Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 10/19/11
Patrick Chambers didn't waste time when he arrived at the gym to whistle his first Penn State practice into session. A weekend later, after four practices in three days, point guard Tim Frazier felt a little sore. ''As soon as we stepped on the floor, we got into it right away,'' the Nittany Lions' lead guard said this week. ''But definitely, I feel like I'm prepared. ... This is the high intensity that coach is going to bring.'' Chambers was named Penn State's coach in June - and he seemingly hasn't stopped moving since. Flights to meet his new players across the country in the offseason. Recruiting visits. Road trips across Pennsylvania to drum up support for the program, as if he were politician on the campaign stump. More than 10,000 miles alone in the month after he left Boston University for Happy Valley. And that was before practice started last week. ''Playing smart, playing together, playing with pride ... we're going to keep after it. I promise you that,'' Chambers said at an offseason appearance with boosters in Tipton, about 30 miles from State College. ''Penn State basketball is going to be alive and well and energetic and enthusiastic,'' Chambers added, ''exactly the way you guys would want it.'' A program makeover is the last thing many fans expected back in March, after coach Ed DeChellis and career leading scorer Talor Battle had led the Nittany Lions to an NCAA tournament appearance to cap their most successful season in a decade. But Battle and three other senior starters graduated in May. DeChellis left a couple weeks later, shocking school administrators by departing his alma mater to coach Navy, a Patriot League program. The respected DeChellis had a friendly but subdued personality. The energetic Chambers can be chatty and outgoing. A former salesman, Chambers could easily slip into a room full of strangers at happy hour, slap someone on the back and offer up a handshake to start a conversation. He's been seen on the campus golf course, riding around in a cart to offer Penn State T-shirts. He brandished a bullhorn to talk at a pep rally with the student section before the football game Sept. 10 against Alabama, wearing eye black along with a white Penn State helmet and No. 24 jersey - his favorite number. The slogan this year for the basketball program? One word: Attitude. Chambers handed shirts and rubber wristbands out at the booster club appearance with the word. It's emblazoned on posters and newspaper ads. ''You just bring it. You bring the energy,'' Frazier said when asked what the slogan meant. ''You go all out, dialing it up on the floor, taking charges.'' The coaching staff tracks ''hustle'' plays like diving for loose balls and getting deflections. On offense, Chambers has said he doesn't want ''robots.'' Ideally, the Nittany Lions need to get stops and rebounds to get in transition and play to this team's strength - Frazier on the break. Quick to acknowledge the work of the previous regime under DeChellis, Chambers has quickly branded his own stamp on Penn State. ''The perception is people aren't into basketball, the basketball program is not at an elite level. Well that's not true, we just went to the NCAA tournament,'' Chambers said. Now it's nearly time to see how the attitude adjustment translates into on-court results at a program seemingly in perennial rebuilding mode in the tough Big Ten. It's not going to be easy, especially early on, given Chambers is working with a roster that may not suit the up-and-down style he prefers. Chambers draws experience from his time assisting Jay Wright at Villanova. ''It's a new mentality. I keep telling (the players) you've got to think like winners. And what does that consist of? Working hard. No excuses. Creating good habits every day ... Every team in the country is doing this,'' Chambers said in an interview. ''But who's going to push through (and say) I'm not just going to push through, I'm going to get better.''
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