Stephan Van Treese  Allen Roberts

Penn State announces addition of Allen Roberts

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Penn State took a big hit when it was announced that Jermaine Marshall would transfer from the program. Fortunately for them, Marshall’s replacement might’ve just shown up.

The program announced the addition of Allen Roberts, who spent the past three seasons playing at Miami (Ohio). The 6-3 Middletown, Ohio native will be eligible immediately under the graduate transfer rule and will have a single season of eligibility remaining.

“Allen is a strong, physical guard with a Big Ten body,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said in a statement. “He is a good shooter and scorer, plays hard and brings great experience and a mature approach. We are excited to add him to what we feel is one of the most talented backcourts in the nation.”

Despite losing Marshall (15.3 points per game in 2012-13), Patrick Ackerman and Akosa Maduegbunam (neither of which produced a lot in their time in State College, Pa.) to defections, Roberts himself brings some solid talent to the Nittany Lions that could help make up for Marshall’s departure. The team also gets fifth-year senior Tim Frazier back, who was averaging a team-leading 16.3 points per game before tearing his ACL in the team’s fourth game of the season and earning a medical redshirt, along with a fellow leading scorer in junior-to-be D.J. Newbill (16.3 ppg).

Roberts, who redshirted the 2011-12 season with the Redhawks, averaged a team-leading 12.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists last year. His percentages weren’t the best — he was a 38.8-percent shooter overall and hit just 33.8 percent of his threes — but he averaged 27.4 minutes per game and shot 79.8 percent from the free throw line.

The addition of Roberts, at least on paper, is big for Penn State. As long as he can step into the role that Marshall played, the Nittany Lions can keep up the buzz surrounding the team for the upcoming season. Newbill and Frazier are the top returning scorers in the B1G and having Roberts could mean a potent three-guard line-up with definite scoring power.

Roberts joins SMU transfer Jordan Dickerson as incoming transfers for Chambers, along with a four-man freshman class. Dickerson will sit out the season and be eligible in 2013-14.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.