Basketball Freshmen Following: Week 12
This season for Penn State has been an up and down one to say the least as they rely heavily on freshman. While they are extremely talented, the young group has gone through many growing pains as they become accustomed to the college game.
Forward Lamar Stevens is a prime example of this, as he scored at least 20 points in three of his past four games entering the Nebraska game. His efficiency in those games was good as well as he shot better than 50% in all three of those games.
His performance at Nebraska was not up to par with his recent performances as he went 5-15 from the floor, finishing with 13 points. It was not all bad, as he did record seven rebounds and a block.
Stevens’ perimeter game is growing as he connected from behind the arc in each of the past five games. If he can harness his outside shot, Penn State could make some noise in the tail end of conference play and in the Big Ten tournament.
Big man Mike Watkins has been anchoring the post all season for the Nittany Lions, causing an impact on both sides of the floor. He has been the only post presence all season and he has always impacted the game defensively.
His 2.6 blocks per game are good for second in the conference and the number of shots he alters gives the Nittany Lions a solid defense. Foul trouble for him is not always an issue, but Watkins is susceptible of picking up cheap fouls.
His postgame is improving as the season progresses, but his footwork is a work in progress. His last two games have not been great in terms of scoring as he has put up 15 points combined, but has only attempted nine shots.
Tony Carr has had the most interesting freshman year of all as his role on the team has changed over the course of the year. He started off the year as the primary distributor as he was consistently getting around four assists a game.
As the season has gone along, Carr has taken more of a scoring role as he currently leads the team in scoring. His scoring is not over the top, but he has scored at least 10 points in his last seven games.
It’s not always efficient as his 3-11 performance against Rutgers displays, but his last game against Nebraska showed what he is capable of as he scored 15 points on 7-11 shooting. The scoring numbers prove he can handle the scoring load, but he failed to register an assist throughout the game.
Carr did have a game this season with 23 points and 14 assists, but that was in triple ovetime. He needs to find a steady balance of scoring and distributing if he wants to set up the Nittany Lions for success.
The Penn State freshman class has been the driving force this year as they look to succeed in the future.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.