Chambers surely was disappointed in Sheldon Jeter's decision, but this isn't a roadblock to future success. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
In one of the strangest basketball recruitments in a while, Sheldon Jeter finally made his pledge to Vanderbilt University last night. It was a disappointing end to what looked like a promising story after Jeter made many trips to State College in the past 5 months. We wish Sheldon well and expect he'll do great things at the underrated program, but it's time for PSU fans to move on from what turned into an overblown ordeal.
Sheldon Jeter was never a program-changer. The aura around him took a life of its own thanks to social media, his high school success (leading to the much-publicized state final against Brandon Austin), his patience with the process, and his silence to the media during it all. He was simply the only known target Chambers was pursuing in 2012 since January, and his gaudy high school numbers and incoming offers helped boost the hype.
He is a good prospect that has a high ceiling, but let's not kid ourselves. He wasn't going to have an instant impact as a starter next season at PSU. I definitely wanted him for the long-term and thought he could be a key contributor to the PSU turnaround, but he wasn't the can't-miss Top 100 guy this program has constantly whiffed on. Chambers has already lured in one of those.
His decision to attend Vanderbilt, a superb academic institution, doesn't slow down the progress Chambers has made turning this program around. PSU has recruiting momentum never seen before, and the 2013 class is still on track to be this program's most decorated group. Besides, Chambers added some depth to the frontcourt this week already with a guy who, if you put stock in these kinds of things, has a higher grade in ESPN's rankings anyway.
Looking ahead, this all but concludes PSU's 2012 recruiting. The staff has exhausted all of their 130 recruiting days, meaning any evaluation of prospects would have to happen on PSU's campus. There's only two weeks left in the signing period (ends May 16th), so any potential late signing conceivably would be someone the staff has had on their radar for a while. Savon Goodman is out there and PSU is definitely interested, but the only way they'll be a player for his services is if he preps this upcoming year. However, never say never because who knows when the next post-grad transfer will become available or the next coach will get fired.
There will be much more in-depth analysis of the roster and future recruiting targets as we head into the summer, but if the 2012 roster is indeed set, Penn State will have ten scholarship players in addition to Nick Colella, who will likely be awarded with a scholarship for his senior season. The backcourt will feature Tim Frazier, D.J. Newbill, Jermaine Marshall, Akosa Maduegbunam, and Colella, while the frontcourt consists of Jonathan Graham, Sasa Borovnjak, Brandon Taylor, Donovon Jack, and Pat Ackerman. Ross Travis will be Mr. Versatility as he played the 4 this year, but Chambers hopes to develop him as a guard. Unfortunately they'll be an injury or two away from serious trouble, but there's enough depth and talent on that roster to keep progress moving forward. This team will be better next season.
So forget about Jeter and realize Pat Chambers is still our head coach. The future is still as bright as ever.