With three minutes left in the 2nd half, the Nittany Lions clung to a four point lead against the 21st ranked Maryland Terrapins. In the midst of a 10-3 run in Maryland’s favor, Penn State was on their heels in front of an anxious Happy Valley crowd. Star freshmen Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, and Mike Watkins were shuffling from the bench toward the scorer’s table, readied reinforcements to stop the bleeding.
Ball in hand and halfway through the shot clock, Shep Garner hoisted a three that clanged off the rim. Despite four uncovered Terrapins in position for the board, it was a white jersey emerging from the crowd, flashing through the air to secure the rebound and explode for the putback.
As fans erupted, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan looked to quell the noise. Cowan seemed to have a step on his defender after faking a ball screen and attacked the bucket. As the ball went up, the trailing defender swarmed, sending the shot into the stands. The Bryce Jordan Center crowd exploded, propelling Penn State to complete the upset bid over the Terrapins.
The Nittany Lion responsible was guard Nazeer Bostick, and to his teammate Lamar Stevens, the level of play against Maryland was expected.
“He has the nickname ‘Horse,’ because he makes plays like that,” Stevens said. “He comes up big in huge moments, and he’s always done this since high school. It’s not surprising to see Naz just being that tough, physical guy, and he deserved to make that play.”
For Bostick, the level of play that he displayed against the Terrapins is just the beginning.
Despite being named All-State his senior season, as well as holding the 7th overall ranking in the state of Pennsylvania, Nazeer Bostick came into Happy Valley somewhat overshadowed. The guard was joined by highly touted four-star recruits in Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Joe Hampton, marking coach Patrick Chambers’ finest recruiting class to date.
Chambers was initially drawn to Bostick’s blue collar mentality. “He takes pride in doing the heavy lifting and the dirty work. He was the heart and soul of this Roman Catholic team, driven by being a fierce competitor with a tremendous amount of passion for the game.”
Bostick, a three-star recruit in his own right, got a bit lost in the minute shuffle as well. With players like Payton Banks, Terrence Samuel, and Josh Reaves playing the same position, Bostick got the short end of the logjam. During his freshman season, the 6’4” guard averaged only 6.7 minutes a game.
When Bostick did find minutes, though, he often played well. In addition to his eye popping plays in the Maryland game, the sophomore also recorded two steals and a block against Nebraska, despite limited play time. As his stellar play continued, so did his minutes, however the guard’s season was cut short after a hand fracture.
Now, with Banks and Samuel taking their talents to South Florida, Bostick has a clear path toward a significant role increase next season. The sophomore won’t need time to gel with Carr or Stevens either. All three were high school teammates at Roman Catholic in Philadelphia, where the trio won the state championship their senior year. With his defensive prowess, instincts, and athleticism, Bostick more than deserves it.