Penn State Basketball Stock Report: Week Two
There are areas Pat Chambers must address, but the play of three freshmen, as well as ample bench production has the Nittany Lions playing well. After a disappointing loss in their season opener against Albany, Penn State has won back to back games against Duquesne and Grand Canyon.
Stock Down: Three Point Defense
The three point shot has been the achilles heel of the Penn State defense early on. In each game this season, the Nittany Lions have given up at least seven threes. These long-range jumpers have mostly been uncontested.
Albany was able to capitalize on Penn State’s defensive struggles and stole the first game of the season in State College. It is still very early in the season, so Pat Chambers and his staff still have plenty of time to correct this defense from giving up open shots. With a matchup against a highly talented Duke Blue Devils team approaching, the Nittany Lions are going to have a tough time defending one of the premier programs in the nation.
Stock Up: Roman Catholic Freshmen
Expectations were high in Happy Valley for freshmen Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr. Thus far the two have yet to disappoint. In the duo’s second game of the season, they combined for 44 points. Stevens’s ability to drive to the hoop, create contact and get to the foul line has helped a Nittany Lions offense that is still trying to put the pieces together. Carr has exhibited a strong outside shot, shooting 6-12 from three.
With Penn State needing a spark off the bench, Nazeer Bostick has emerged as a viable option. Bostick is yet another freshman recruit from Roman Catholic High School. Through the first two games of the regular season, Bostick was played sparingly by coach Pat Chambers. This changed on Tuesday, as he saw 17 minutes of action against Grand Canyon. Soon after checking into the game, Bostick added five points, an assist and one steal in the span of three minutes. With injuries to Josh Reaves and Isaiah Washington, Penn State needed contributions from their bench and they got a good one from Bostick.
Stock Up: Mike Watkins
Thirteen blocks in only three games. The 6’9” Mike Watkins has been a force in the paint. Watkins has blocked guards, forwards and centers. Although undersized, Watkins is super athletic and is able to rotate quickly to help on defense. With the rim protection of Watkins, if Penn State can shore up their perimeter defense they can develop into one of the better defenses in college basketball.
Watkins has also been a viable scoring option for Penn State, throwing down highlight reel finishes around the rim. In three games, Watkins has averages of 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
We are only three games through the season, but the freshmen have changed the complexion of hoops in Happy Valley. Stevens, Carr and Watkins represent the future of basketball in University Park.
Charles Hart is a freshman majoring in print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.