Unexpected Recruiting—Roster Spots to Fill this Offseason?
The season might be coming to a close soon, but the drama is only just beginning. A few days ago the Altoona Mirror released a story that had some interesting news. Despite not having any seniors on the roster this season; there might be two openings on the team next year.
“Though they did not have a Senior Day for the first time in 25 years, the Lions may well have a scholarship or two conveniently become available. DeChellis left open the possibility last week that a couple of players could graduate, and assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie, off recruiting, wasn’t in attendance Saturday.”
Your casual Penn State fan might assume that Talor Battle, being the only real NBA prospect the team has, would be the one to leave the team early. Battle however has personally addressed this issue and has already stated that he will stay at Penn State for his senior year and play with his brother Taran Buie.
While this was first believed to be a simple miss-quote or a generalization by a reporter attempting to generate buzz, Brian Siegrist confirmed the rumors yesterday via twitter, even if a non specific way.
A quick look over the Uncle Lar Scholarship Matrix shows us that Penn State will have 5 seniors, 2 juniors, 5 sophomores, and 1 freshman to work with. While there has been no real indication as to who exactly will be leaving the team, it has been implied that at least one of the player(s) leaving will be doing so through graduation.
Graduation eliminates quite a few choices off of the list and actually singles out Andrew Ott. If you remember Ott sat out of a season in order for him to legally transfer from Villanova. That makes him a 5th year Senior next season. Looking over Penn State’s guidelines to transferring credits gives us no reason to believe that Ott wouldn’t be on schedule to graduate this Spring in a 4 year program. The combination of limited minutes, a nagging shoulder injury, and 2 or 3 guys ahead of him on the depth chart makes him a prime target for an open roster spot.
If in fact the Lions lose two players this offseason, Billy Oliver will almost be an automatic choice. Frankly, no one knows how good Oliver is simply because he hasn’t ever been healthy enough to play. Two concussions, and exercise related migraines have limited Oliver’s ability to practice, let alone play. While no one wants to see a player’s career end before it started, it seems that Oliver might be headed out the door regardless of any ones wishes.
Now we have ourselves two rosters spots to fill in this hypothetical situation. Assistant Coach Kurt Kanaskie, was hot on the recruiting trail during the Purdue game this past weekend, who he was chasing is unknown, but chances are Penn State is looking into Junior College transfers as much as High School Seniors. You might remember the last transfer Penn State had turned out pretty well.
Currently, the best bet Penn State has outside of a transfer lie with Eric McNight or Tyler Olander two Center/Power Forwards that could fill the roles of Ott and Oliver. Penn State needs and interior presence on the team in order to succeed and someone will need to tie the Lions over until Peter Alexis comes to Penn State in 2011. The more experience Penn State can get on the interior the better. They’re longshots, but they have recived a lot of attention from Penn State as of late.
McNight is the longshot of the two, he has a high interest in several schools including Maryland, Missouri, and VCU.
Olander doesn’t have Penn State in his Top 3, but he has said his feelings towards Penn State are growing stronger.
As you can see, both recruits have a pretty solid list of schools they’re interested in and vise-versa. Tyler Olander has already been offered a scholarship, and now that he might have the chance to take Penn State up on their offer it should be interesting to see what he does next. He is however a strong UConn lean, so Penn State has a hill to climb. The longer this goes on, the more likely the roster spots will be filled by transfer players.
All of this could turn out to be untrue, everyone could stay. All we know for sure is the coaches are recruiting hard right now. I don’t think we’ll hear anything more until this weekend is over. While we’re discussing recruiting, take a look at the current prospects for the class coming in after Buie.
Class of 2010-2011 Commits:
Taran Buie— Rivals 150 (Scout Grade-93) Point Guard
Class of 2011-2012 Commits:
Trey Burke— Rivals 150 (Scout Grade-89) Point Guard
Peter Alexis—(Scout Grade-87) Center
Targets of Note for 2011-2012: 3 Scholarships remain. All rated in the ESPN 150 and have expressed interest in program ( “*” Indicates “Offer made”)
- Malcolm Gilbert Center (#130 National)
- Rakeem Christmas Center (#4 National)
- *Desmond Hubert Center(#54 National)
- *Darious Perkins Shooting Guard (#143 National)
- *Dai-Jon Parker Shooting Guard (#17 National)
Other Notable Targets:
- *LaDontae Henton Small Forward