April 14, 2011

Ernie Nestor off to Missouri, Spring Basketball Recruiting Blurbs

Coach Nestor was
unofficially the oldest
DOBO ever.
(Photo: PSU)
There were rumblings about this the past few days, but it is now official. Director of Basketball Operations Ernie Nestor is leaving his post at Penn State to become a member of Frank Haith's new staff at Missouri. Quite frankly, we hardly got to know the guy as he didn't even stay one full year, but this move shouldn't be too surprising. DOBOs are usually stepping stone positions for young guys looking to get into the coaching profession. Ernie, however, was a former head coach and had 42 years of coaching experience before replacing former DOBO Jon Perry last year. With all due respect to coach Nestor, DOBOs aren't suppose to be 64 years old. I would hope DeChellis didn't expect Nestor to stay for the long term when he was hired last summer.

A month ago it seemed like PSU could be losing Kurt Kanaskie and The Great Dan Earl, so settling for Nestor's departure is okay with me. DOBOs are unofficial assistant coaches that are responsible for a lot of administrative bitch-work like scheduling, directing summer camps, public relations, arranging travel plans, and the like. This year's fantastic schedule was scheduled by Jon Perry before he left, so it's hard to say what kind of impact Nestor had here. Not trying to hate on the guy, but he just wasn't in much of a position to have an effect, which is probably why he left.

I don't know who will be his replacement, but one obvious candidate to me is former Nittany Lion Ben Luber. The unspectacular point guard of 03-07 has been at Rider the past two seasons, the first as their DOBO and this year as an assistant coach. Assuming the interest in the position is mutual, you'd have to think he's the frontrunner. I don't particularly care who it is as long as they know the intricacies of the RPI formula and can schedule like a pro.


I wanted to fit in some recruiting news into this post, since Blue-White coverage is dominating the scene (and Nestor's departure isn't stand-alone news). The spring signing period has begun and lasts the next 5 weeks. I haven't heard too much about current prospects, but I haven't really had the time to dig around. However, with the few targets I do know of, the staff seems to be determined to fill a scholarship with a perimeter player with some scoring abilities.

The first candidate that visited a few weeks ago was controversial JuCo wing, Anthony Hubbard. If you haven't heard, Anthony is 25 years old because he spent 4 years in prison after being convicted of armed robbery. Despite his troubled past, many coaches have offered him a scholarship, including Penn State, Iowa, and Nebraska. All of these schools have accepted Mr. Hubbard's transcripts, until news came down yesterday that PSU admissions denied him because of one math course. DeChellis tried to convince him to make the math credits up over the summer at his junior college, but as any normal person would, Hubbard doesn't like school that much. Hubbard will most likely land in the conference at either Nebraska and Iowa.

I don't care how good Hubbard is or will be, nor do I really care about his past. If the staff was willing to give him a second chance, so was I. After the headache Buie probably gave the staff this year, I would imagine they were extra careful evaluating character in prospective players. He was still offered a scholarship. The fact that other Big Ten schools accept his transcripts but Penn State didn't is annoying. DeChellis shouldn't have to be fighting an uphill battle within his own school. Big Tens schools have standards, or at least I would hope. It's not like he's running off to the lesser schools of the Big East (Pittsburgh) and SEC. This situation just brings back worries of the Omar Thomas situation of 2003. Omar, a Philadelphia native, was also rejected admissions here because of one class, so he went on to dominate at UTEP and lead the Miners to NCAA tournament appearances in both of his years there (oh, and they weren't in the NCAA tournament 12 years prior to his arrival).

Richardson with his high-top
fade seems to be the only
2011 prospect PSU is in with.
PHOTO: Rivals.com
With Hubbard off the board, the only other visiting prospect I know of is 6'5" combo guard, Josh Richardson. Penn State is fighting with Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Missouri State, Tennessee, and TCU for the Oklahoma native's services. Richardson will visit Tennessee Friday, and then head up to Penn State for an official on Saturday and Sunday. Josh is ranked in the Rivals Top150 at 121 and is rated a 90 on ESPN. Here's a recent video interview conducted by his local news. I would really, really like to see this guy in the Blue and White.

I'm curious to see what happens with LaDontae Henton. He de-committed from his Dayton LOI after Brian Gregory left for Ga Tech. PSU offered him a scholarship years ago, when he seemed to be a can't miss prospect. But the guy didn't physically develop as many hoped, so he apparently is still an undersized 4 at 6'5" with not much of a perimeter game. Not sure if he's what PSU is currently looking for, or if his original offer is still on the table. MSU fans seem to like him, though.

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