Deividas Zemgulis isn't your average basketball recruit entering his freshman campaign. The 6'6" sharpshooter from Leonardtown, Maryland enters year one at Penn State as a relatively unknown prospect to many basketball fans. Hailing from Lithuania, Zemgulis brings some major playing experience to Penn State. Zemgulis participated in the U16 European Championships last summer, where he averaged 5.0 points per game and logged 22 minutes per game. While there is no doubt playing in those U16 games helped his development, adjusting to the collegiate game will be a different test. How will Zemgulis fare against division one athletes and potential NBA players?
First and foremost, Zemgulis can flat out shoot the ball. The Saint Mary's Ryken product possesses extremely sound shooting mechanics and fundamentals that allow him to shoot from a multitude of positions. Zemgulis could be best served as a spot up shooter who camps out along the three point line and uses great catch and shoot movement to get the shots off.
Zemgulis' experience is a factor that is worth noting as a strength to his game. He never suited up on the AAU circuit, but going against U16 competitors allowed him to face the toughest competition in his age group in an intense, high-level setting.
Areas for Improvement
There isn't much on Zemgulis' dribble drive penetration, as there aren't many highlights in general. After receiving only one scholarship offer, it appears safe to say that Penn State was the only school to view him as primarily a shooter. Zemgulis will need to develop a more diversified offensive game in order to become more well-rounded offensive threat. Defenses could key in on him on the three point line and force him into turnovers by making him put the ball on the deck.
Like most other freshman recruits, Zemgulis will need to strengthen up his overall core, upper and lower body in order to compete in Big Ten play. He could struggle against quicker, stronger defenses since he's prone to shooting and not putting the ball on the floor. Allowing himself to open up the offensive playbook could pay dividends for Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lion program.
Out of the three man 2015 recruiting class for Penn State, Zemgulis is the unknown commodity, and quite possible the one with the longest leash. Fellow freshmen Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves will be looked upon for immediate contributions, and with the program in a bit of disarray, the two youngsters will need to provide as much as they can to help right the ship.
Zemgulis probably won't be called upon to start and will likely redshirt this season. Having the chance to sit out the 2015 season wouldn't be too bad of an idea for the Lithuania product. With the learning curve of American basketball, and the nuances of learning how to play with new teammates, Zemgulis shouldn't be counted on for instant impact. With his shooting acumen and energetic style of play, there could be room for Zemgulis in the rotation down the road.