In case you missed it, which you might have as the news made the rounds this weekend as football approached, but forward Lamar Stevens committed to Penn State. The in-state product is a consensus four star recruit that is also currently a top 100 prospect for 2016 according to all major recruiting services. Not only that, but he decided to head to Penn State over the likes of Pittsburgh, Villanova and Temple, as well as a slew of other recognizable programs such as Maryland, Indiana and Marquette. All in all the addition of Stevens wasn't a bad pick up for Pat Chambers as he quietly builds a strong 2016 recruiting class.
The addition of Stevens makes sense when you look at some of the earlier additions to the Nittany Lions recruiting class. One of Penn State's other 2016 commits, Tony Carr, was an AAU teammate of Stevens and the duo talked about wanting to play college basketball together. Also likely influencing Stevens decision was his teammate Nazeer Bostick, who had committed earlier on to Penn State as well. The news of Stevens' commitment sat well the duo, as Carr mentioned that "I knew a little bit before, but now that it is finally finalized, it’s just great knowing that I will spend four more years with my brothers, not only him, but Nazeer Bostick too."
As for Bostick, he more or less spilled the beans that this was more or less a predetermined idea for the trio. "It feels great having both of my close friends with me...This was kind-of planned and now seeing it come together, it’s the best feeling...I still had faith that my guys would follow me up to Penn State."
What makes the addition of Stevens even more notable is that Penn State actually now has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for 2016. While it's still early, and there's a lot of main players still deciding on their future colleges, Penn State's 2016 recruiting class jumped up to eighth with the addition of Stevens, sitting behind Duke and Syracuse. The Nittany Lions are also second in the Big Ten, trailing only Michigan State (who is currently ranked 1st by 247Sports).
Stevens rounds out a well balanced recruiting class with a ton of potential, highlighted by point guard Tony Carr, a four-star recruit considered to be one of the top point guards in 2016. Besides Stevens and Carr, forwards Joe Hampton and Nazeer Bostick are also set as verbal commits right now, both of which are three-star prospects that should add some depth to Penn States recruiting class. It's pretty clear Carr and Stevens are the stars of the class so far, but the addition of Hampton for the frontcourt and adding Bostick are both decent enough acquisitions that could pan out for Chambers.
The biggest thing for Penn State now is how they'll fare in 2015 and heading forward. Chambers has silently built a strong recruiting class for next season and Penn State has historically given time to their coaches, even when they struggle to win games, but if Chambers has another disappointing season his time might be running thin. The coach had a bona fide star in D.J. Newbill, who essentially followed up another star guard in Tim Frazier, and yet Penn State simply couldn't win much of anything. Penn State has a decent recruiting class for 2015, ranked in the top 50, but it's only eighth in the Big Ten. Even more problematic is the need to replace Newbill, as well as guard Geno Thrope and forwards Ross Travis and John Johnson. If Chambers can't gain any momentum this season he could start to fall onto the hot seat and losing games is never good when you're trying to recruit top level talent.
But for right now, Penn State's 2016 recruiting class is looking surprisingly strong. If it's a sign of things to come, Penn State could become a contender in the near future. That being said, Chambers will need to start capitalizing on his ability to recruit and start winning some games.