Season Preview: Penn State Men’s Basketball
Despite all the turmoil leading up to this season, we will still have college basketball.
Penn State is coming off a breakout 2019 campaign where it went 21-10 in the regular season in a tough Big Ten conference. Due to the pandemic, the Nittany Lions were unable to make a statement in the NCAA tournament and now the road back to that spot has gotten even tougher.
Former head coach Patrick Chambers resigned due to ongoing rumors of racial insensitivity amongst Penn State players, forcing assistant Jim Ferry to take over. Ferry had been a head coach most recently with Duquesne, but he has also led Long Island to the NCAA tournament in the 2011-12 season.
Ferry has worked as an assistant for Chambers since 2017 and has coached many of the players currently on the roster. Working as an assistant those years helped him during the first weeks of his new role at Penn State.
“As a staff, we’ve all blended together and we've made it all about the players… I’ve become a better coach as an assistant the past three years here. Your perspective changes,” Ferry said.
Star forward and leader Lamar Stevens will also be gone this year as he declared for the NBA Draft. Stevens led the Nittany Lions in points with 17.6 per game and he also recorded 6.9 rebounds per game. Stevens came up six points shy of the school’s all-time scoring record, currently held by Talor Battle, as the pandemic cut the season short.
Before beginning Big Ten action at Michigan in December, the Nittany Lions will take on five non-conference opponents with four straight home contests. They’ll welcome Drexel in a nearly empty Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday, Nov. 25 to tip things off for both squads. Gametime will be determined at a later date.
Penn State is looking to improve to 7-0 all time versus the Dragons, whom they most recently defeated in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. But during his press conference for Basketball Media Day, Ferry said he hasn’t thought twice about his opponent yet. He wants to hone his players in on practice before scouting the competition.
Regardless of who they’re playing, Ferry emphasized the team’s next-man-up mentality. He thinks that freshmen could see the court early and often, especially with the uncertainty that the pandemic brings. He expects a big uptick in the performance in his main men, particularly sophomore forward Seth Lundy and junior guard Myreon Jones.
Lundy comes into season two with plenty of aspirations. He’s heavily regarded as the next player to fill the leadership role that Stevens held. He mentioned that they still text often, and he hopes to reach the same level of stardom.
“I just want to be more of a leader this year. I know my teammates look up to me differently this year and they expect a lot more from me,” Lundy said.
Lundy and company will want to find a leader when it comes time for conference play. The Big Ten features seven AP Top 25 programs in the preseason rankings, the most of any conference, with three ranked in the top-10.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism from Yardley, Pennsylvania, which is outside of Philly and just across the Delaware River from New Jersey. He attended Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. He’s a huge fan of the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, Penn State football and Penn State basketball. He’s a producer for CommRadio news and is a writer and broadcaster for CommRadio sports. His CommRadio show, Broad Street Bros, airs Thursday nights at 8:45, as he and co-host Andrew Field talk about Philly and Penn State sports. He hopes to some day become a play-by-play announcer for football, basketball and/or baseball, and he is also interested in becoming a bartender.
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism