Penn State Basketball Stock Report
This past week brought good fortune to the Penn State basketball team. For the first time since December, the team found themselves as winners of back-to-back games and pushing for a late NIT bid. A few players have emerged in this last week as consistent contributors, but fans can only be left wondering at this point what could have been.
Stock Unknown: Team Potential
Although not a player, the question of how talented is this team has remained unanswered throughout the year and has only become harder to answer within the last week. The team has beaten both Iowa and Indiana within the past two weeks. Not to mention, in both contests the team held the best players for each respective side down and did not allow them to get into a rhythm.
But the team consistently throughout the year has not been able to beat the best competition within the Big Ten. In games against teams such as Maryland, when they would stop Melo Trimble, the Nittany Lions would allow another second and sometimes third guy to gouge them. If the team could have done a better job of limiting the second and third options against some of those teams, this season may have had a different narrative. But now with only a handful of games remaining, this team will be eager to prove that they are better than their record indicates.
Stock Up: Shep Garner
What a week it was for the sophomore guard. Shep Garner finally put up an entire week of consistent offensive play to complement the defensive play that he has possessed all season. He particularly provided a spark from behind the arc, knocking down four and five 3-point attempts in each game.
Although against Iowa his importance on defense did not show up on the stat sheet, his play on that end made its presence felt in the box score when the final whistle blew against Rutgers. Garner had three steals and a block against Rutgers, helping to take care of the last place team in the Big Ten. If Garner continues to produce at this clip against the likes of Michigan State next week, there may be more upsets to come to this ball club.
Stock Up: Josh Reaves
Speaking of defensive play, Josh Reaves made sure that the Nittany Lions faithful had not forgotten about his abilities on the defensive end. In the game against Iowa, Reaves had three steals and a block and followed that up with two steals against Rutgers. Not to be forgotten, against Rutgers Reaves also notched 12 points and was the first real offensive output the freshman has had all year.
The more promising thing however is the fact that Reaves got his first two starts since returning from illness. To see him back in the starting lineup and contributing was a welcomed change to him being absent from the lineup. His defense is a welcomed addition that will surely slow down these high-powered Big Ten offenses, and if every now and then his offense comes around no one will complain.
David Arroyo is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.