People talk about how “winning” will indeed change everything. But that does little to change the perception of Penn State basketball for the people who will change this program for the long run…top talent from Pennsylvania and specifically the Philly area.
Penn State can win the Big Ten, but to kids in Philly and the East Coast (who Coach Chambers seems to have thrown his efforts toward recruiting hard), it’s not Villanova and The Big East or Temple and The Big Five or Duke/UNC and the ACC. Kids in that area who have grown up on those schools and that kind of basketball philosophy still realize that PSU is fairly far west in the middle of the mountains and the places they mostly play are even farther west, beyond those mountains. Add to that, the brand and philosophy of Big Ten basketball and therein lies your problem.
And as good as Big Ten basketball is, the league is still set up as a football conference.
However, with all that said, I and many others are willing to give Coach Chambers more than an opportunity to work on changing perceptions around the program…even though my feeling is he is not just fighting perceptions on Penn State basketball alone, but that of Big Ten basketball with so many recruits in his recruiting area of expertise. Even for the best schools of the Big Ten, not many, if any, of their recruits come from the East Coast (or Northeast). Top Big East recruits (and Big Ten recruits) all look to stay home unless they get recruited to upper echelon programs elsewhere, which usually means better climates as well, and PSU unfortunately is not any of that.
I honestly can’t think of any other program in the country with this sort of challenge. And to me, that makes rooting for Penn State basketball and the people who live and die for the program (ED and now Pat) all the more enjoyable. Because when we do win and when we are successful, it is because of hard work and nothing else.
Go get em, Pat.