Things seem to be turning around for Penn State basketball. Or at least they might be. You never really know with the Nittany Lions, but an impressive crop of recruits arriving this season and next have sparked a new level of optimism in the program and it's fan base. As far as the 2016 class is concerned, most of the early hype and excitement has been centered around the duo of point guard Tony Carr and power forward Lamar Stevens. This isn't surprising, considering Carr is one of the best guards in the class and Stevens is a top 100 recruit. But as fans gush over the two former teammates, they tend to overlook their other former teammate who is also part of the Lions' 2016 class, 6'5" shooting guard Nazeer Bostick.
Bostick isn't as highly ranked as Stevens or Carr, but he does have plenty in common with them, including the fact that he's also from Philadelphia. Head coach Patrick Chambers has had success recently in snagging good Philly players including D.J. Newbill and Shep Garner, and Bostick's commitment will only further enhance the team's recruiting chances. But we're done talking about Penn State's future and Chambers' prowess as a recruiter. We're here to take a look at Bostick, an overlooked player who could pay dividends down the road. So now that we're here, what exactly can the Philly guard bring to Penn State.
When you watch clips of Bostick, it's hard not to be reminded of both Geno Thorpe, the guard Penn State just lost, and also Josh Reaves, the one they just picked up. That's because Bostick is another athletic competitior with an edge to him. He's a guy who doesn't mind getting knocked to floor if it means getting his team a basket, and someone who relishes matching up against other team's top scorers. The thing that really sticks out about him is his intensity. Watch here as he soars over a bigger defender to throw down a dunk:
You saw plenty of swagger in that clip, but it's the healthy kind. The kind that means a kid is confident and willing to go up against the biggest guys on the court. On a more tangible level, you other thing you saw in that clip are his terrific hops. Those will probably help too, along with his ball-handling skills, which aren't first rate but effective enough to help him get to the basket.
Clearly the Nittany Lions have another jack-of-all-trades wing on their hands. But is that what they really need? Recent history shows Penn State needs more shooting, which hasn't been Bostick's strong suit so far. Still, here's a clip of him from back in May that shows his progress in that area. If that continues to improve, Bostick could easily carve out a niche for himself when he arrives on campus. That's still a year away, but things look bright for him right now.
Areas for Improvement
We just touched on it above. Bostick still hasn't shown he can make jump shots consistently, which isn't a career death sentence, but certainly won't do him any favors right off the bat. Bostick certainly doesn't need to be hitting 45 percent from three to be a productive player, but as mentioned above, shooting is something Penn State can never have enough of. So if he can make strides in that area, both he and the Nittany Lions will be in good shape.
Right now, it's basically impossible to project how much Bostick will play initially at Penn State. This upcoming season will determine much of the Lions future guard rotation, as players like Garner, Reaves and Payton Banks will all try to prove they can be key guys. Still, it's logical to think Bostick will be a backup to Reaves for at least his first season, unless he proves he can play alongside him. There's obviously so much to be determined, but Bostick has the tools to be another key recruit for Chambers and company.