Penn State basketball fans can't agree on a whole lot, but one thing they do agree on is that losing a boat-load of seniors isn't going to make for a hopeful 2011-12 season. To try and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel we're going to take a look at the class of a freshman headed in to replace Battle and Co. While DeChellis can't bring home the 5 Stars (expecting him to do so is somewhat unfair), he's done a good job addressing the holes in the roster this team is going to have. When it's all said and done, this team might be the tallest he's had with 2 players coming in at 6'11. At the risk of making a joke, size isn't everything but being undersized has been a problem with some Penn State teams. Assuming these guys don't come down with Cinderblock-For-Hands-Syndrome that shouldn't be a problem any more.
Patrick Ackerman: Ackerman has the most impressive offer list which doesn't even include schools like Michigan that put up a fight early in the recruiting process. Like most of the big men Penn State picks up Ackerman isn't developed into his role yet, but he has plenty of upside to work with. His impact on the team is dependent on his development by the coaching staff. By all accounts he has the tools, Ed, more importantly Coach Preston just has to get them out of the box. Ackerman has averaged double figures scoring against very top-notch high school programs this season.
- 6'11, 215 C (ranked 38th at his position)
- 2 Star
- ESPN 88
- Turned Down: St. Bonaventure, Siena, Bucknell, Minnesota, Ole Miss
Peter Alexis: Alexis gets positive reviews from analysts to the tune of "Legitimate Big Ten recruit" but Scout doesn't list him as getting any offers. I doubt with his size and upside that he literally hasn't gotten a single offer, but either way Alexis is either going to be a token DeChellis big man, or a real banger. He's had an ok senior year, but it has been very up and down. Last weekend he scored 38 points and picked up 18 boards, but that is attributed more to his opponent than a Dr J skill set. There isn't really any tape on Alexis so we'll take ESPN word for now. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him put Billy Oliver back on the bench but too much is up in the air with Alexis right now to really know.
- 6'11, 265 C (ranked 48th at his position)
- 2 Star
- ESPN 87
- Turned Down: WVU, Texas A&M gave him a looks but no offer.
Trey Lewis: Lewis is the one member of the 2011 class that I'm excited to see play. He doesn't get a lot of love from recruiting services but that really isn't that important. Lewis has been a crucial member of a Garfield Heights squad that has yet to lose this year and is 3 games from a perfect regular season. In the #1/#2 matchup last week Lewis lead all scorers with 27 points. You can check out a great video and article of that game here. He plays a lot like Talor, I'm not predicting that he'll be Battle 2.0, but he should see playing time early on.
- 5'10, 170 SG
- 2 Star
- ESPN 85
- Turned Down: St. Bonaventure, Dayton, Akron, Bucknell, Cleveland State and Duquesne.
Ross Travis: Watching Travis'film he reminds me a lot of a young Jeff Brooks. He's a long player witha nice amount of explosiveness. At some point a highlight reel that's full of dunks doesn't give you a whole lot to work with, but Travis has had a pretty solid senior year, scoring 23 points last week in an upset win against AAAA #1 (In Minnesota) Eden Prairie. He averages about 16 points and 9 boards a game.
- 6'8, 205 SF
- 3 Stars
- ESPN 89
- Turned Down: Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Rice to name a few.