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Talor Battle, Teammates Impressed By Freshmen

Following the transfers and early graduations of Chris Babb, Adam Highberger, Bill Edwards and Andrew Ott from the Penn State basketball program, a big question for the Nittany Lions heading into 2010-2011 became how the team would replace its depleted depth after a disappointing season.

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The answer came tentatively in the forms of guard Tre Bowman and forward Jonathan Graham, who signed with Penn State in March and May respectively. As late additions to a recruiting class that already included star guard Talor Battle's half-brother Taran Buie, most Penn State fans likely don't know much about the pair, but both players appear to be making good first impressions with their teammates, and leader, Battle.

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First Bowman.

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“He works hard. He’s strong,” Penn State point guard Talor Battle said. “I think he can be a really good defender. He’s shown that he can knock down the jump shot and he’s really been a competitor.”

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Bowman has played both wing positions during the informal scrimmages, mostly squaring off against red-shirt freshman Jermaine Marshall, junior Cammeron Woodyard and senior Jeff Brooks, the three players he will compete with for playing time during the upcoming season.

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That competition for time will certainly be fierce, as Bowman isn't the only one opening eyes this summer.  Cam Woodyard has been sharp, too.

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Penn State is hoping Graham can become and inside presence, and provide quality minutes in the front court off the bench, or perhaps even in the starting lineup if Andrew Jones and Jeff Brooks falter as they did in 2009-2010. He appears to be off to a good start.

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Though not particularly springy and in need of some upper-body muscle, Graham is active with or without the ball and has shown the ability to finish in traffic during informal scrimmages with his new teammates this summer.

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“He’s scoring the basketball really well around the basket,” Penn State guard Talor Battle said. “He competes each and every day and he’s always one of the first guys here. You can see he really loves the game.”

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So it looks like both players are grabbing attention early, which obviously good for Penn State. The quicker these young guns can get their feet under them, the better the Lions' postseason chances will be. Neither are replacing particularly big contributors, so the bar is pretty low.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.