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Penn State Basketball Recruiting: Post-July Class of 2015 Big Board - 7.31.14

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So much hoops 'crootin news we had to save the 2016 update for another day.

"Hold me back Keith, or else I'll do ALL of the recruiting."
"Hold me back Keith, or else I'll do ALL of the recruiting."
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

It's nitty-gritty time for the high school senior class. Offers are going out, lists are getting trimmed, and Pat Chambers and his staff are making their final pushes before the early signing period in mid-November. The Nittany Lions have one scholarship to work with at the moment and have their sights set on some new names after the end of the July live period. First, a look at how the current crop of commits performed over the last month.

Also, if you missed any of our previous July grassroots coverage, check out our StoryStream.

2015 - 1 scholarships available

Commits
PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Michael Watkins
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Math, Civics & Sciences HS
AAU: Team Philly
Forward/Center
6'8"
225
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Committed
Deividas Zemgulis
Leonardtown, MD (via Lithuania)
HS: St. Mary's Ryken HS
AAU: n/a
Small Forward
6'6"
220
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Josh Reaves
Fairfax, VA
HS: Oak Hill Academy
AAU: Team Takeover
Shooting Guard
6'4"
185
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium

It was a quiet final weekend for both Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves, the latter of whom suffered an apparent injury (presumably playing for Team Takeover in Atlanta) which kept him out of the month's final action. Penn State's latest commit averaged 15 minutes in five games at the Nike Peach Jam, a shame considering how well Reaves played at the Ty Lawson/Victor Oladipo camp just a week earlier (highlights here).

Watkins was also in Atlanta from July 17th-20th, playing for Team Philly at the Under Armour Finals, and Chambers was there to take in another strong performance from his future power forward:

Meanwhile, Davis Zemgulis finished out his AAU career with a bang, reaching the semifinals at the Vegas Finals with DMV AAU outfit Threat 220:

Overall, a strong month for the ninth ranked class in the country. Now onto the juicy stuff.

Targets
PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Levan Alston
Haverford, PA
HS: The Haverford School
AAU: Team Final
Point Guard
6'4"
165

12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Visited 9/28/13
Traci Carter
Burlington, NJ
HS: Life Center Academy (NJ)
AAU: We-R-1
Point Guard
6'2"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Samir Doughty
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Math, Civics & Sciences HS
AAU: Team Philly
Combo Guard
6'3"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Bryant Crawford
Washington, DC
HS: Gonzaga
AAU: Team Takeover
Point Guard
6'2"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Visited 10/27/12
Khalil Iverson
Delaware, OH
HS: Delaware Hayes HS
AAU: Ohio Varsity
Guard/Forward
6'5"
200
NR
Markis McDuffie
Jersey City, NJ
HS: St. Anthony's (NJ)
AAU: SportsU
Forward
6'7"
185
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Kerry Blackshear
Orlando, FL
HS: Evans HS
AAU: Q6 All-Stars
Power Forward
6'8"
220
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Samir Sehic
Cypress, TX
HS: Cypress Woods HS
AAU: Houston Hoops
Center
6'9"
250
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Brandon Childress
Baldwin, MI
HS: Baldwin Senior HS
AAU: P45
Guard
6'3"
185
NR
Kipper Nichols
Lakewood, OH
HS: St. Edward HS
AAU: King James Shooting Stars
Small Forward
6'6"
200
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Justin Robinson
Manassas, VA
HS: St. James School
AAU: Boo Williams
Guard
6'1"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Matt Holba
Chesterton, IN
HS: Guerin Catholic
AAU: Speice Indy Heat
Guard/Forward
6'6"
185
NR

Gone: Tyler Lydon (Syracuse), Donte Divincenzo (Villanova), Jamil Hood (Long Island), Jackie Davis (Washington St), Justin Jenifer (Cincinnati), Kevin Dorsey (Minnesota), Sam Miller (Dayton)

Names to watch: G Milik Gantz, F Aaron Falzon, G R.J. Jones, F Tyler Kohl, G Glynn Watson, G Jarvis Johnson, C Jimbo Lull, F Tony Anderson, G Dupree McBrayer, F Evan Boudreaux, G Edward Polite, F Esa Ahmad, F Develle Phillips, G Donovan Mitchell

A few new offers went out in July, most notably to Samir Sehic and Kerry Blackshear. Sehic was arguably the top performer at the Lawson/Oladipo camp, where Dwayne Anderson and, later on, Pat Chambers set up shop during the first live period of the month. The 6'9" center averaged 22 points and nine rebounds over a five game stretch and earned an offer soon after camp. The staff will need to get him on campus ASAP, however - according to Scout.com, he's leaning towards the ACC, likely Virginia. Blackshear appears to be more open in his recruitment, with offers from schools all over the country. Penn State won't be wholly unfamiliar with his AAU connects, either - former Q6 All-Star and current Stanford forward Schuyler Rimmer was a top target for Chambers once upon a time. Although, with Watkins in tow, Chambers' priorities for the final scholarship may lie elsewhere.

If there is one hole in Penn State's 2015 class, it's at the point guard position. So it should come as no surprise that most of the Nittany Lions' top targets in this class are lead guards. Traci Carter's recruitment has slowed down considerably due to the fact that he sat out both the April and July live periods with a torn meniscus, so it's a little foggy as to where Penn State, or any program for that matter, sits with him.

The staff did receive some illuminating news from one of their top targets last night, however. Levan Alston, the Philly combo guard whose first offer came from Chambers and company, narrowed his list to six and the Nittany Lions made the cut (along with VCU, Temple, Marquette, Notre Dame and Penn). From the always-excellent City of Basketball Love:

"I think [2015 commits] Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves, they're just two great [players], we have the potential to be a top-ranked class in the country if I decide to go there. [Incoming freshman] Shep Garner is one of my closer older friends that I have, and his dad coached me during the AAU season, we talked a lot about it. They're one of my first offers."

A promising quote, no doubt, but don't peg Alston for that last scholarship just yet. His father played at Temple and his best friend, Trey Lowe, is also considering the Owls along with VCU. Alston will visit Happy Valley and the other five schools sometime between now and mid-late September, according to CoBL. Here are some highlights of the top-100 guard:

Samir Doughty hasn't reported any new offers since the end of the live period, which is a little surprising considering the glowing reviews he received at various events:

Penn State remains the only high-major to have offered Mike Watkins' AAU and HS teammate, and frankly, the Nittany Lions could do a lot worse in filling that final scholarship. Like Alston, Doughty is more of a combo guard than a true point guard, but both are special scorers. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Doughty's recruitment; it's bound to get a little more competitive.

A few quick hits:

  • Indiana forward Matt Holba was reportedly offered a few weeks ago, but visiting Penn State doesn't appear to be in his plans. The 6'6" wing has already been to Bucknell, and the Indianapolis Star reports he's setting up trips to Lehigh and William & Mary.
  • Penn State was the first B1G program to offer Khalil Iverson back in June (you sensing a trend here?) - now Bo Ryan, Tom Crean, and Thad Matta are showing interest in the Columbus wing. Iverson camped at Wisconsin a few weeks ago and a Badgers offer could be forthcoming.
  • Michigan shooting guard Brandon Childress is giving up football to focus on the shootyhoops (sorry CJF), and plans on narrowing his list to five schools by August. Childress has offers from Penn State, Boston College, West Virginia and a cornucopia of mid-major/Ivy schools.
  • Penn State dipped into the JuCo ranks to sign Devin Foster this summer, and they may be in the market for another would-be junior in Andre Spight out of South Plains College (TX). Chambers was scouting Spight at the JucoRecruiting.com All-American Showcase in Vegas last week.