To say this current season for Penn State has been a roller coaster ride would be an accurate assessment. The 13 wins and 3-4 conference record look good on paper, but the Nittany Lions could have won all their conference games especially the last game against Minnesota.
Sophomore Tony Carr did his part by scoring 33 points, including the 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime. He struggled with his jump shot throughout the night while fellow sophomore Lamar Stevens had his own issues with foul trouble and shot making. Mike Watkins recorded his fifth straight double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds, but he fouled out at the beginning of overtime and had to watch Penn State struggle on defense.
Penn State’s issues on defense throughout the Minnesota game were evident as the Golden Gophers went 10-17 from behind the arc with many of the 3-pointers being uncontested shots. The lack of scoring punch from the bench was also obvious as Nazeer Bostick was the only bench player to see more than seven minutes of action.
Head coach Patrick Chambers’ trust in Bostick is strong as he had more minutes than Jamari Wheeler who got the start in place of Josh Reaves. In Reaves’ absence, the Nittany Lions have been more stagnant on the offensive end. Carr, Stevens and Watkins have been the only true scoring threats.
While Reaves is not a player that lights up the scoreboard, his activity and ability to create opportunities for himself with his athleticism is something that Penn State is truly lacking.
Scouting Nazeer Bostick
Bostick entered Penn State as the least hyped of the Roman Catholic trio and that was the case coming into the season. Some people might think that he has not improved much since last season but his game has taken huge strides. For starters, his jump shot has become more consistent and he is more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball.
His 3-point shooting still leaves a lot to be desired with only five makes in 19 attempts, but the form and confidence makes it look like he could become a reliable shooter in the future. Bostick’s eight points on 3-5 shooting against Minnesota proves that he is capable of being the reliable bench weapon that Penn State desperately needs.
He missed his only two attempts from behind the arc, but he also drew a flagrant foul when he got kicked in the face by Gaston Diedhiou late in the second half. Bostick converted on both free throw attempts after the incident, showing his teammates the mental toughness necessary for a team to succeed in the Big Ten.
His hard work on both sides of the ball is paying off as Chambers is giving Bostick more playing time with Reaves being suspended. His good play off the bench could give the Penn State head coach a decision to make on who to start with Reaves still not in the lineup.