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Jordan Dickerson Anchoring Penn State's Defense

The 7 footer has been dominant inside, doing his best Mutombo impression by swatting any shot sent his way.

Brett Carlsen-USA TODAY Sports

Not a whole lot was expected out of Jordan Dickerson when he was granted immediate eligibility half way through last season. He had only averaged 3.5 minutes a game on a mediocre SMU team as a freshman. But 7 footers don't grow on trees, and Jordan had that one thing that you can't teach - size.

Flashes of Brilliance

Dickerson wasn't supposed to play last year, he had to sit the year out per NCAA transfer rules. So it came as a surprise to Penn State fans when Dickerson was granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA in December of last year, making him eligible to suit up immediately in the blue and white. The first 8 games that Dickerson played were wholly unimpressive. He was averaging .4 points, 1 block and 1.5 rebounds per game in only 10 minutes a game. Then came Jordan's coming out party in an upset victory on the road against Ohio State. He logged 22 minutes in the game, and notched 3 rebounds and 4 points, but most importantly, he tallied 5 blocks and was a force to be reckoned with inside.

After that performance against the Buckeyes, Dickerson struggled to find the success that he found in that game. He notched three blocks in a loss to Iowa, and had a season high 6 points against Northwestern, but it was mostly mediocrity the rest of the season.  This season started out in much the same way that last season ended. In the first 5 games of the season he only recorded a total of 2 blocks and was averaging less than 3 points a game. The main problem in Dickerson's play seemed to be in his head. He didn't ever seem very confident in his skills, and you could tell that he was thinking too much and not letting the game come to him.

Start of Consistency

Penn State went into the half against Akron down 13. The sky seemed to be falling on the team in this game, nothing was going right. Then right out of the gate, Penn State punched the Zips right in the mouth, cutting the deficit to 4. The run was fueled by a layup from Dickerson and a block by the big man. Dickerson finished the game with a career high 6 rebounds to go along with 4 blocks. Dickerson helped carry the team to a come from behind victory against a solid Akron team. Two games later, Dickerson again posted a career high in rebounds, at 8. After a pair of decent games against Duquesne and Marshall, Dickerson again put it all together against George Washington. He had 6 blocks, 6 rebounds and 4 points, including this block. He was the star of that game, and he really set the tone defensively for the Nittany Lions. He followed that game up with 6 boards, 2 blocks and 4 points against Drexel, including this powerful dunk.

Can He Keep It Up?

Jordan Dickerson's line of 2.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.5 BPG are all career highs, and he is exhibiting a bit of confidence that we haven't seen before from him. He has established himself defensively, and that is what is needed from him. We don't need or expect scoring from him, any points are just gravy. He will get a tough test in the first Big Ten game against Frank Kaminsky and Wisconsin. We will see pretty soon how he stacks up against one of the nation's best centers.