Penn State Basketball Stock Report: Week One
Penn State’s basketball program has lurked in the football program’s shadow for quite some time for good reason, but for the first time since Penn State’s tournament berth in 2011, there is optimism in Happy Valley. With one of the best recruiting classes in Penn State Basketball history, the Nittany Lions have tournament aspirations once again. Here is the stock report heading into the first game of the season.
Stock Up: Four-Star Freshman Recruits
Freshman guard Tony Carr and freshman forward Lamar Stevens headline Penn State’s highly touted recruiting class. In Carr and Stevens’s first taste of college basketball action against Lock Haven, Carr scored 15 points on 5-11 shooting and dished out 2 assists. Stevens, not to be outdone, notched a double-double, with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
It was announced after the exhibition against Lock Haven that Carr would be Penn State’s starting point guard to begin the season. Stevens will likely come off the bench to begin the year, but head coach Pat Chambers recently gave a ringing endorsement of his freshman recruit by comparing him to the versatile Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. In a recent Big Ten Network interview, Chambers said, “He is going to play the three, he is going to play the four, and he is going to play the five.” If the Lions can continue to get quality minutes from their two star freshmen, they will be in good position to join the madness of March.
Stock Down: The Three Spot
Second-year guard/forward Josh Reaves will miss the first three games of the season due to a leg injury. Penn State is a much improved team, however, the loss of Brandon Taylor is huge. Taylor graduated from Penn State last season and was Penn State’s best player, averaging 16.3 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds per game at the three spot. Without Taylor, and starting the season off with an injured Reaves, the three spot for the Nittany Lions becomes a glaring weakness.
Stock Up: Up-Tempo Offense
Pat Chambers said recently he wants the offense to play faster this season. The ability of juniors Shep Garner and Payton Banks to shoot the ball leads Chambers to believe that this year’s roster has the ability to shoot the ball much more efficiently than last year’s team did. They will also be able to knock down open threes in transition at a much more efficient rate.
Chambers also praised the athleticism of his team, citing freshman forward Mike Watkins, 6’9”, freshman big-man Julian Moore, 6’10”, as well as the aforementioned Josh Reaves. With two big men who can run the floor, Reaves, and Lamar Stevens, who Chambers forgot to mention, the Nittany Lions are going to be able to run a much more up-tempo offense than what we have traditionally seen from this team. That being said, the Penn State faithful should not be expecting the offense to look like Mike D’Antoni’s early 2000’s Phoenix Suns teams just yet.
Charles Hart is a freshman majoring in print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.