On Friday morning, Satchel Pierce met with Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers and told him he wanted to join his program.
Pierce said Chambers was ecstatic to receive the news.
“As soon as I told him, he jumped up and gave me a big hug and the rest of the coaching staff came running in and gave me a hug as well, so it was great,” said Pierce, a transfer from Virginia Tech. “It was a great experience.”
Pierce, a 7-foot, 255-pound center, announced that he would continue his career at Penn State on Twitter on Friday. Pierce will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, and he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining. He played two seasons at Virginia Tech, averaging 2.6 points in 51 games.
Last season, he played in 20 games, averaging 1.6 points and 6.2 minutes per game. He made 31 appearances and earned seven starts during his freshman season.
Pierce said about 10 programs contacted him since he decided to leave Virginia Tech. He said he was also looking closely at Georgia Southern, Baylor and UNLV.
He said he visited Georgia Southern before his trip to State College this week. Pierce chose Penn State because of his relationship with Chambers and because of Penn State’s style of play.
Chambers recruited Pierce during his high school career and called him soon after learning the big man was transferring.
Chambers was able to rebuild that relationship.
“I really love the way coach Chambers coaches,” Pierce said. “He’s got a lot of energy, he’s a real high energy guy and his players feed off of that. And I believe that I will too.”
He also believes he’ll fit into the Nittany Lions’ inside-out approach on offense.
“I feel like I’m a really good passer out of the post, so if I can’t go get it and go score the ball, then I feel like I can make good plays for my teammates to get a good shot,” Pierce said.
He joins a roster that includes 6-foot-10 forward Julian Moore and 6-foot-8 forward Mike Watkins in the frontcourt.
Daryn Freedman, Pierce’s coach at The Kiski School in Saltsburg, said Penn State is getting a player who can rebound, block shots and finish inside.
But Freedman said Virginia Tech didn’t rely on its big men.
6-foot-10 forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. averaged 6.2 points and 19.2 minutes and 7-foot center Johnny Hamilton averaged 1.8 points and 7.3 minutes per game for the Hokies last season.
“The games I saw they just never threw it to the post,” Freedman said. “He’s a guy who if you go to him in the post, he’s usually going to score. They did not do that this year.”
Pierce declined to comment on why he chose to leave Virginia Tech.
He visited Penn State on Thursday and had a good feeling about the program after meeting the coaching staff. He talked it over with his parents and coach from back home that night before making his decision Friday.
“It just feels like this is the right place for me,” Pierce said.