Saw The Athletic is engaging in this space-filling exercise now, made me think of who might be my favorite Penn State player. Pretty sure it’s this guy:
DJ Newbill: Came from nothing (ABC called his high school the worst in America), got screwed along the way (Buzz Williams), committed to Penn State but lost his mother soon after he arrived, persevered on teams without a lot of help, got his degree.
State College, PA:
State College, PA - Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Run Out Of Gas, Fall To Purdue 64-59 -
DJ Newbill cried so hard as the buzzer sounded that he covered his face and nearly collapsed to the floor. The game lasted just around two hours, but it was a moment years in the making. Penn State’s 64-59 loss to Purdue closing the books on the Nittany Lions’ unexpected tournament run.
That picture of the Purdue players respectfully approaching the distraught DJ (and hearing Isaiah Livers this week identify Lamar Stevens as the toughest guy he had to guard) made me think of this classic:
Football is big at Penn State, too, so I’ll throw in this honorable mention: Christian Hackenberg. Committed to Penn State when Paterno was fired, stuck with his commitment after the sanctions were announced, stayed loyal when Bill O’Brien abandoned him and the players he recruited. He basically held Penn State together through three crises, and the program would not be where it is now without him. An underplayed story in my opinion is James Franklin’s loyalty to Hack despite the new coach’s obvious desire to play a different kind of football. That didn’t work out well on the field or for Hack’s development (again, my opinion) but it demonstrated something to me about Franklin.