The surprising news came in today that Jermaine Marshall, the Big Ten's second-leading returning scorer behind teammate D.J. Newbill, would move on from the Nittany Lion program upon summer graduation. The 6'5" shooting guard would have been a redshirt senior in 2013-14, but instead he'll join Sasa Borovnjak as another major contributor from 2012-13 to have left the team with eligibility on the table.
As usual, StateCollege.com's Ben Jones has the scoop, with quotes from Pat Chambers and Jermaine Marshall:
"Jermaine and I have had several discussions recently regarding his plans for the future and he feels strongly that graduating and entering the professional world at the conclusion of the summer is in the best interest of his son and his family," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We thank Jermaine for his contributions to our program and wish him the best of luck."
Marshall's career in Blue and White came with high peaks and low valleys--his first major contribution came against Purdue in his redshirt freshman year, putting up 18 points out of nowhere on a team laden with seniors. He was suspended early in 2011-12, Chambers' first season, for a violation of team rules. He came back after missing just one game to average 10.2 ppg, good for second on the team behind Tim Frazier. This past season Marshall was more mercurial than ever, shooting ice cold one night then red hot the next. His performance in the upset over eventual national runners-up Michigan (25 pts, 6-10 from 3PT) will go down in PSU hoops folklore.
Jermaine is a good kid by all accounts, and this appears to be a conscious and well-warranted decision to start supporting his family. We wish the best of luck to he and his family wherever his basketball career takes him.
As for the team that is returning, Marshall's move does leave this team a bit less experienced and a bit less proven. However, this doesn't mean there aren't players that are capable of filling the role of third scorer. Behind Frazier and Newbill, there is some talent, albeit unproven, on the roster that perhaps wasn't there in the past. John Johnson, the transfer from Pitt, will be eligible upon the completion of the Fall 2012 semester. Geno Thorpe and Payton Banks are the incoming freshmen most similar to Marshall in terms of scoring ability from the wing, and don't rule out Graham Woodward, under 6 foot he may be, from getting some minutes if Chambers decides to play small ball.
In terms of recruiting, this leaves Penn State with two open scholarships for next season, which were formerly occupied by Marshall and Borovnjak. Chambers and staff are hitting the recruiting trail hard and exploring all options, one of which (though he won't be eligible for this upcoming season barring a waiver) is Jaylen Bond, a transfer from Texas.
While this certainly isn't an ideal outcome for a team most experts agree are on the cusp of a postseason berth, it's not the end of the world either. And with plenty of summer left to go, don't expect to see the roster in its current form be the roster you see come September.
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