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Favorite Nittany Lions

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.

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Titus is still my favorite. DJ a close second.

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Josh Reaves would be my favorite, with Cornley a close second. I love how both of them played, never backing down to any challenge.

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Much as I loved DJ, I have to go with his backcourt partner Tim Frazier. Still wonder what might have been for their college careers if Tim hadn’t gotten hurt, he was not the same player his senior year but obviously went on to be his old self and so much more in his post-college career.

One of the best passers I’ve ever seen who became a pretty damn good scorer when he had to after Talor graduated. Sick handles, lightning quick, and an obvious love for the game that you could feel every time you watched him play.

My runner up would be Joe Crispin, followed by Josh Reaves.

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Reaves or Battle, for me

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JC3

I have a hard time picking between (in alphabetical order) Frazier, Lisicky, Reaves and Stevens.

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Not to be a downer but I loved Gyasi Cline Heard. Such an awful ending to his story.

JC3, Battle, or DJ. Hard to pick against those three. JC3 made me fall in love with the program at a young age and greatly influenced my love for basketball and how I played growing up. My four years at PSU coincided with Battle’s which produced some unforgettable memories. But you couldn’t pick a better ambassador for Philly than DJ and what he accomplished during his career. Tough call.

Danny Morrissey.

Reaves, JC3, Shep or Battle.

Bubby, Lamar and DJ for me.

Claxton - I really started following the team after the 2001 tourney run. Kinda felt like Claxton was the first impact guy after the 2001 run. Sadly for him his career ended with an injury. I feel like his senior year could have been special (at least by PSU standards)

Just went back and looked at the roster from 07-08

Sr - Claxton, Mike Walker, Hassle
Jr - Cornely, Morrissey, Pringle
Fr - Battle, Brooks, Jones, David Jackson

That team had a good balance of experienced and young talent…if Claxton stayed healthy that’s a bubble team

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We had dug ourselves a massive hole in the non-con that year after getting smoked in Charleston. They started the B1G with a few decent wins, but that team was a long way from bubble when Geary went down. Especially after the Minnesota collapse at home.

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Forrester, you stole my thunder. I so wanted to see Geary play his senior season with Cornley, Bubby and that plethora of perimeter guys Walker, Morrissey, Pringle et.al. I was sick when he went down. You just knew the injury was a season ender. Air left the BJC that day.

Did Claxton get injured in the Minny game? That’s the way I remember it. Was he actually injured after that?

I’ll love TB’s remarks of “help is coming Geary!” or something like that. His performance in Charleston was a big reason (even though he was a freshmen) for that stinker.

My favorite Nittany Lions are all of the young lads who stayed with the program for 4-5 years and graduated from PSU with a degree.

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As opposed to all those “one and doners” we’ve had. :wink:

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Ok, I will include those lads too if they graduated from PSU. :slightly_smiling_face: