Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers announced Friday morning that freshman guard Josh Reaves will miss multiple games after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Reaves has played in 17 of Penn State’s 18 games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of action per contest.
Reaves made 14 starts in those 17 games, and with him out of the rotation the Nittany Lions take a hit on the perimeter. Devin Foster, who has come off the bench in all 18 games and is averaging 18.7 minutes per contest, is one player whose playing time is likely to increase with Reaves being sidelined.
Junior Shep Garner currently leads the team in minutes with an average of 34.6 per night. Penn State, which is 1-4 in Big Ten play and 10-8 overall, will visit Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
The connections of the Penn State coaching staff to the Philadelphia basketball scene have resulted in multiple recruits making their way west to State College to play for head coach Patrick Chambers. But the 2016 recruiting class has the talent to be difference-makers for a program in need of a boost, and Friday afternoon Penn State added a third Philadelphia native to what is now a four-member class.
6-foot-7 small forward Lamar Stevens, who trimmed his list to eight schools in late July, verbally committed to Penn State during a press conference held at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. Stevens joins high school teammates Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick, and Oak Hill Academy forward Joe Hampton, in Penn State’s 2016 recruiting haul.
While Penn State’s biggest personnel losses after the 2015-16 season will come in the front court, adding talent to the perimeter was also key for the Nittany Lions. Adding the versatile Stevens to the mix, as he has the skill, athleticism and strength to play either wing position, will certainly help in this regard.
In addition to the four freshmen Penn State will also add former UConn guard Terrence Samuel in 2016-17. Samuel, who was a contributor during UConn’s 2014 national title run, is sitting out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules.
Video credit: Courtside Films
Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers and his coaching staff have done a solid job of getting players from Philadelphia to make the trek west to State College, with three players on the 2014-15 roster hailing from the City of Brotherly Love and incoming freshman Mike Watkins being another native. Thursday night Penn State landed a verbal commitment from another Philadelphia native, as 2016 wing Nazeer Bostick announced that he’ll play for the Nittany Lions.
The 6-foot-5 Bostick is Penn State’s first commitment in the Class of 2016 (Joe Hampton de-committed in mid-March), and the Roman Catholic HS student has taken multiple unofficial visits to the school since receiving an offer in October according to 247Sports.com. Bostick won’t be the only player with Roman Catholic ties on the Penn State roster when he joins the program in 2016, as rising sophomore guard Shep Garner is a Roman Catholic grad.
Landing a commitment from Bostick, whose nickname is “Horse” according to City of Basketball Love, could be key for another reason when it comes to Penn State’s 2016 recruiting class, according to Ben Jones of StateCollege.com:
Perhaps most importantly, the Bostick commitment continues the forward momentum in the race to land four star recruits Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens. Both are teammates of Bostick’s and both primary recruiting targets during a crucial summer for Chambers and his staff.
While Carr and Stevens are important recruits for Penn State in the 2016 class, the perimeter isn’t the only area where they’ll need to add depth. While two of their three incoming freshmen are front court players, Penn State will lose three (Donovon Jack, Brandon Taylor and Jordan Dickerson) at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.
With that being the case, adding a front court player to the 2016 haul would benefit the Nittany Lions moving forward.