilmington and Tulane are not definitive of a power conference team.
In fact, the Lions have lost 11 straight games. Does anybody else know the last time that happened? I don’t. Of course, many of those games were against highly-ranked opponents and a few of the games were a lot closer than the score indicated, including two losses against Minnesota by a combined seven points and an overtime loss away from home with a tough Wisconsin team.
Through it all, Penn State fans can’t help themselves from screaming at the television, “WHERE IS THE COACHING?!”
And there’s the problem. Down the stretch of a game, and particularly against tough opponents, the Lions look flustered, and unsure of themselves. The confidence factor a defending NIT champion should have is non-existent. That’s the coach’s job. Ed DeChellis has repeatedly played the part of an inept teacher.
Personally, I used to think Talor Battle was just a ball hog who refused to spread the ball around and insisted on the last shot. This year, however, I’ve seen him bring the ball down the court many times after a five or ten-point run by the opponent, and look to the sidelines for the play.
Instead of calling a timeout or at least calling a play, DeChellis just stands there, arms folded. I half-expect him to shrug or look around as if to say, “What do you want me to do?”
Penn State’s basketball coaches have done well in recruiting, obviously, with Talor Battle and freshman Tim Frazier, who should prove to be an exciting player once he gains some experience. Talor’s half brother, Taran Buie, has also signed on for next year—and he was given a scout’s grade of 93.
What then, is the reason for an 8-15 start, and 0-11 in the conference? Development of the players. And THAT, TOO, lies with the coaching. I’d like to see what goes on in practice, honestly, whether coach DeChellis runs plays and drills or Talor Battle just leads the team in games of 21 and HORSE.
Moral of the story: Ed DeChellis is 89-118 all-time, which is a .430 winning percentage. It’s the worst winning percentage of any head coach in Penn State history and, as you know, the Nittany Lions have never been the top dog in the sport.
There needs to be a change somewhere with the men’s program, and fast. Lions fans are starting to get tired of wasted talent and spoiled chances.