Penn State Basketball Recruiting Update - 3.18.14: Future Lions Finish Scholastic Careers

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at the incoming freshmen's final seasons in high school, plus a quick update on the class of 2015.

The season isn't quite over yet, but with the CBI ready to tip-off on Wednesday night there's time for a quick recruiting update. Both of Pat Chambers' 2014 signees have finished their senior seasons and there's been a few changes on the 2015 target board, so let's dive right in.

2014 - 1 scholarship available

Commits
PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Isaiah Washington
Williamsport, PA
HS: Williamsport Area HS
AAU: We-R-1
Combo Guard
6'4"
180
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Shep Garner
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Roman Catholic HS
AAU: Team Final
Point Guard
6'2"
180
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium

For a second it appeared as though Chambers was still very much looking for a freshman to fill the final scholarship in 2014 when California point guard Jackie Davis was offered during his March 2nd visit. Davis's only other offer at the time was from San Francisco, so it raised a few eyebrows (no offense, Matt Glover). However, after 24/7's Andrew Dzurita reported that the offer was contingent on Davis reclassifying to 2015, those concerns were alleviated. So don't put a ton of stock in his Crystal Ball predictions. While there are a few current seniors to keep an eye on (Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rakhman seems to be the most likely candidate), don't expect Penn State to take another four-year player with the remaining scholarship.

As for the signees, both ended their illustrious high school careers on some sour notes. Washington's Williamsport Millionaires went .500 and missed the state playoffs, despite some herculean efforts from the 6'4" combo-guard. Washington committed to Chambers and PSU during the summer before his junior season so his arrival has been anticipated for a while, but with Penn State's depth at shooting guard he won't be asked to do a ton in his first year. Though his reputation as a defender could see him earn the kind of minutes Geno Thorpe played in his freshman campaign.

Garner's Roman Catholic squad was ranked at or near the top of PIAA high school polls for a majority of the season but failed to bring home any silverware. The Cahillites lost to defending state champion Lower Merion in the AAAA playoffs after just missing out on the Philly Catholic League title, falling to JaQuan Newton's Neumann-Goretti in the final. Garner's stats aren't as gaudy as Washington's due to the amount of talent around him at Roman, but he's got the composure and shooting ability to see plenty of minutes as the backup point guard next season. He's the crown jewel of this class and perhaps of Chambers' tenure at Penn State, and the kid who turned down the chance to play for Billy Donovan and Josh Pastner should have a bright future in Happy Valley.

2015 - 3 scholarships available

Commits
PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Michael Watkins
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Math, Civics & Sciences HS
AAU: Team Philly
Forward/Center
6'8"
210
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Committed
Targets
PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Traci Carter
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Life Center Academy (NJ)
AAU: We-R-1
Point Guard
6'0"
160
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Levan Alston
Haverford, PA
HS: The Haverford School
AAU: Team Final
Point Guard
6'4"
165

12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Visited 9/28/13
Josh Reaves
Fairfax, VA
HS: Paul VI Catholic HS
AAU: Fairfax Stars
Shooting Guard
6'4"
185
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Sean Lloyd
Haverford, PA
HS: Imhotep Charter
AAU: Team Philly
Guard/Forward
6'5"
200
NR
Justin Jenifer
Gwynn Oak, MD
HS: Milford Mill Academy
AAU: Team Takeover
Point Guard
5'9"
160
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
Sam Miller
Washington, DC
HS: Gonzaga College HS
AAU: DC Assault
Forward
6'7"
215
NR
Offered
Visited 10/27/12
Skills Camp Attendee
Jackie Davis
San Pedro, CA
HS: Rolling Hills Prep
AAU: Gamepoint
Point Guard
6'4"
195
NR
Offered
Visited 3/2/14

Gone: Tyler Lydon (Syracuse), Donte Divincenzo (Villanova), Jamil Hood (Long Island)

Names to watch: G Milik Gantz, F Aaron Falzon, G Malik Ellison, G R.J. Jones, G/F Derrick Jones, G Bryant Crawford, F Tyler Kohl, G Glynn Watson

Well, this board looks a lot less promising than it was before this season started, but that's what a 15-17 year regular will do. Don't get it twisted - Penn State is still in good shape with a number of these targets, and more importantly, Mike Watkins appears to be solid in his commitment (knocks on all the wood). The junior is still in the hunt for a single-A class title, with his Math, Civics & Sciences team in the state semifinals, and his stock has only risen since September. Now, class A ball in Pennsylvania isn't exactly a proving ground for big men, but watch this and try not to get excited:

We know Chambers loves his guards, and by the looks of it he'll try to bring in a couple with these three scholarships. Top-50 guys like Derrick Jones and Bryant Crawford are probably out of the picture after this season, and Californian combo guard Justin Simon has seen his stock rise out of Penn State's range, so naturally when he cut his list down a few weeks ago the Nittany Lions were nowhere to be found. But, with some unrealistic targets off the board, Chambers can focus his efforts and possibly snag a Traci Carter or Levan Alston-type from this deep Philadelphia class. Of course, new names will pop up as the summer kicks off and once the CBI is finished, team #doworkPat can head back out on the road.

Before we go, a quick plug for our scholarship matrix page. It's not a Penn State hoops offseason without plenty of player movement and eligibility questions, so it might not be a bad idea to bookmark it for the coming months (no, D.J. Newbill is not transferring so stop with that).

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