Josh Reaves was a two-time Big Ten All-Defense selection who became a reliable scorer by the end of his career at Penn State. Reaves was beloved by the fan base for many reasons but most of all his tenacious defense. Reaves was a unique player that will always be remembered fondly by fans of the team. There truly is no replacement for him.
That being said, Izaiah Brockington is a unique player, coming to Penn State after playing one season at St. Bonaventure, where he gained the experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament. He will fill the role left vacant by Reaves as a defensive specialist who can also score, mostly on dunks and three point shots.
The highlight reel below shows plenty of nice dunks and keep in mind that was during his freshman season. Brockington sat out of games last season but he did not sit out of practice. He was a constant menace to guards and drew comparisons to Reaves from coach Chambers for the way that he plays defense. With Reaves gone, he may be the best athlete on the team.
With Myreon Jones, Curtis Jones Jr., and Seth Lundy all vying for some of the same minutes that Brockington will be looking for, he finds himself in a slightly different rotation than Reaves was last season. Reaves averaged 30 minutes per game for his final three seasons but he did not play on teams that had the depth that the Lions now enjoy.
As a result, many role players will cut into the minutes of the starting guards, especially at the third guard spot. Whether Brockington starts or not, he will likely get somewhere between 20-25 minutes per night, considering the vast number of players that Chambers has to choose from this season.
What He Did Last Year
After having a very productive season for a team that went to the NCAA tournament, Brockington transferred to Penn State. As a result, he sat out last season. The year before, he shot 46% from 2-point range and 41% from 3-point range at St. Bonaventure. As a comparison, Josh Reaves averaged around 35% from behind the arc for his final three seasons.
That is one area which the team should improve with the addition of Brockington. His shot was in very good shape when we last saw it, with a year to develop his game, we should see some improvement.
Here are Brockington’s highlights from his freshman season at St. Bonaventure.
What We Need This Year
With Jamari Wheeler set to be on the court a lot this year, opposing teams will be under pressure much of the game. Brockington will add a second menacing defensive presence as Josh Reaves did for the past four years. Penn State will need Brockington to defend guards and sometimes small forwards.
There is so much talent on the Lions’ roster, with bulk scoring expected to come from the low post, Brockington’s offense will not be under pressure to deliver. He averaged 14.8 points per 40 minutes as a freshman so he’s shown that he can put the ball in the basket. If he can score 8-10 points per game, that should be enough production.
Wheeler is known for his defense and Myreon Jones showed flashes of defensive tenacity as a freshman. If Brockington can live up to the hype he has gotten from his teammates and coaches, it would make it very difficult to play against the Lions.