Sitting in the basement of the DuBoistown VFW on Thursday evening, Penn State men's basketball coach Pat Chambers talked to the media with a navy blue wristband wrapped around his left wrist with the word "ATTITUDE" written in white.
The same message is written on the wall in the locker room that his players see every day before they play or practice. It's a constant reminder of what Chambers preaches to his players and what they embody as they step out onto the court at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Chambers spoke about his Nittany Lions on Thursday night in front of fans at the monthly meeting of the Williamsport Nittany Lion Booster Club.
"It's everywhere. It's the foundation of who I am and of our program. It's not a gimmick, it's very real, it's very genuine," Chambers said about his message. "I choose (to be) positive and I choose (to be) upbeat and I choose hard work and that's the way I feel and that's the way the team' is going to feel, especially when the refs are calling bad calls against you or you're in a bad environment or your jumpers aren't going down. There's other things you can do, you can remain positive, because you're in control of it. So that's why our foundation's 'attitude.'"
The Nittany Lions return plenty of players from last year's team, including seniors Tim Frazier and Nick Colella, Jermaine Marshall, Sasa Borovnjak and D.J. Newbill.
"(Newbill's) going to open some space up for Tim, which will be great," said Chambers. "I think Jermaine Marshall's going to have a terrific year. I think he finally figured it out and the light came on for him that he's got to be in the gym every day working, shooting, getting better and he's doing that and he's become a pretty good leader.
"I thought Jon Graham had a phenomenal finish, got confident and feels good about himself and I see Sasa increasing his minutes this year. He's doing a great job this year, he's working really hard."
Despite a 12-20 finish last year, including a 4-14 mark in the Big Ten, Chambers and the Nittany Lions feel as if they're right on the cusp of turning the team around.
"Anytime I look down from that video room and hear a ball bouncing, I look down and it's not just one of the women's players. It's not just Maggie Lucas, it's one of my guys," Chambers said. "We're changing the culture, changing the environment of hard work and getting after it. We just got to compete, we got to steal a couple on the road and we got to win the games at home and we got to take care of our homecourt."
Obviously in Happy Valley, football is king and it always has been, but Chambers hopes that in due time, he'll be able to get the Nittany Lions men's basketball team in the class of elite programs.
"I also want Penn Staters to love our men's basketball team. I don't know if we'll ever be at the level of football, but I'd like to someday walk hand in hand or a step or two behind, not 20 yards behind," Chambers said laughing. "And Bill O'Brien and me are great friends, which is terrific. So we're definitely closing the gap on that."