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Newbill brings Philly swag to Lions

The fact that the word “swagger” is actually defined in the English dictionary - "to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence," in case you were wondering - shows where we are as a society in terms of giving slang words actual definitions. It also makes the high number of questions referencing the verb at Penn State’s men’s basketball media day less shocking, being that, you know, it’s an actual word and all.

D.J. Newbill will join Penn State's starting lineup after sitting out last season due to transfer rules.

Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Newbill was the focus of the swagger question-and-answer barrage after bringing his Philadelphia roots to Central Pennsylvania and infusing a team lacking that cutting edge, with his chip-on-the-shoulder mentality.

When head coach Patrick Chambers told star point guard Tim Frazier about the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Newbill and his ‘Philly Swagger,’ Frazier didn’t know what to think.

“Before I even met D.J., Coach told me, ‘I got this guy coming in who has got that Philly swag,’ I told him, ‘Coach I don’t know what Philly swag is, I’m from Texas,’” laughed Frazier on Monday. “When you get to meet him and see him play, he’s got that chip on his shoulder, a hard-nosed player who is very competitive.”

Chambers will be relying on Newbill to help his team as pressure-packed away games wind down in the second half, to be the one stopping an opponent’s run before it gets started. Penn State didn’t win a road contest during Big Ten play last season, a stat that must change in order for this team to take that next step toward being a contender.

He is also begging for fan support, which might not be there right away coming off a 12-20 campaign. But you can’t fault Chambers for lack of effort.

“I’ve tried almost everything I can possibly think of to drum up support,” said Chambers, who also said season ticket sales are up from last year. “I handed out Big Macs, I taught classes, I’ve done pep rallies, I’ve done almost everything anyone has asked me to do - and then some.

“I hope the fans come out because I’m building a relationship with them, they have to get to know you, I’ve been in the HUB shaking hands, the team has been there too, so now we have to win some games.”

With an early marquee game against Top-10 N.C. State in Puerto Rico in addition to a home matchup against in-state foe Bucknell, Chambers’ bunch will be challenged early,.

And Ones

- Chambers was asked if he is shooting to make the NCAA tournament this season, to which he responded, “We’re shooting for is creating the best habits that we can every single day, and being as consistent as we can with our effort and our attitude.” Felt they got a lot out of last year’s team, but feels this year’s team is much more talented.

- Newbill played 36 minutes in Penn State’s exhibition win over Philadelphia U this past Friday to shake off the rust from a year on the sidelines due to NCAA transfer rules.

- Jermaine Marshall only played 15 minutes on Friday due to an aggravated hamstring injury that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.

- Penn State averaged 6,937 fans per home game during 2011-12, registering as just under 46 percent of the 15,261-seat capacity advertised by the Bryce Jordan Center.

- Chambers said he’s getting closer to a starting five but doesn’t have anything set in stone.

-Ross Travis was called the most important player on the team, next to Tim Frazier by Chambers. The head coach said the sophomore from Minnesota can play anywhere from the one to the five for Penn State, bringing versatility to the lineup.

-Penn State opens up its season this Friday at home against St. Francis at 7 p.m. The game will be shown on BTN.com.

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