StateCollege.com’s Ben Jones is reporting that as many as seven important hoops recruits could be in town for the public football practice Saturday:

Official Visit: (Starts Friday)

  • (***) John Carlos Reyes: The only 2015 prospect of the weekend comes in at 6-foot-10, 223 pounds from LeGrange, Georgia. Offers from George Mason, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Tennessee.

Unofficial Visits: (Saturday)

  • (****) Tony Carr: A guard out of Philadelphia, weighing in at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds with offers from Georgetown, Indiana, Maryland Temple, Iowa, Pitt and many more. Ranked No. 77 on the Rivals 150 list. It is widely believed that Carr and Lamar Stevens will commit to the same schools, and both are high on what Penn State has to offer.
  • (****) Lamar Stevens: A forward out of Philadelphia, at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. Offers from Indiana, Villanova, Temple, Iowa, La Salle and many more. Stevens is ranked No. 95 in the Rivals 150. (A program source indicated to StateCollege.com on Thursday that Stevens would make the visit this weekend. Stevens later said in an interview on Thursday with the City of Basketball Love that he was visiting Villanova.)
  • (****) Markelle Fultz: From Hyattsville, Maryland, Fultz is a 6-foot-4, 180 pound shooting guard and ranked No. 25 in the Rivals 150. He holds offers from all over the country including Arizona, West Virginia, Maryland, Miami, Georgetown and many others.
  • (***) Nazeer Bostick: The 6-foot-5, 175 pound shooting guard out of Philadelphia will make the trip this weekend as well. Bostick holds offers from Drexel, FIU, James Madison, Long Island and a few other schools. He has long been favored to eventually land at Penn State, but recruiting is often unpredictable.
  • (Unranked) Dylan Painter: The Hershey native and 6-foot-10, 215 pound power forward will make the short drive to State College on Saturday as well. Painter has seen his stock steadily rise and that should only continue this summer and fall.
  • 2017, unranked: Lonnie Walker: A Reading PA prospect, the 6-foot-4, 170 pound shooting guard is Penn State’s first real look into the 2017 class so far. Penn State’s ability to recruit into the future beyond just the next incoming class has been key to establishing long term success on the recruiting trail. Walker is no exception to that.

While these are far from the only players Penn State is recruiting, if Chambers is going to put together another nationally recognized class it will likely come from the players listed above. Carr and Stevens have long been targets to make Happy Valley home while Fultz could headline any program’s class….

via State College, PA – Penn State Basketball: Big Weekend Ahead As Top Targets Head To Town.

Five scholarships (one now, four for Fall signing period), these prominent reported offers:

Name Ht Class Home Comp rk Major conference offers (+ Penn State)
Johncarlos Reyes 6-9 2015 GA (Legrange) NR Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson, Georgia Tech, South Carolina

Tony Carr

6-3 2016 PA (Philadelphia) 91 Florida State, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Pitt, several Big East
Lamar Stevens 6-7 2016 PA (Philadelphia) 131 Florida State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, several Big East

Markelle Fultz

6-4

2016

MD (Hyattsvillle) 38 Louisville, Arizona,Florida State, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington, West Virginia, several Big East

Dylan Painter

6-9 2016 PA (Hershey) NR Georgia Tech, some Big East

Nazeer Bostick

6-5 2016 PA (Philadelphia) 129  

DeAndre Hunter

6-7 2016 PA (Philadelphia) 118 N.C. State, Oklahoma State

Sedee Keita

6-9 2016 PA (Philadelphia) 122 Iowa State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas Tech, some Big East
Bryce Aiken 5-9 2016 NJ (Elizabeth) 105 Auburn, Maryland, Rutgers, Missouri, several Big East
Quinton Rose 6-5 2016 NY (Rochester) NR Wake Forest
Kevin Huerter 6-5 2016 NY (Clifton Park) NR Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Rice, Texas Tech, several Big East
Arnaldo Toro 6-9 2016 NJ (Newark) NR Texas Tech
CJ Walker 6-0 2016 IN (Indianapolis) 154 Florida State, Purdue, some Big East

Evaluation Period

Chad Markulics sums up current recruiting at Black Shoe Diaries:

Penn State Basketball Summer Recruiting Primer: Class of 2016 in Full Swing - Black Shoe Diaries

Pat Chambers finally has his contract extension, but the ultimate success (or failure) of the rest of his tenure could very well be determined this offseason.

It’s a big summer for Penn State basketball. Pat Chambers’ contract was extended to the 2019 season, but he’ll really earn his keep this offseason if he can build on the success of his 2015 recruiting class, arguably the best in program history. There’s still time to add to that class, but the future of the program can be stabilized with a strong showing in the class of 2016….

via Penn State Basketball Summer Recruiting Primer: Class of 2016 in Full Swing – Black Shoe Diaries.

COBL’s Jeff Neiburg:

The decision for Mike Watkins to attend The Phelps School for his senior year instead of staying at Math, Civics & Sciences paid off in the form of helping Phelps and coach Brian Shanahan capture the first PAISAA state championship in school history.

And the benefits didn’t just stop on the basketball court.

At the Malvern, Pa. boarding school, Watkins also got a taste of what life was like away from home before he heads up to Penn State next fall to begin his collegiate career.

“It prepared me well,” Watkins said. “It prepared me to manage my time and get my homework done.”

The 6-foot-9 Watkins, who’s been committed to Pat Chambers and PSU since June of 2013, may get slotted in the front court rotation behind upperclassmen like Donovan Jack and Jordan Dickerson, but the departure of senior Ross Travis provides an opening for available minutes.

And Watkins has a very good chance and staking claim to plenty of minutes in his freshman campaign.

“I’m going to go up there willing to work as hard as I have to,” Watkins said. “If I do start right away, that would be cool. If I don’t, I understand I just have to work through the process.”

If Tuesday night was any indication, Watkins is clearly ready to play at the next level. He was a force on both ends of the floor, finishing off alley-oops in transition, creating his own shot in the post and causing havoc on the defensive end around the rim.

“I can’t wait to get up there,” Watkins said. “People thought I fell off because my season was over, but I was still working out. I’m just getting better for the next level.”

via Donofrio Classic Report: Tuesday, March 31 | City of Basketball Love.

2016 Offers

City of Basketball Love:

Player of the Year

D.J. Newbill–Sr., Penn State

Newbill’s story is remarkable and well-documented. Once scorned by Buzz Williams and Marquette, he scrambled to find a school late in the recruiting process and played his freshman year at Southern Miss. Following his freshman season, the Philly product was homesick and decided to transfer and commit to Pat Chambers and Penn State. Before donning the blue-and-white, Newbill’s mother passed away and never had the chance to see him play for the Nittany Lions, as beautifully shown in BTN’s The Journey.

And after two very good seasons to begin his PSU career, Newbill’s senior year was flat out remarkable. Despite a career 44-55 record in Happy Valley and only three years in the uniform, Newbill leaves Penn State as arguably the greatest Nittany Lion of all-time….

via 2014-15 CoBL Division I Awards | City of Basketball Love.

Garrett Tucker on Twitter: "2015 PG Jahshire Hardnett will visit Penn State March 27th @jahshirehardnet".

About Patrick Chambers contract extension and why Sandy Barbour was smart to do it | PennLive.com

Dave Jones:

1. Chambers and his staff are showing signs of really being able to recruit.

The class just signed in the fall, including 4-star big guard Josh Reaves and 4-star power forward Mike Watkins and 3-star Lithuanian wing bomber Deividas Zemgulis has the look of a difference-maker. I’m hearing raves about Reaves in particular of the sort I heard about Talor Battle back in 2007 – total package of terrific player and leadership personality.

When your staff puts in the leg work to build relationships up and down the vital I-95 corridor and then that work starts bearing fruit, it’s tough to pull the plug. It would be even a better sign had not Reaves’ Oak Hill Academy teammate Joe Hampton from the 2015 class not backed out of his verbal last month.

2. The Nittany Lions played hard through the end of the season despite the results.

Usually you see some sort of dysfunction by March when a team endures as much losing as Penn State did. But the fact that the Nits played a lot of their best basketball in their last four games says something to how the players at least have bought in to what Chambers is selling.

Penn State went 3-1 from the last regular-season game through three games in the Big Ten tournament. During that period, they really emptied the tank in what could have been viewed as a hopeless situation. Significantly, they did so after Barbour gave Chambers a pair of public votes of confidence, one after the Lions’ worst game of the year – a 60-39 loss at Northwestern.

3. Penn State has not played defense this consistently and well since the Bruce Parkhill era.

That means something because it’s a constant, a base to work from that doesn’t fluctuate. It’s why PSU was so close in so many games.

The Lions were ranked 54th in defensive efficiency among the nation’s 351 Division I teams, 7th of 14 in the Big Ten, by Ken Pomeroy’s tempo-free stats. They did this while playing the fastest pace in the Big Ten.

Strictly speaking, one has nothing to do with the other. But only from a standpoint of personality, you don’t often see a team that plays up-tempo on offense and still locks down every possession on defense.

via About Patrick Chambers contract extension and why Sandy Barbour was smart to do it | PennLive.com.

Chambers: Four More Years

Sports Info:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Patrick Chambers, head coach of the Penn State men’s basketball team, has received a two-year contract extension, Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics, announced Thursday. The extension will keep him at the helm of the Nittany Lions through at least the 2018-19 season.

“I am grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm for the men’s basketball program Eric Barron, Sandy Barbour and the Penn State administration have shown,” Chambers said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished, but know there is so much more ahead. I think our staff and players have laid a foundation to build upon for years to come.”

The 2014-15 campaign ended with three wins in the final four games, giving the Nittany Lions an 18-16 overall record and the most wins since 2011, a total that has been topped just twice in the last decade. Penn State knocked off No. 5 seed Iowa and Nebraska before falling in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals to fourth-seeded Purdue.

“I support what Patrick is doing and I support his long-term leadership of this program,” Barbour said. “I love the heart with which his team represents the university, Nittany Nation and the community, both on the court with measureable success and improvements and off with a 100 percent graduation rate and active participation in countless community activities. With a core group of returning players and the highest-rated recruiting class in school history coming next fall, the future is certainly promising. I believe with the right support and resources, Patrick can take this program to a level of success which everyone can get behind.”

Penn State started the season 12-1, posting the most non-conference wins in program history by breaking the previous high of 11 set during the 2008-09 season. Then-No. 4 Wisconsin snapped the Nittany Lions’ 10-game winning streak in the league opener Dec. 31, which was the longest for a PSU team since the 1995-96 squad opened the year going 13-0.

The Nittany Lions are expected to lose four letterwinners from the 2014-15 roster, including No. 4 all-time leading scorer D.J. Newbill and third-leading rebounder Ross Travis. The highest-rated recruiting class in PSU history will come on board in 2015-16, however, joining eight returning letterwinners led by Brandon Taylor, Jordan Dickerson, Geno Thorpe and Shep Garner. Garner and Thorpe were the second and third leading scorers down the stretch this season, while Taylor, Dickerson and Donovon Jack all moved into the Top 10 in career blocks while upping the team’s defensive presence.

via Chambers Inks Contract Extension – Penn State Official Athletic Site.

Hitting the trail

Action in Reading last night:

Penn State targets Tony Carr (’16) and Nazeer Bostick (’16) play for Roman.