Young Talent Shows During Men’s Basketball Opening Weekend

Young Talent Shows During Men’s Basketball Opening Weekend

On Friday night, three out of the Penn State starting five were freshman. Although this year is seen as one of the best recruiting year’s in Penn State history, the team suffered their first lost of the season on opening day and Head Coach Pat Chambers still thinks there’s a lot of work to do.

“They aren’t in high school anymore. We have to mature, but my father always says, “You can’t hit the ball and run to third.” This is a process,” Coach Chambers said in a post game interview following the team’s Friday night loss to Albany. “I’m sure they didn’t realize how hard Albany played. I did because I coached against them about six years ago in the America East, but now they see what it’s going to take and that’s what we’re going to start working on tomorrow.”

After trailing Albany by as much as 19 points during the game, Penn State’s rally fell short as the team full of youngsters fell 87-81 at home to start to the season. Junior Shep Garner was the leader for the team as he scored 25 points, with nine of them coming from beyond the arc.

In addition to Garner’s game-high 25 point performance, freshman Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr were able to pitch in on offense with double-digit scoring along with redshirt Mike Watkins, who was unable to play last season due to being ruled ineligible by the NCAA.


Much of the team’s woes Friday night had to do with a less than ideal defensive effort. While the team was able to make a statement on offense with 81 points, the defense was lackluster at times, which lead to the team’s defeat.

“We have to continue to build good habits and when you continue to work in practice you do that. We will eventually get to the team we want to be in January,” Chambers said. “That’s the goal in non-conference, to keep getting better.”

The team did just that Sunday night as they took on in-state rival Duquesne and earned an 82-74 win lead by freshman Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr, who both put in 20+ point games.

“I’m really proud of my team and the captains and how they responded after Friday night,” Chambers said after the game. “I know we gave up 45 points in the second half but we did a really good job in the first half. There is something to build on there. We just have to keep taking small steps.”

If there’s anything to take away from the first two games of the season, it’s clear that Penn State basketball will be very, very fun to watch this year. With a host of young, raw talent, there’s no telling how far this team will go this season.

Up next for the Nittany Lions is another game at home this Tuesday against Grand Canyon University. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.