Post-season: The 2018-19 Roster

 

Senior Shep Garner, Penn State’s all-time three-point leader, and sophomore Tony Carr, Penn State’s leading offensive player, are leaving Penn State — hopefully for successful professional careers.

For a program that hopes it has achieved a higher, sustainable level of play, these are significant departures.

Using Bart Torvik’s tempo-free numbers at T-rank, Shep and Tony accounted for 39% of Penn State’s offense in 2018-19:

Min% * ORTG * USAGE  % of PSU Offense
Tony Carr 27.5 25.91%
Shep Garner 14.1 13.27%
Lamar Stevens 21.2 19.99%
Mike Watkins 11.6 10.90%
Josh Reaves 17.6 16.56%
Jamari Wheeler 4.3 4.05%
Nazeer Bostick 6.3 5.94%
John Harrar 1.9 1.83%
Satchel Pierce 1.6 1.55%
106.2 100.00%

Losing two high-minutes, high-usage, highly effective guards would seem to put a lot of pressure on 2017-18 reserves Naz Bostick and Jamari Wheeler, and on two incoming freshmen, Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton.

All four were expected to contribute next season, but they would have undoubtedly been able to slip into their roles more comfortably with junior  Tony Carr running the show from the point.

With the roster as it stands today, Torvik Projects:

Min% * ORTG * USAGE
% of PSU Offense
Lamar Stevens 23.2 21.98%
Mike Watkins 20.2 19.17%
Josh Reaves 15.5 14.69%
Nazeer Bostick 11.8 11.13%
Jamari Wheeler 8.8 8.31%
Myles Dread 7.9 7.50%
Rasir Bolton 6.0 5.68%
John Harrar 5.5 5.23%
Satchel Pierce 4.1 3.85%
Daniil Kasatkin 2.6 2.46%
105.6 100.00%

That 2019 projection has Penn State at No. 37 nationally, a drop from its 2017-18 No. 18 finish.

The good?:

Penn State started the 2017-18 season projected at No. 49, so it climbed throughout the season to a higher position from an even lower spot.

The bad?:

Most “eyeballs” analysis of college basketball calls guard play especially important, and experienced Shep Garner and Tony Carr in the backcourt would seem to be a much better starting spot than starting with reserves Jamari Wheeler, Naz Bostick and two true freshmen.

With Penn State reportedly active in the grad transfer market, the conventional wisdom would suggest that it should be prioritizing a guard.

As he seems to be to the fan bases of virtually every other college program with a hint of interest, Joe Cremo is a great fit for Penn State’s situation: A shooting guard with a ton of experience, a high three-point-shooting percentage and a high assist ratio.

Indeed, adding Cremo to the Penn State lineup pushes Penn State up to pre-season No. 24 – a 13-slot improvement. It breaks down this way:

Min% * ORTG * USAGE
% of PSU Offense
Lamar Stevens 22.3 20.52%
Mike Watkins 19.6 18.03%
Josh Reaves 15.2 13.96%
→ Joe Cremo  14.6 13.40% 
Jamari Wheeler 9.2 8.44%
Nazeer Bostick 8.7 8.00%
Myles Dread 6.5 6.01%
Rasir Bolton 5.8 5.34%
John Harrar 4.1 3.75%
Satchel Pierce 2.8 2.55%
108.9 100.00%

 

2018-19 Projected ADJ. OE ADJ. DE PYTH RK
Current Roster 111.5 95.3 0.8331 37
+ Cremo 114.7 95.5 0.8666 24

So, yes, adding Cremo would be huge for Penn State.

Penn State is also said to be involved with Illinoi grad transfer Michael Finke, a 6-10 stretch-forward type (who Penn State fans should be very familiar with).

And, as Clark Kellogg pointed out during this year’s NCAA tournament, “There’s a lot of different ways to get to a good result.”

Plugging Finke into next year’s lineup has a similar positive effect on Penn State’s projections for next year:

Min% * ORTG * USAGE
% of PSU Offense
Lamar Stevens 22.3 20.39%
Mike Watkins 19.5 17.77%
Josh Reaves 16.0 14.61%
Michael Finke 13.8 12.60%  
Jamari Wheeler 9.2 8.38%
Nazeer Bostick 9.2 8.39%
Myles Dread 6.9 6.30%
Rasir Bolton 5.8 5.31%
John Harrar 4.1 3.73%
Satchel Pierce 2.8 2.53%
109.6 100.00%
2018-19 ADJ. OE ADJ. DE PYTH RK
Current Roster 111.5 95.3 0.8331 37
+ Finke 114.1 94.5 0.8732 22

Obviously, a ton of assumptions are baked into all these scenarios. But as we move into the late-signing period (and crazy time for college rosters), it is important to recognize that a lot of things can happen, and that there are a lot of ways to win (and lose) college basketball games.*


* Another example: Pitt grad transfer Ryan Luther would project Penn State to 21. Penn State has not been reported to be involved with Luther.

Shep Garner is Penn State’s all-time leading 3-point scorer

There is a lot to like about the way it went down:

And a lot to like about the guy whose record he broke:

The Great Shep Garner, discussed here.


March 29, 2018 addition: Eric Gibson of Roar Lions Roar has a great accounting here of what Shep has done in March, and in his career.

Tolu Jacobs Yaffa re-opens recruitment

Tolu Jacobs Yaffa, who committed to Penn State in early November but did not sign an LOI during the early signing period, has re-opened his recruitment.

Even with Jacobs Yaffa out, The Nittany Lions appear to have no scholarships available for next season. Transfers, graduations, other issues can and usually do change that number in the spring for all schools.

Welcome, Patrick Kelly

Penn State’s staff continues to hit the DMV hard.  Chambers and company landed a commitment today from 6-7 Patrick Kelly from Virginia Episcopal and AAU Team Loaded.

From PrepHoops.com:

Pat Chambers and his staff at Penn State got great news on the first day of February when they landed the commitment from 2019 versatile forward, Patrick Kelly. Kelly is the first commitment to the 2019 class for the Nittany Lions. Kelly is a guy that can shoot very well, rebound and does all the little things well to help his team win. Kelly chose Penn State over of Grand Canyon, UNLV, Providence and Richmond. He spoke to us on his trust he has with Coach Chambers and his staff.

“Coach Chambers and his staff believe in me and I think I would be a great fit in their program.”

When asked how he will be used at Penn State, he said, “I will be a 3/4 and will make plays around my strengths.”

He said that Penn State fans should, “expect a competitor that will do whatever it takes to win.”

Welcome, Daniil Kasatkin

Surprise! 6-7 PG from Russia, prepping in Virginia.

Welcome, Rasir Bolton

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Welcome, John Harrar!

Wild turn of events for this one.

John Harrar had committed to Army to play football, but Penn State offered the 6-9, 230-pound power forward a basketball scholarship two weeks ago, and UCONN followed with an offer in the last few days.

But …