I made the plea to keep the faith once already this season so that one’s finished. Make no mistake about it though, the game tonight is as tough as it gets as I try to spin something positive out of a season that is quickly spinning out of control. Not for lack of effort, mind you. Our Lions took that treacherous trip to Ann Arbor just a few nights ago and made a good game out of one where they weren’t supposed to have a chance; according to the pollsters anyway. In the end, the No. 2 ranked Wolverines came out on top, but much like we did earlier in the year versus Virginia Tech, Penn State made them look anything but a potential Final Four participant for the second year in a row.
Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens both recorded double-doubles but the real story of the night is what unfortunately happened on the Nittany Lion bench in the heat of the moment. Tempers were tested and head coach Pat Chambers let his emotions get the best of him when he shoved true freshman Myles Dread in a heated exchange during a time-out. As a result, he’s been suspended for tonight’s match-up at home against Wisconsin. Frankly, the timing could not have been any worse for Chambers or the team.
The incident itself was nothing reminiscent of Bobby Knight throwing a chair across the floor or old Woody Hayes ending his career with a single sucker punch, so I’m not here to blow things out of proportion. Chambers profusely apologized for letting the game get the best of him, professed his love for Dread, and the apology seemed legit. The suspension was warranted for sure but anything more than one-game would have been overkill for an offense that happened in the heat of battle as he tried to motivate his star guard the old-fashioned way.
What I am here to do more than anything is support our student-athletes that give everything as representatives of Penn State. Coach Chambers has asked them to climb, he’s asked us to climb and for the most part we’ve obliged as both players and fans, but right now at this moment, he’s put their backs against the wall. As if being unable to break away from the .500 record they’ve been hovering around all year or getting off to a 0-3 start in the Big Ten Conference wasn’t hard enough, now the hoops team must do it without the man who’s asked us all to trust him sitting this one out.
I absolutely love Coach Chambers and support him 100%, but all things considered, this came at the wrong time and it’s not a good look. That said, tonight is not about the coach, it’s about the players and they need us now more than ever, Nittany Nation, as they go out to battle on their own. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on BTN. Come loud, come proud, and bring your ROAR for a scrappy basketball squad that’s doing everything they can to get better before it’s too late.