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Penn State's D.J. Newbill Is Lighting It Up (Again)

D.J. Newbill was expected to be a force in the Big Ten, despite being left off of nearly every preseason award and top-100 lists. And Newbill is proving why he is one of the best in the conference, if not the country.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Newbill is one of the best scorers in the country. He currently sits at 5th in the country, and 1st among all power 5 conference players, at 21.7 PPG, up 4 points from last season's average. Newbill has been putting up numbers that no Nittany Lion has put up since Joe Crispin in 2001 and Talor Battle in 2011. When it's all said and done, Newbill may be known as the best ever basketball player at Penn State.

High Volume Scorer

D.J. attempts 15.7 field goals a game, which is 5 more than Brandon Taylor, who is 2nd on the team in shots. Newbill is also very efficient in in those attempts. His Offensive Rating is 14th among all high usage players, according to KenPom.  His 47% field goal percentage and 35% 3 point percentage are both the highest in his career. And this season Newbill has perfected his pull up jump shot from the elbow. That shot has become one of the most difficult to defend in the Big Ten, and it opens up the lane for drives to the basket.

Newbill has had numerous games this year that he took over, and dominated the game. He has had 6 games so far this season in which he has scored at least 26 points, and 2 games that saw him score 35 points. His 35 points against Charlotte were the most for a Penn State player since Joe Crispin in 2001. Newbill topped that output on Saturday, as he scored 37 points in a loss to Purdue. The 37 points were the most by a Penn State player since 1965, and the most ever by a Penn State player in the Bryce Jordan Center. Even though Newbill began his career with the Nittany Lions as a sophomore, he is already 9th all time in scoring, and is projected to be in the top 4 by the end of the season. Newbill is clearly one of the best players to come out of Central Pennsylvania, and will have a shot to prove his skill in the NBA.

Lack of Support

In his three years at Penn State, Newbill had almost no supporting cast around him. His sophomore season, he had Jermaine Marshall and Sasa Borovnjak, his junior season he had just Tim Frazier, and this season he has a cold shooting Brandon Taylor and Freshman Shep Garner. With any kind of supporting cast, Newbill would have been able to make it to at least the NIT. Now, the NIT seems to be a long shot, and Newbill will most likely end his career with no significant post season play (the CBI doesn't count). And that will be his legacy. He will always be known as another outstanding player that was unable to carry the entire load for the team to get them to postseason play. But he will also be known as the player that kept the team afloat under Chambers, which allowed Chambers to recruit at such a high level, and he will be the guy that opened up the recruiting pipeline from Philly to State College.

Finishing Out The Season

Opposing teams are going to continue to pressure D.J., forcing his teammates to score. There is still an opportunity to make a run at the NIT, and that's what the goal should be for the remainder of the season. Newbill has been a model of consistency, scoring in double digits in every game this year. He will have to use his consistency and leadership to pick the team up out of their losing streak. There is still plenty of season left for Newbill to prove that he is one of the best in college basketball.