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Winter Sports Heat Up
Penn State is synonymous with football, but there are only so many games left to be played. But rest assured, there's still plenty to follow in the sports department once Beaver Stadium locks its gates until the spring.
On the hardwood, Penn State basketball heads into the 2016-17 season carrying some high expectations after signing one of the best recruiting classes in the country. The Lions, who traditionally struggle to attract top talent to Happy Valley, out-recruited notable programs like Michigan, Baylor, Oklahoma -- and finished 18 spots ahead of 2016 national champion Villanova on 247sports' rankings. Finishing a lackluster 16-16, head coach Pat Chambers expects his team to benefit from an uncharacteristically loaded non-conference schedule that includes meetings with Georgia Tech, Pitt, and No. 1 Duke.
But the vibe surrounding this team feels different, and maybe because the team's makeup is completely different. This year's team starts with three key freshmen: Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, and Nazeer Bostick. All three hail from Roman Catholic high school in Philadelphia, and all three figure to revolutionize a team in need of a talent upgrade. Stevens, the largest of the trio, figures to act as the swing man given his lanky frame and tremendous athleticism. He'll be complemented nicely by the innate shooting ability of the 6-foot-4 Bostick, who figures to make an impact coming off the bench this year for the Lions.
But the true star of the class is worth the price of admission. Tony Carr, the top point guard in the state of Pennsylvania, spurned programs like Arizona State, Florida State, Indiana, and Georgetown to join his high school teammates in Happy Valley. He's expected to take the reigns as a freshman and partner with another former Roman Catholic standout in Shep Garner to give the Lions a sense of hope -- one that could usher in an entirely new era for Penn State basketball.
If the Lions can weather its early season tests, fans can expect a much different stretch of Big Ten conference play. The Nittany Lions tip off against Albany on Nov. 11 in the Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament, and you definitely won't want to miss it!
Not a basketball fan? Not to worry! There's plenty of other fun winter sports in-season you can follow! Penn State men's hockey is off to a record start with just one loss to seven victories. Ranked No. 14 in the nation, the Nittany Lions have beaten some of the best teams Division I has to offer -- including then-No. 3 Notre Dame.
Cael Sanderson's wrestling squad is looking to repeat after a dominant 2015-16 campaign. Seniors Brian Brill and Jimmy Gulibon are two senior leaders Sanderson needs to count on if his team is to return to championship glory. There's nothing quite like the atmosphere produced a sold out match at Rec Hall, and the Lions bring the fireworks each and every time they hit the mat.
Also, thankfully, we still have plenty of women's volleyball action to be had before the season wraps up in mid-December. The Lions look to reverse course from last season's unprecedented early exit from the NCAA Tournament and embark on another title run.
Football might be coming to a close, but there's always plenty going on at Penn State!
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