Chambers’ words are ringing hollow now

Notes and observations from a mid-winter sports medley:

n Patrick Chambers asserted early this season that the Penn State Nittany Lions are a good basketball team.

They’re a competitive team, but the label “good” is a real stretch right now.

Good teams don’t squander 20-point leads to Ivy League squads at home, or fail to win toss-up conference games in which they take commanding second-half leads.

Good teams finish what they start, and play almost as well on the road as they do at home.

Heretofore in the 2013-14 season, Penn State hasn’t done any of it, and a team that in late November had shaped up as capable of making a possible run toward a berth in the NCAA tournament with the return of Tim Frazier and a solid supporting cast now appears headed for a 6-12 showing, or worse, in the loaded Big Ten Conference.

n All signs point to a monster upcoming wrestling postseason for Altoona Area High School junior D.J. Hollingshead, who is a good bet to become the school’s all-time winningest wrestler before he graduates in 2015.

Hollingshead finished third at 152 pounds in the prestigious Powerade Tournament at Canon-McMillan High School in late December, and won 17 of his first 19 matches this season.

Hollingshead wrestled all through last offseason, competing in the Freestyle National Tournament in Fargo, N.D. after qualifying for the PIAA Class AAA state tournament last March in Hershey.

“He’s turned over another gear this season,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said of Hollingshead.

With a total of 69 victories in his first two seasons, Hollingshead is in good position – barring a serious injury, of course – to break T.J. Brandt’s school record of 125 victories set just last season.

n There’s no argument about it – any player involved with performance-enhancing drugs that consequently enhanced his career statistics should never be considered for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Period.

n The lingo surrounding the annual coaching carousel that takes place in the college and National Football League ranks this time each winter is almost as amusing as it is confounding.

When a coach says that he’s staying put, there seems to be a better-than-even chance that he’s out the door. Likewise, when the average athletic director maintains that a coach who has attracted national interest is still the coach at the school, it’s usually not long until he’s not.

It’s somewhat akin to the death-knoll public endorsements that a lot of owners of professional sports teams give to their coaches right before dismissing them.

n Speaking of confounding, Louisville’s coaching re-hire of Bobby Petrino is the eyebrow-raiser of the football offseason to date. Louisville is banking on the idea that Petrino has turned over a new leaf, but a leopard never changes its spots.

John Hartsock can be reached at