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
Back in mid-August it was reported by the Clarion-Ledger that four-star small forward Mario Kegler would be taking visits to four schools, with the dates yet to be determined. Saturday NBCSports.com confirmed the dates for Kegler’s four official visits, as well as a change in one of the schools that will be hosting him.
Kegler, who’s a senior at Oak Hill Academy after spending last year at Arlington Country Day in Florida, will take his first official visit next weekend (September 18-20) with Arizona State being the hosts. That will be followed by a trip to Penn State the following weekend (September 25-27), with Maryland (October 15-17) and Indiana (October 23-25) also on Kegler’s itinerary.
News of Kegler’s visit dates was first reported by Scout.com.
The change in all of this is that Penn State will have the opportunity to host Kegler. In mid-August it was reported that UConn was one of the four schools that would host Kegler, with Arizona State, Maryland and Indiana being the others.
The Jackson, Mississippi native still has one official visit at his disposal, and the setting up of four official visits does not mean that Kegler has trimmed his list either. Kegler holds many offers, one of which being from a Mississippi State program that hosted him on an unofficial visit in early August.
After playing four seasons of college basketball at Penn State, forward Ross Travis decided to give pro football a shot. While the 6-foot-7 Minnesota native was seen as having the build and athleticism required to give such a transition a chance, he hadn’t played football since his freshman year of high school.
Given the lack of experience it came as no surprise that Travis wasn’t taken in this spring’s NFL Draft, but that didn’t keep him from working towards the goal of landing a spot with an NFL franchise. And Sunday that perseverance paid off, as Travis was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP Minneapolis.
The practice squad is different from the 53-man roster that teams had to work their way down to this weekend (the 53-man roster deadline fell on Saturday), as it consists of ten players who went through the waiver process prior to joining said group. And he joins a team that already has one tight end who has made the transition from college basketball to the pro gridiron in former Milwaukee forward Demetrius Harris.
Kansas City has four tight ends on its 53-man roster, led by Travis Kelce, and it goes without saying that making the move from the practice squad to the active roster can be tough for any player much less one with the on-field experience of Travis. But, being on the practice squad allows Travis to get the reps that he’ll need as he looks to make that transition.