Penn State Basketball Stock Report: Week Three

Story posted December 1, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

hit their stride as they have won their past three games since the rout to Cincinnati. The team had players explode during the week, while others sank back into the limelight.

STOCK UP

Mike Watkins

Watkins’ freshman year has been a bit of a roller coaster, starting off the season well, then struggling against teams like Duke and Cincinnati. The freshman big man has started to build on the poor performances by dominating George Washington and Georgia Tech.

In the two games, Watkins averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 blocks, while shooting 12-22 from the floor. He has improved his low post game, recording his first 20-point game against George Washington.

The most impressive aspect of Watkins over the past two games is his ability to avoid fouling. Many would think a freshman big man would constantly be in foul trouble, but Watkins has only two fouls in his past two games.

His free throw shooting has also improved as he was 8-11 from the charity stripe. His upswing of shooting percentages and blocks bodes well for the Nittany Lions in the future.

Lamar Stevens

To say Stevens struggled against Cincinnati and Colgate would be an understatement, as he was unable to get into the rhythm of the game. He only scored eight points combined and was 2-11 from the floor.

Stevens stepped up in a big way over the past two games, scoring 28 points and grabbing 16 boards in the victories. He attempted at least 10 shots in both games and was confident in his ability to get to the rim.

The one concern about Stevens was his height at the four, but he has shown that he can defend in the post and block shots. Stevens has ditched the three point line and focused on attacking the basket, giving him more opportunities to improve his already stellar 91.4% free throw percentage.

 Stock Down

Payton Banks

Banks was instrumental in the victory over Colgate as he poured in 20 points, including four triples. Unfortunately for him, the past two games have been forgettable as he has almost as many fouls as points scored.

In the games against George Washington and Georgia Tech, Banks recorded only seven points and committed five fouls. He was unable to impact the George Washington game as he was saddled with foul trouble, but Banks struggled from deep against Georgia Tech as he missed all three attempts.

Banks is extremely inconsistent as he has been unable to string together a couple of good games outside of Colgate and has failed to register five points since the Duke game. His poor shooting puts the Nittany Lions in a bit of a hole, as he is one of the few shooters Penn State has to offer.

Banks is capable of shooting well from behind the arc, but needs to be more consistent to give the Nittany Lions success.

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu