Successful recruiting is the lifeblood of college basketball programs, and as such the next two April weekends along with three weekends in July are the most important times of the year for many programs. Pat Chambers and Penn State have a crucial season coming up - and are still looking to add to their roster - but nothing can underscore the importance of these summer recruiting periods, especially considering the connections the Nittany Lions have been trying to make with recruits in the class of 2018 for over a year.
Consider this your one-stop shop for the schedule of events Chambers and Co. will be attending this summer and the prospects we can reasonably assume they will be watching. Note that due to Jamari Wheeler's visit for the Blue-White game the staff won't be traveling too far on the first weekend of festivities. This list is not exhaustive and based only on the free recruiting information available. All prospects listed are in the class of 2018 and reportedly hold a Penn State offer unless otherwise denoted:
Session One: April 21-23 - Hampton, VA
Session Two: April 28-30 - Indianapolis, IN
Session Three: May 12-14 - Atlanta, GA (Non-evaluation Period)
Session Four: May 26-29 - Los Angeles, CA (Non-evaluation Period)
Peach Jam: July 12-16 - North Augusta, SC
There are few doubts as to the benefits of being a Nike-sponsored school. Year after year, the nation's top talent is showcased on the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL for short) as teams climb towards what is viewed as the most prestigious single event in grassroots hoops, the Nike Peach Jam. College coaches and scouts pack into a small gym in tiny North Augusta to watch the NBA stars of the future, and the semifinals onward are televised nationally on the ESPN family of networks. The EYBL is a big deal for everyone involved, and it's certainly become a big deal for Penn State, whose staff has worked tirelessly to make inroads with a number of Nike-sponsored AAU teams. Four-fifths of the Lions' usual starting lineup in 2017 came from just two EYBL teams, Team Final and Team Takeover. Penn State will be watching them closely once again all summer long, along with a few other programs and players of note.
Team Takeover (DC)
- Myles Dread - G/F - Committed to PSU
- Wynston Tabbs - G
- Bryce Golden - F
- Tre Wood - PG
There's a lot to like from this top-ranked Team Takeover squad for Penn State, and it should come as no surprise to see Twitter reports of the staff watching their games all summer long. Dread is, of course, one of Chambers' top priorities as the lone commitment in the Nittany Lions' class of 2018. His perimeter shooting alone would make a fine addition to this current Penn State squad, but Chambers will have to wait until the 2018-19 season to see the Gonzaga product in Blue and White.
Among Takeover's uncommitted prospects, the Nittany Lions are hot on the trail for St. Mary's Ryken (MD) combo guard Wynston Tabbs and St. James School (MD) forward Bryce Golden. Tabbs, who joined Team Takeover after spending last summer with Team Melo, spoke very highly of Penn State and Chambers in a recent interview with Rivals. Golden echoed similar sentiments speaking to Corey Evans. Based on Evans' takes, the Nittany Lions seem to have positioned themselves very well for both Tabbs and Golden. Expect to see the staff following this AAU outfit very closely throughout the summer.
Team Final (PA)
- Marcus Littles - F/C
- Sean Good - F/C
- Mikeal Jones - F (2020)
- Matt Cotton - G (No offer)
Team Final has been very kind to Penn State in the Chambers era. Current Nittany Lions Shep Garner, Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, and Nazeer Bostick are all alumni of the Philadelphia area's traditional grassroots power program. Due to their limited scholarship situation in the class of 2017 last summer, Penn State did not have many targets to follow on Aaron Burt's squad but this year the staff should be back to catching a few of Team Final's games.
It's a big summer for Sean Good, who was offered by PSU in September of 2015. His recruitment hasn't taken off much since then, though, so he'll look to showcase his ability against better competition than he's seen in South Central PA.
Littles is the other big man with a Penn State offer on Team Final's roster. His recruitment has also been a quiet one, but he's been garnering more interest than Good as a consensus top-150 recruit. Littles visited UConn and Seton Hall during the season, though he still reportedly holds just three offers: Penn State, Temple, and St. Joe's.
A member of Roman Catholic's 2016 Catholic League and state championship squad, Mikeal Jones left the storied program for Girard College HS last summer. It's rare that you see players play one year above their class, let alone two years. It's worth noting that Jones did reclassify from the 2019 class, but even still it says a lot about the future of this young wing player.
PSA Cardinals (NY)
- Jake Forrester - F
- Isaiah Mucius - F
Penn State offered Forrester last July prior to PSA's eventual runner-up finish at Peach Jam, and the Lions have been mentioned at every turn with the composite top-100 stretch four. Even his high school coach at Westtown couldn't help but mention Penn State in a "hypothetical" about his star forward. Indiana (under Tom Crean), Pitt, Providence and Temple are among the other schools that have offered Forrester thus far.
Mucius, a high school teammate of Golden's at St. James, has also long held a Penn State offer. Recent interviews, however, paint the Lions as an afterthought.
2017 NCAA Summer Recruiting Calendar
April 20-July 5: Quiet Period
- No off-campus contact
- Visits/communication allowed
April 21-23: Evaluation Period
- Scouting allowed
- No off-campus contact
- April 28-30: Evaluation Period
May 18-26: Dead Period
- No in-person contact, not even on visits
- Written/electronic communication permitted
- July 12-16: Evaluation period
- July 17-18: Dead period
- July 19-23: Evaluation period
- July 24-25: Dead period
- July 26-30: Evaluation period
Team Melo (MD)
- Noah Locke - G
The sharpshooting Locke mentioned Penn State in his interview with Rivals after the Team Final Scrimmages in Philadelphia last weekend, though the content of his answer won't inspire a ton of confidence. Still, this is another kid the coaching staff has been in contact with for quite some time.
Albany City Rocks (NY)
- Joe Girard III - G (2019)
Girard is quite possibly the best shooter in high school basketball, and Penn State was the first high-major school to offer. Call it a hunch, or Kevin Huerter déjà vu, but the rising junior will probably get one or twenty more offers from power conference programs this summer.
New York Rens (NY)
- Zach Crisler - F (2019, no offer)
If Chambers doesn't offer Crisler soon, Dave Jones will do it for him. Joking aside, the 6'9" rising junior does have a skillset that Chambers seems to be valuing these days.
New Jersey Playaz (NJ)
- Jalen Carey - G
Carey was offered this past fall but Penn State hasn't been mentioned much with the scoring guard.
CIA Bounce (Ontario)
- Ignas Brazdeikis - F
"Iggy" has discussed reclassifying to 2017 in order to play in college next season. It stands to reason that Penn State would take the lefty Canadian wing in a heartbeat, but they'll have some major competition.
Gauntlet Dallas: April 21-23
Gauntlet Atlanta: April 28-30
Regional Quarterfinals: May 26-29 - Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston (Non-evaluation Period)
Gauntlet Finale: July 12-15 - Spartanburg, SC
The adidas circuit doesn't carry as much gravitas as its Nike counterpart, but the Penn State coaching staff still has plenty of major targets to watch on a pair of teams in Dallas and Atlanta this April.
Ohio Basketball Club
- Dwayne Cohill - G
- Robby Carmody - G/F
- Sincere Carry - PG (No offer)
Carmody and Cohill have long been two of the staff's top targets in the class of 2018. They don't seem to be a Carr/Stevens/Bostick type of package deal by any means, but both have visited Happy Valley on numerous occasions (Carmody four times, Cohill five times since 2015 per 247 Sports). The competition for the PA native, Carmody, will be fierce - Butler, Michigan, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Purdue and Northwestern have all shown high interest throughout his recruitment.
Cohill recently picked up an offer from Shaka Smart at Texas, and if that's any indication of the interest he'll be receiving in his final summer of AAU ball then Chambers will have his work cut out in trying to land his longtime top target at point guard. Per an interview with SB Nation's Burnt Orange Nation, Cohill will set up his official visits after the conclusion of the AAU season.
Team Loaded (VA)
- Rasir Bolton - G
- Kiyon Boyd - G
- Armando Bacot - F (2019)
- David McCormack - C
Bolton is the main target from this group, though even he is likely down the staff's list of targets considering their interest in Cohill and ties to Team Takeover. Team Loaded is highlighted here for the simple reason that Penn State has made significant inroads with the Andrew Wiggins-sponsored program - Bacot and class of 2020 stud Isaiah Todd, who will play on the 16U level for Loaded this summer, were both in attendance and earned offers at Penn State's Elite Camp last summer.
Under Armour Association
Session One: April 21-23 - New York, NY
Session Two: April 28-30 - Indianapolis, IN
Session Three: May 26-28 - Los Angeles, CA (Non-evaluation Period)
UAA Finals: July 12-15 - Atlanta, GA
Slowly but surely the Under Armour grassroots circuit has gathered steam as the second most important league in summer basketball, as the UAA has showcased plenty of All-American and top-100 talents over the past few years. Penn State has landed just one sought-after Under Armour prospect - the now departed Joe Hampton, who suited up for D.C. Premier in the summer of 2015 - but thanks to some unique circumstances they do have at least one recruit to follow that could make an impact as early as this approaching season.
Philly Pride (PA)
- John Harrar - F/C (2017)
Harrar was on Penn State's campus on Wednesday and left with a scholarship offer to enroll this summer. It's a strange situation, to be sure - Harrar decommitted from Army football and will play at least the first session of the evaluation period with Philly Pride hoping to garner a few comparable offers. It's certainly rare for 2017 recruits to play in these events after their senior year of high school, but it worked out well for Delaware star Ryan Daly. The son of former PSU assistant Brian Daly played for the Jersey Shore Warriors last April before receiving an offer from and committing to the Blue Hens after he had decommitted from Colgate just a few weeks prior. Harrar is the latest of bloomers, but a strong performance in the Big Apple could see him earn a few more looks from high-major programs.
It's also worth noting that Roman Catholic rising junior Seth Lundy will be playing for Philly Pride's 16U team. Penn State has already offered the 6'5" swingman.
Hoop Group Jam Fest
Spring Jam Fest: April 21-23 - Manheim, PA
Pittsburgh Jam Fest: April 28-30 - Pittsburgh, PA
Kentucky Jam Fest: April 28-30 - Louisville, KY
The Hoop Group is widely considered the most prestigious of the non-shoe company AAU event programs, and despite its lack of major financial backing the events do typically attract some highly-recruited prospects, often underclassmen. Penn State has typically had a presence at these events due to their proximity, and they have at least one player to watch from a rising program.
Jersey Shore Warriors (NJ)
- Drew Friberg - G/F
The State College High risng senior recently made the switch to Jersey Shore Warriors (reported by CoBL's Josh Verlin) after spending last summer with Team Takeover's dominant 16U team. His new outfit has produced plenty of D-I talent recently, including the aforementioned Daly and 2017 Michigan signee Eli Brooks, who received a Villanova offer before signing with the Wolverines. Friberg currently has offers from Penn State, Bucknell and Manhattan.