While there is a lot of buzz around Penn State about the incoming recruiting class, the Nittany Lions will also lose some important players to graduation. Pat Chambers faces the loss of four seniors including his leading scorer and rebounder Brandon Taylor. Today, we'll take a look at the careers of these four players and the holes Penn State will have to fill with their departure.
The most important player the Nittany Lions lose is without question Brandon Taylor. The leading scorer for Pat Chambers drastically improved in his senior season as he averaged 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. This comes after Taylor hadn't reached double digits in points per game in any of the first three seasons of his career.
The biggest difference was his all around offensive game. Taylor used his 6'6'' frame and created mismatches for defenses all year. He posted up smaller defenders when playing the 3 and stretched the floor and hit jump shots when he played the 4 and even the 5 at times. Taylor shot over 43% from the floor after shooting just 37% his junior season. The senior also had his best year shooting from deep as he shot 36% after shooting under 32% his first 3 seasons.
The other part of Taylor's game that will be missed is his toughness on the defensive end along with his leadership. Taylor readily took on bigger players defensively and was the clear vocal leader for Chambers on the floor. While Penn State has possibly there most talented recruiting class ever arriving on campus in 2016, it will still be tough to replace a senior like Taylor who contributed a ton on and off the court.
Another graduating senior is Donovon Jack. The Reading, PA native spent most of his career trying to guard bigger players down low as Penn State hasn't had a real center presence his whole career. Jack did come on late in the season this year as he scored in double figures in 4 of the final 7 games after doing that just twice in the first 25 games.
Jack played the most during his sophomore year when he averaged almost 20 minutes per game and 6.2 points. In his final year at Happy Valley, Jack averaged 5.2 points per game as well as shooting a career high 49.6% from the floor. In the end, Jack will be remembered for his grit down low and giving everything he had each time on the court for Penn State. It never mattered if the player he was going against was bigger and more talented, Jack didn't back down to any challenge even if he looked overmatched at times.
The Nittany Lions will also lose seniors Jordan Dickerson and Devin Foster. While Foster played just two years at Penn State after playing at Vincennes Junior College, Dickerson played his final three years at Penn State after transferring from SMU.
Mostly because of his 7'1'' size, Dickerson appeared in all 32 games and averaged over 18 minutes per game for Pat Chambers. The senior averaged 2.8 points and 3.5 rebounds as he really never amounted to anything but a big body down low for the Nittany Lions. The 6'2'' Foster played about the same amount of time, while averaging 4 points and 2.4 rebounds.
While Brandon Taylor is by far the biggest statistical hole the Nittany Lions will need to fill, the void the whole class leaves is toughness. While you can see other programs in the Big Ten without a clear identity (Rutgers, Minnesota), Chambers really built one at Penn State with this senior class. Despite being out of the postseason race, the Lions brought it every night, even taking down Indiana and Iowa later in the season. Despite their below average record on the court, these seniors set the tone for what could be a very bright future for basketball in Happy Valley.