So last week I spent about five solid evenings working on what I thought was a comprehensive Penn State summer recruiting preview, and three whole days after the first evaluation period it feels like that post was written two years ago. Article relevancy ruiner and PSU head coach Pat Chambers and his staff have offered a slew of new prospects in the 2016 class, so let's try to get caught up. (Please note that there's no chance in hell I'm gonna do this every three days).
2015 - 1 Scholarship Available
Not much going on here, since this evaluation weekend's AAU events were for 2016 recruits. No news on point guard Jahshire Hardnett, who may or may not have visited Penn State on March 27th, or big man Johncarlos Reyes, who planned to visit that same weekend but had to reschedule his trip.
However, a new name with PSU interest did pop up this morning, though he'll only have one season to play - Alabama transfer Ricky Tarrant, scorer of 13.1 ppg for the Crimson Tide in 2014-15, is considering the Nittany Lions, per ESPN's Jeff Goodman. Tarrant is from the South and already has plans to visit Memphis, so Chambers will have to work fast to facilitate a visit in order to land his services. Based on Tarrant's situation and the schools pursuing him, this doesn't seem like a natural fit and should probably be classified as a longshot.
2016 - 5 Scholarships Available
First, an update on the targets we already knew about:
Dylan Painter - Penn State offered the Hershey big just before his debut with Team Final at the Nike EYBL event in Virginia, and if their intention was to beat every other high-major program to the punch, they succeeded. Painter has reeled in nine scholarship offers since Saturday, including invitations from Xavier, Georgia Tech, and five more A-10 schools. He's now got 18 in total, and more could be on the way:
Painter has designs on a Happy Valley visit this weekend for the Blue-White game, and the sooner Penn State can secure his commitment the better. Chambers was in attendance for most if not all of Team Final's games last weekend, and as detailed in last week's primer, Painter attended multiple Penn State home games this past season and has loose family ties to the school. All of a sudden this would be somewhat of a big loss for Chambers if they were to miss on this local prospect.
Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens - It's been speculated for a while that two of Penn State's top targets (perhaps the top targets) would attend college together, and yesterday City of Basketball Love's Josh Verlin confirmed with the duo that they very much considered themselves a package deal. if you're into reading way too much into quotes from teenage basketball players, that article is your heroin.
The important thing to note is that the PSU staff clearly has a good relationship with Stevens and Carr, who went so far as to say he felt "loved" by Chambers, and that they are one of a few teams in firmly in the mix for their services. Maryland and Temple have long been in the running with Penn State, and watch out for Indiana, who have been longtime admirers of Stevens but just offered Carr this weekend. Villanova is the darkhorse candidate here - although they haven't reportedly offered Carr, they are noted to have interest in Stevens and upon hearing of their package deal status Jay Wright may be "forced" into recruiting the former much harder.
As for the new names to watch:
Kevin Huerter - A sharpshooting 6'5" guard from Clifton Park, NY, Huerter's performance with Albany City Rocks at the Nike event earned him quite a few new offers, much like Painter:
Rice, Creighton, Maryland, Penn State, Marquette, Texas Tech & Miami are the latest to offer 2016 G Kevin Huerter of Albany City Rocks (NY).— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) April 14, 2015
Interestingly, this report from a local CBS affiliate (autoplay warning) claims PSU had "previously offered" in reference to his newest offers.
Penn State does have a similarly-built player in Davis Zemgulis signed up as part of the 2015 class, but if there's one thing this program needs more of, it's outside shooting. Huerter went 12-26 from three-point range in Virginia last weekend. Looks like he can play a bit of point guard as well:
Quinton Rose - Huerter's City Rocks teammate reported his Penn State offer late last night, adding to an already impressive list which includes Miami (FL), Temple, Memphis and Providence among others. Searching for Rose on Twitter (coughthisiswhereIgetmostofthisinformationcough) reveals that Syracuse fans are rather high on this relatively unheralded prospect. Here's a good intro to Rose from Syracuse.com last summer.
C.J. Walker - An Indiana native, Walker decommitted from Purdue in late March, and since then a few schools have tried to butt in, including Penn State, Florida State and Wichita State. His Crystal Ball is all Butler at the moment:
Logic would dictate that he's not Penn State's priority at the point, with Carr and Alani Moore still very much on Chambers' radar (it's a safe bet to assume that one of the PSU assistants was in New Orleans for Moore and A.J. Wilson's Under Armour-sponsored event last weekend).
Class of 2017 - 6* Scholarships Available
*Keep in mind that if all five scholarships available for the 2016 classes are filled, there would be just one open spot in the 2017 class. Of course, it's early - roster attrition is the norm in college hoops, so Penn State will be disregarding this when recruiting players in this age group.
Quade Green - Neumann Goretti's Green is the next great Philly guard, and he's already racking up some major offers. Penn State finally offered this weekend, as did Michigan State and Maryland. He led his Saints to a state championship as a sophomore and he drew rave reviews this weekend in New Orleans along with his teammate Trevon Duval of St. Benedict's (NJ), who also reeled in a PSU offer. Both will be top-50 players by the time the 2017 rankings come out.
Aaron Thompson - A former teammate of Josh Reaves' at Paul VI in Fairfax, VA, Thompson might have a little less competition for his services than a Quade Green. The 6'1" point guard got his Penn State offer a while back and Josh Verlin talked to Thompson about his thoughts on PSU as well as his adjustment to the highest level of AAU ball.
Mohamed Bamba - Bamba is another that will end up on many top-50 rankings soon enough, and the Westtown School product is already racking up offers from blue blood programs as a rising junior:
PSA Cardinals F Mohamed Bamba picked up offers from Kansas, Arizona, Syracuse, Florida State & UConn today. What does the EYBL do for you?— D1 Circuit (@D1Circuit) April 14, 2015
He's also been sitting on a PSU offer for quite some time, but the fact that scholarship-strapped Syracuse wants him is an indication of the type of talent the 6'11" Bamba already is. Penn State will try their best to make him a priority, but they've already got their work cut out for them.