Penn State Men’s Basketball Season Preview
David Green, Pat Tartaro, Mitch Broder and Ben Borus discuss the landscape of the Penn State men's basketball 2018-19 campeign:
The 2018-19 NCAA men’s basketball season is here. Penn State is looking to build off its 26-win campaign last season in which they won the NIT tournament.
With the departure of shooting guard Tony Carr, the Nittany Lions will be looking to veterans such as junior forward Lamar Stevens and senior guard Josh Reeves. Stevens scored 19.2 points per game in the NIT Tournament and led Penn State to a championship victory over Utah.
Penn State had a conference record of 9-9 last season and is looking to improve that record in hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. Despite a .500 record in the conference, Penn State managed to defeat rival Ohio State in all three matchups last season. Penn State was the only team in the Big Ten last yeara to defeat Ohio State at all, let alone three times.
Junior forward and the NIT Most Outstanding Player in 2018, Lamar Stevens has been making a case that he may have legitimate NBA potential. To go along with 15.5 points per game last season, he has shown that he can excel in multiple positions.
“I just have to step up as a leader, honestly, and help bring the young guys along as fast as we can,” Stevens said at the Big Ten media day.
Penn State won 26 games last season which is the second most in the team’s history. At Penn State’s media day in early October, head coach Pat Chambers talked about how the team has momentum heading into this year after a 26-win season and NIT Championship victory.
“We’re returning three fantastic players,” Coach Chambers said. “Our front line can go against anybody in the country.”
Chambers is heading into his eighth season with the team. While the 2017-18 season showed Chambers’ highest winning percentage of his career at 66 percent, he believes the climb can continue.
A looming question mark remains for this Penn State team as redshirt junior Mike Watkins continues to deal with off the court legal issues. Watkins was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team last season and was one of the leaders for the Nittany Lions.
When asked about the status of Watkins’ legal issues, Chambers backed him up saying “let’s give the kid a chance, let’s do our due diligence.”
Another instrumental piece to the Penn State lineup is Reeves. Despite serving a four-game academic suspension last season, Reeves was able to record a team-leading two steals per game and made the Big Ten All-Defensive team as well. Last year was the first year in the team’s history that the Nittany Lions had two All-Defensive Team Honorees in the same season.
Several freshmen are poised to provide a big contribution this season as well. Chambers expects players like Rasir Bolton, Myles Dread and Myreon Jones to make an immediate impact scoring the ball.
David Green is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.