Terrence Samuel is a likely candidate to be overlooked by fans heading into the season, as the transfer from UConn had to sit out the entire 2015-16 season per NCAA rules. The junior point guard from Brooklyn provides much needed experience to a young roster. Also, and this won’t be the last time you hear this factoid, Samuel was a member of the 2014 UConn team that won a national championship. Pat Chambers will be counting on Samuel to use his experience to help usher in the younger players.
As I mentioned above, Terrence Samuel had to sit out last season after transferring to Penn State. He described what he was able to do in the interim:
“I had a lot of time to work on my game,” Samuel said. “More specifically, my jump shot, which has really improved since I’ve had to sit out. I’ve been working with [coach Ross Condon] and [coach Kieth Urgo] just trying to improve and become a better playmaker.”
While he wasn’t able to play in games, he was able to practice with the team, and his familiarity with Chambers’ style of play should allow him to make an instant impact going into the 2016-17 season.
Role for 2016-17
It’s unclear if he will be a starter for Game 1, but Chambers has already stated that he expects Samuel to play the point and allow Shep to play off the ball more. The head coach went into some more detail about what Samuel brings to the team this year:
“Terrence can bring a ton of toughness that we sorely need,” Chambers said. “He can bring leadership. He’s been there, he’s done it. He’s been a part of a national championship team, so he can constantly remind the guys in the locker room what it’s going to take to get to that level of sustainability and consistency.”
Samuel says that playing for a UConn team that wasn’t the most talented taught him the merits of playing hard and doing the little things right. That #attitude of hard work and heart embody the mentality that Pat Chambers has brought to Penn State during his tenure. We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out, but I suspect we’ll see in Samuels another gritty, gutsy player who won’t give up.
Character is important, but Samuel does have some weaknesses on the court that led to him transferring from the Huskies. Terrence is not a strong shooter, especially beyond the arc where he is 0-18 in his career. If he was not able to improve his stroke in his year off, Samuel may be more of a role player. His ability to step in and run the offense in place of Shep, and to defend on the perimeter will be valuable regardless of how many points he puts up.
The ceiling for the former four-star (#74 overall) recruit is a big uknown, but he has the highest floor out of any of the newcomers and should help to stabilize a young team.