New Penn State basketball coach Patrick Chambers is the main reason Shaler's Geno Thorpe chose the Nittany Lions.
Thorpe made a verbal commitment to Penn State this morning when Chambers called Thorpe at 6 a.m. to wish him happy birthday. Although Thorpe is only a junior, he had decided a few weeks ago that he would commit to Penn State on his 17th birthday. Thorpe's other top choices were Pitt and Wisconsin. All had offered scholarships, along with some other Division I colleges. But Thorpe saide he liked how Penn State recruited him, compared to other schools.
Penn State didn't recruit Thorpe until Chambers became coach. The Nittany Lions started recruiting the 6-foot-3 guard in June and Thorpe said Chambers is what put Penn State over the top. (Thorpe is pictured playing against North Allegheny's J.C. Howard last season).
"They're looking to turn the program and that's what I'm about," Thorpe said. "He's a guard-tempo kind of guy. He's very up-tempo and he likes his guards, especially his point guards. He always talked to me about attitude and always having that gut feeling about what you want to do in life. I want to play at Penn State."
Thorpe said he was recruited to play point guard for Penn State. He averaged 17.5 points a game last season as a sophomore at Shaler.
Thorpe said he is well aware of the cloud hanging over Penn State's football program right now because of an alleged sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. While Thorpe said the story is said, he added that it didn't affect his decision.