Thoughts from the pool
Besides finding out that Talor Battle isn’t a very good swimmer, there were a 4 key things to take away from the pool party the team held this past Friday.
Bill Edwards is big. The pool party was the first time I had seen Edwards in person and his size was shocking. Jamelle also was at the party and when standing next to each other I’m pretty sure that Edwards was much larger. He is listed at 239 (to Jamelle’s 240), but he looks bigger…maybe it was the baggy clothes. Edwards has been touted as being a very solid player out of Ohio who could very well be the same sort of player that Jamelle was. Last year a lot of Big Ten teams were taller or bigger than the Lions, and even though playing determined is nice and all, at some point it’ll just help to be taller and stronger. Edwards looks like he’s going to be hard to move. In a nutshell–Edwards averaged 17.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.7 steals for the Middies last season. He was first-team all-state and all-district.
This team is going to be balanced. Assuming that the pieces fall into place, this team could be much more balanced than last years team. Sasa is every bit 6-9, and early reports are that he is playing well. Billy Oliver also looked big at 6-8 and he has been the suprise of the summer. Assuming that Billy Oliver, Sasa, Ott play decently this year (7-9 ppg) and Andrew Jones plays as good (and expected to play better this year) as he did at the end of last year,(averaged 10ppg and 8 rebounds in the NIT) that will give the team 4 threats over 6-8…5 threats if Jeff Brooks can step up his game. That’s something that a lot of Penn State teams have been missing. On top of that, teams will still have to contend with the athletic Tim Fraizer, Mr Bigshot himself Talor Battle and the speedy Jermaine Marshall. Last year Stanley and Talor were really the only good ball handlers when it came to a fast break situation. The squad should be up to 3 of those players, all of which are playing so far with the same amount of physical skill Stanley had. Edwards is also said to have great speed and handles for a guy his size…just imagine a larger, faster version of Jamelle
Tim Fraizer is getting bigger: Some talk this off season has come from the size of the athletic Tim Fraizer. Seeing him at the pool, when he wasn’t diving off the high dive, he looked as though he had been putting in time in the weight room. It is expected that he’ll be used to give Talor a rest, so he’ll need to be able to take the beating that is Big Ten Basketball. It looks like he is on his way towards that.
Talor is acting like a leader: Not very many people know Talor Battle as a person, and those of us who do would call him a soft spoken person. Even when you watch games, besides the usual chest pounding, Talor wasn’t the number one vocal leader on the floor. Its true with a leader like Cornley, you don’t need to say much, but Talor did a lot more leading with his play than his voice. Although I would be hesitant to take the actions at a pool party and equate them to the hardwood, Talor carried himself, and acted like a leader in a way that people aren’t used to seeing..He was checking in on the freshman, making sure the kids were having fun, starting things like getting into the pool when nobody wanted to. These are little things, but it is obvious (maybe more in person) that Talor is acting like the leader the team will need.