#87 Penn State Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Penn State Nittany Lions
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #87
Conference Rank: #11 Big Ten
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The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament hurt Penn State especially as they had one of their best seasons in years and were on the verge of going dancing for the first time since 2011 and just the third time since 2000. Now, the Nittany Lions must attempt to repeat that success with their star player Lamar Stevens now graduated. Penn State will still return a good amount of production from last season though with just three rotation players gone. However, Stevens and Mike Watkins were crucial senior leaders that will be highly difficult to replace.
2019-20 Record: 21-10, 11-9
Coach: Patrick Chambers
Coach Record: 148-150 at Penn State, 190-178 overall
Key Departed Players:
Lamar Stevens, Forward, 17.6 ppg
Mike Watkins, Center, 9.7 ppg
Curtis Jones, Guard, 6.2 ppg

Key Returning Players:
Myreon Jones, Junior, Guard, 13.3 ppg
Myles Dread, Junior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Izaiah Brockington, Junior, Guard, 8.1 ppg
Seth Lundy, Sophomore, Forward, 5.3 ppg
John Harrar, Senior, Forward, 4.3 ppg
Jamari Wheeler, Senior, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Trent Buttrick, Senior, Forward, 1.3 ppg
Key New Players:
Caleb Dorsey, Freshman, Guard

DJ Gordon, Freshman, Guard
Dallion Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Patrick Kelly, RS Freshman, Forward
Abdou Tsimbila, Freshman, Forward
Despite losing Stevens and Watkins, Penn State will get their starting backcourt back from last season. Myreon Jones started 24 of his 25 games as a sophomore, averaging 13.3 points, 3.0 assists,1.3 steals and shooting 40.3% from three. Jones missed time in February with an injury, and Penn State began struggling a bit around that same time. Back healthy, Jones should be the favorite to take over as the top scorer on the team. Myles Dread started 23 of 31 games as a sophomore, averaging 8.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists. With 6.6 attempted three’s per game, Dread’s specialty is deep range shooting so he’ll need to shoot better than 31.9% from three as a junior. The last returning full-time starter is pesky point guard Jamari Wheeler. Wheeler started every game despite averaging just 3.8 points because he was an all-conference defender. Seth Lundy became a starter later in the season, starting 15 of his 31 games as a freshman. Lundy and his 39.1% clip from three-point range gave the Lions better spacing and more shooting on offense. Izaiah Brockington had a strong debut season as a transfer for Penn State, averaging 8.1 points in just 20.8 minutes per game. Brockington has a strong chance to become a full-time starter as a junior. John Harrar started 14 games last season and averaged 4.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. The only newcomers for the Nittany Lions are five freshmen. All five are ranked as three-star prospects, and with the amount of returning production it is unlikely any will have a major role for 2020-21. Penn State won 21 games last year as part of a historically good Big Ten. The conference will be just as competitive this season, and Penn State could struggle to keep up with the departure of Lamar Stevens and no major additions to replace him.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.1 (70th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.2 (144, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (210, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (71, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (92, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.5 (217, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (233, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (149, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (81, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (32, 4)