The 2016 recruiting class that came to Penn State was the best incoming crop of freshman since Patrick Chambers took over the program. The class took a hit before the season even started as four-star power foward Joe Hampton left the program due to personal reasons before the season even started. The trio that remained all played together at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia with Tony Carr being the jewel of the class.
Carr was the first Penn State recruit to land in the ESPN 100, checking in at 42. Lamar Stevens was another four-star prospect who was in and out of the top 100 throughout his senior season, ultimately missing the cut in the end. Both players exceeded expectations freshman year as they were the team’s top two scorers, combining for around 26 points per game.
Nazeer Bostick was the exact opposite of highly regarded as he was only a three-star prospect and only played in 18 games, scoring only 23 points. His shooting was not very good either as he only shoot 31 percent from the field, missing all nine of his 3-pointers.
Bostick’s first problem was his frame as he was too skinny to handle the contact in Big Ten play. His non-existent jump shot did not help as well as defenses would sag off of him and dare him to shoot. Though he had shooting woes, Bostick’s freshman year was a bit of a success as his length showed coach Chambers that he is a solid defender.
His long arms and quick feet made him a solid perimeter defender when called upon. His defensive capability can be summed up by his 11 combined blocks and steals in only 120 minutes of action. That number might not seem too high, but Bostick achieved those numbers mainly in garbage time when the game had been already decided, a sign of a player willing to work harder.
His athleticism has always been there and the Nittany Lions might need that high-flying action to be their sixth man. Bostick has completely changed his frame as his playing weight last year was in the 170-lb range and now weighs 203 pounds. The added muscle will help him slash to the rim and finish through contact, something that Penn State struggled to do all season.
The added weight also makes him a better defender as stronger players won’t be so willing to take Bostick into the post. His work in the off-season has been commendable, but he does not have the polish to start for Penn State this season. Bostick’s best role is as a sixth man. He’s capable of defending anyone across the perimeter to alleviate pressure from Carr and Shep Garner, while attacking the rim and offensive glass for putbacks.
Place on the team
His lack of a consistent jump shot limits his ability to start as Josh Reaves is one of the conference’s premier on-ball defender, while possessing a superior offensive game. The similar styles of play makes Bostick the perfect man to fill into Reaves’ spot if he gets into early foul trouble or struggles to get into a rhythm offensively.
Satchel Pierce and Julian Moore may have a case to being a better offensive player than Bostick, but a wing will be the first Nittany Lion off the bench this season. If Bostick is able to lock down the sixth man job and provide offensive spurts from time to time, Penn State could find themselves in the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Chambers.