When Penn State hired Patrick Chambers away from Boston University in 2011, he was supposed to reinvigorate the program. Through six seasons, that certainly has not been the case as the Nittany Lions have not won more than 18 games in his tenure and a berth in the CBI as the only postseason play.
It started well as the Nittany Lions looked competitive, but they ran out of steam with losses in six of their final seven.
Watkins broke out as a future star on the block as his 90 blocks were a school record, including eight in the Big Ten tournament against Nebraska. Stevens was the perfect compliment to Watkins in the post with his ability to face up fours and get to the rim and averaged 12.7 points per game.
Both players entered the year with some hype, but nowhere near the level that Carr entered the program with.
The 42nd ranked player in the class of 2016 via ESPN 100, he was supposed to be the point guard that ushered the Nittany Lions into the postseason. That was not the case in his preliminary season, but Carr definitely proved to Penn State fans everywhere that he is the real deal.
He led the team in scoring and assists with 13.7 and 4.2, while only shooting 37.7% from the floor. Only the freshmen from Michigan State finished with better numbers in scoring and assists in the conference, proving that he is capable of leading the Penn State offense.
Inconsistency is the only thing holding back Carr as he is capable of dropping 20 in consecutive games then score 10 points on 3-19 in a three game stretch.
The best performance he had during his inaugural season was the 20 points he scored against top ranked Duke. Carr’s ability to beat the Duke back court on the bounce showed he was capable of playing with the top competition as Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson both got drafted into the NBA. He only had two assists, but he needed to provide Penn State with finishing at the rim.
Carr added a new ball handler to relieve pressure from Shep Garner and his vision was the best on the team. His passing ability is the best Penn State has seen since Tim Frazier and it is not out of the realm of possibility for Carr to average more than six assists a game.
Relying on Carr
The Nittany Lions might need Carr’s scoring more than his passing as Payton Banks and Terrance Samuel transferred to South Florida.
Banks led the Nittany Lions in three point shooting, while Samuel was a defensive presence on the perimeter. Carr will definitely need to pick up his scoring and shooting, but his defense is the area of his game that needs the most work. His long arms give him the ability to be one of the conference’s best on the perimeter, but had only 22 steals all year.
Carr’s talent makes him the breakout player in the Big Ten as he should average more 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.
His performance could send Penn State to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010-11 and Carr could become the first Nittany Lion since Calvin Booth in 1999 to get drafted into the NBA.