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Mike Watkins Wins Big Ten Freshman of the Week Honors

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This is the first such award for a Nittany Lion since its inception in the 2010-11 season.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the Big Ten has given the award (2010-11), a Penn State player has won Freshman of the Week honors. With three freshmen starting for the Nittany Lions, it hopefully won’t be the last.

Mike Watkins was a big reason for Penn State’s dominating performance against St. John’s on Sunday, handling major minutes at center, and imposing his will against the Johnies.

Watkins, who played for 32 minutes in this game, had another double-double. He tallied 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and three blocks. As gaudy as the numbers may look, Pat Chambers had even more to say about Watkins in his postgame presser:

When he’s engaged, he gets us going. You’re talking about a 35-5 run. When Mike brings that juice, that energy, and that passion, he’s protecting the paint, he’s protecting the rim. It only says three blocks, but there’s a lot a more altered for sure. And he gets us going, he gets us out in the breaks so we can get easy baskets – and uncontested shots…. To have somebody like that is important to our team and our defense.

Congratulations to Watkins, and here’s to many more!