Former Altoona, Villanova and NBA standout Doug West coached alongside Patrick Chambers as assistants at Villanova, and Chambers is now being considered for the Penn State men's basketball job.
Chambers has been head coach at Boston University for two years, compiling a 42-28 record. He is under contract through the 2016 season.
Chambers was an assistant at Villanova from 2004-09, while West was there from 2007-09, and they went to the Final Four their last season there.
"He is a basketball junkie," West said. "Basketball has been his life since he was young. He had an older brother that played at Penn, and he's one of I think 13 kids, so a big family man. Just a great basketball mind. A lot of energy, a lot of passion."
In this Q&A, West talks about his good friend Chambers overcoming getting stabbed earlier in his life, his coaching credentials and whether Penn State can ever establish a recruiting pipeline from Philadelphia.
Q: What is Chambers best at: Xs and Os or talent evaluation and coaching?
A: "He's definitely an Xs and Os guy, and offense is definitely his thing. He's a very good defensive teacher, as well. I think his best trait is he's a very good motivator, very good talker and a great people person."
Q: What level of assistant was he at Villanova?
A: "He was the No. 1 assistant when he left. A perfect example of him was we beat Duke to play Pitt [in the 2009 NCAA Tournament], and after the Duke game he had an interview the next morning with BU. He knocked that interview out all day long, came back, knocked the Pitt scouting tape out and the whole game plan for that game the same day. ... So very organized, very motivated, has his priorities in order, very good family man."
Q: Is he primarily a guard-oriented, get-it-up-and-down-the-floor kind of coach?
A: "I would think all former guards that are coaches, that's their idea, they all want to push it. They all see the court as coaches, see the total court. And I think he's the same type of coach. He's gonna want to push it, but he's gonna want to run set plays and grind it out on the defensive end. He's gonna want to have tough-minded players, guys who are willing to give it up for their teammates and their coaches."
Q: What's his personality like?
A: "He had a situation back when he was younger. He has a nice scar on his neck from when he got stabbed, and he almost died when he was younger - college days - so I think that actually changed his life around a little bit. ... He's been around great talent in coaching and has had great basketball around him his whole life."
Q: What are his recruiting skills, and can he go into a kid's living room and sell him on coming to a school?
A: "He can get it done. He's a bulldog. He can sell you anything. He's a very, very good speaker, very good talker. He was in the business world doing something else before he was at Villanova. He's a very good communicator. We had top recruiting classes before I was at Villanova, and he was pretty much part of most of those. So he's a very, very good recruiter."
Q: Does he have good ties to Philly in recruiting?
A: "I would call it great ties to Philly."
Q: So the high school coaches, AAU coaches, he has great ties with them?
A: "Yes. He grew up in Philly, lived in Philly, coached in Philly, went to school in Philly, his whole family is from Philly. When you have that many kids in the family, everyone knows somebody else."
Q: Was he the lead recruiter on any of Villanova's standout recruits like Scottie Reynolds or Corey Fisher?
A: "He was involved. Yeah, I would say after I got there he was probably the lead recruiter because he was involved with so many people."
Q: You've played in Philly. Some people say Philly recruits don't want to come to Penn State and never will. Can any coach get Philly kids to Penn State?
A: "Ummm [laugh]. I think that as the program grows, players will want to come play at a program that is successful and competitive year in and year out. You show that you want them to be there and want them to be part of it. Philly kids will go anywhere. I think a lot of them - the top guys - look at Penn State as a football school. So it's like, OK, I'm thinking about going to the NBA, I want my dreams to go there, and is Penn State really going to be that spot. It has been for a few guys at Penn State, but I don't think the track record has been that great."