Weight: 243 lbs
Junior John Harrar has had an up and down career with the Nittany Lions thus far. Following a strong showing in the Nittany Lions run to a NIT Championship in 2018, he battled inconsistency last season. His role on the team also fluctuated throughout the season, and he often times found himself on the court for more minutes per game than what best suits him. However, to his credit, he stepped up and gave the team all he had.
What He Did Last Year
John Harrar played in all 32 games as a sophomore. Harrar’s 55.1% field goal percentage was the second highest on the team last season, and he chipped in 3.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. To start the season Harrar was a starter, but his role changed to splitting time with, and eventually backing up, Mike Watkins when he returned after missing the start of the season.
What We Need This Year
If all goes according to plan, the Nittany Lions will need Harrar to provide quality minutes off the bench this season. However, with Watkins, things do not always go according to plan, and this is not always Mike’s fault.
Even though the Nittany Lions will only need Harrar to play a bench role if Watkins is on the court, as was alluded to above, Watkins is not always on the court. Watkins also has a track record of getting into foul trouble in his career, which could lead to games where Harrar needs to step up and play a larger role.
At just 6-foot-9 Harrar will rarely have the size advantage in any match up. For smaller big men such as Harrar it is vital that they can help to stretch the court, which is something Harrar has not shown the ability to do. Hopefully, this is an area where he can improve this season.
Penn State appears to have the pieces in place to make a long awaited return to the NCAA Tournament this March. An underrated component to this could be getting quality minutes from an improved Harrar. If there are games, especially in Big Ten play, where the Nittany Lions are without Watkins for stretches of play and Harrar is not able to hold his own against some of the best big men in the conference then Penn State could be in trouble.