In the weeks leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing its preview series breaking down each Big Ten team. These will come in a set of series previewing the overall team, the team’s backcourt, wings, and big men, and the team’s schedule. Each post will take a look at its top in-depth and give predictions on the upcoming season.
Today’s edition of the ‘BTPowerhouse Preview Series’ will focus on the wings for Penn State. Penn State returns nearly every player from last year’s team.
'BTPowerhouse Preview' - Penn State Wings:
- 2015-’16 All-Big Ten Qualifiers: None
- Key Departures: Payton Banks
- Additions: None
- Top Player: Lamar Stevens
Carrying over last season’s play to this season, there will be familiar faces in the starting lineup for head coach Pat Chambers. With last season’s team giving the freshmen plenty of run, the team has gained valuable experience and should be ready to make some noise in the Big Ten this season.
With the graduation of Payton Banks, it will be a combination of players on the wing. Banks averaged 10.4 points per game and started every game last season. Banks was also the Nittany Lions leading 3-point shooter, connecting on 36.1 percent of his shots from behind the arc last season. He will be tough to replace.
Banks’ replacements will be Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves. Stevens plays a combination of small ball forward and wing. He was excellent last season in that role, averaging 12.7 points per game on 34.4 percent shooting from behind the arc. Reaves was also impressive last season. For his sophomore campaign, he averaged 7.7 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting from the field. At 6-foot-4, Reaves is lanky enough to play the wing, but he also has the versatility to contribute in the backcourt.
Who will Chambers turn to for his wing contributor off the bench? I think that man will be Nazeer Bostick. Bostick didn’t contribute much last season, but he has the potential to provide a boost in meaningful minutes off the bench. Bostick’s versatility should earn him playing time.
Even if he’s not much of a factor on the offensive end, he has the ability to create steals and crash the boards, which is important among Chambers’ cast of supporting players. If Penn State plans to make some noise in the Big Ten, they’ll need Bostick to step into an important role by contributing toughness and liveliness off the bench.
The loss of Banks and Terrence Samuel leaves some question marks that will need to be answered before conference season begins. If Penn State is able to work out lineup wrinkles and figure out who is right for the starting rotation, and who is best suited to come off of the bench, then this team could be difficult in Big Ten play.