The Curse Upon Penn State Hoops

By now you’ve read that the Nittany Lions will be without their best player today, Geary Claxton.

Claxton is one of the better players to ever have worn a Penn State uniform. He’s fifth all-time in scoring (1,542) and fourth all-time in rebounding (755). And this isn’t the first time he’s gone through injuries. He missed several games last year with a broken hand and then came back with a brace that hurt his shooting and dribbling ability.

During that stretch, Jamelle Cornley had three double-doubles and scored 20 points twice. He averaged 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds.

But those of you who remember watching Penn State the last few years remember this, mostly, about Cornley: he’s a 6-5, 240 pound forward.

Interestingly, Indiana has the perfect guy to match up with him in Mike White.

If Penn State is to have any chance today, it hinges on that matchup and the possibility of Mike Walker or Danny Morrissey getting hot from 3-point.

But even if that happens the Lions have so many holes. They’re starting two freshman in 6-8 Jeff Brooks — from Louisville — and Talor Battle, a 5-11 point guard. You think Eric Gordon has had some growing pains this year, watch these two today.

Had Claxton stayed healthy, Penn State fans would have had a reason to at least glance at the basketball team during the time  between the bowl and the Blue-White game. And maybe that would have helped head coach Ed DeChellis get some momentum.

After covering Penn State sports for five years, I’m fairly certain DeChellis’ job is safe for at least a little while. But his situation should remind every one of how tough it can be to build a program at a school that is known for one particular sport.