Summer 2016 has been atypically slow on the recruiting front for Pat Chambers. After signing the best back-to-back freshman classes in school history, no available scholarships has precluded Penn State from doing much in the way of 2017, the class currently being hit hardest by the rest of college basketball.
Don’t think for a second the staff slowed down this summer, though - PSU has used this “lull” to get itself in early standing with the next class of prospects, including securing the commitment of a top-150 player in that class of 2018. Three-star Gonzaga College HS (D.C.) wing Myles Dread committed to Penn State two weeks after visiting University Park on June 27, giving the Nittany Lions a foundation on which to continue their recruiting successes.
As you may recall, Penn State’s heralded class last year hinged on something of a package deal. Three of the four signees - Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, and Nazeer Bostick - all played for the same high school (Roman Catholic) and AAU program (Team Final). While package deals don’t typically come to fruition like the Roman trio, there is an inherent advantage to recruiting teammates. Dread’s commitment has given PSU that opportunity again in 2018, as they have already targeted a number of his AAU buddies. Before we get into the details, have a look at our 2018 Big Board:
|2018 Penn State basketball recruiting big board|
|Available Scholarships - 4|
|Dwayne Cohill||6'2"||170||OH||Ohio Basketball Club||★★★★||6/12/15||6/11/15||Warm|
|Tre Wood||6'0"||165||MD||Team Takeover||★★★||6/26/16||Warm|
|Noah Locke||6'2"||165||MD||Team Melo||★★★||7/24/16||Cool|
|Jalen Carey||6'3"||170||NJ||NJ Playaz||★★★★||7/14/16||Cool|
|Jamarius Burton||6'5"||185||NC||Team Loaded NC||--||6/26/16||6/26/16||Cool|
|Prentiss Hubb||6'3"||170||MD||DC Premier||★★★★★||10/16/15||Cool|
|Jahvon Quinerly||6'0"||170||NJ||Sports U||★★★★||7/08/15||Cool|
|Myles Dread||6'4"||200||MD||Team Takeover||★★★||4/13/16||6/27/16||Committed 7/10/16|
|Robby Carmody||6'4"||190||PA||Ohio Basketball Club||★★★★||7/15/15||
|Wynston Tabbs||6'2"||190||MD||Team Melo||--||6/26/16||6/26/16||Warm|
|D.J. Mitchell||6'5"||183||MD||Team Melo||--||6/26/16||6/26/16||Warm|
|Drew Friberg||6'5"||200||PA||Team Takeover||--||7/31/15||Warm|
|Kiyon Boyd||6'5"||210||MD||Team Loaded VA||★★★★||4/20/16||Cool|
|Cameron Reddish||6'7"||210||PA||Team Final||★★★★★||10/14/14||Cool|
|Jake Forrester||6'8"||200||PA||PSA Cardinals||--||7/9/16||8/1/16||Warm|
|Bryce Golden||6'7"||220||MD||Team Takeover||★★★★||4/18/16||6/16/16||Warm|
|Jalen Smith||6'8"||199||MD||Team Takeover||★★★★★||Cool|
|Isaiah Mucius||6'8"||190||NY||PSA Cardinals||★★★★||4/18/16||Cool|
|Marcus Littles||6'9"||250||PA||Team Final||★★★★||4/14/16||Warm|
|Sean Good||6'10"||200||PA||Team Final||--||9/13/15||6/26/16||Warm|
Other than Philadelphia, the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region has long been Penn State's biggest focus under this staff. So far the Nittany Lions have been much more active in the DMV area than Philly in the 2018 cycle. With no fewer than 10 offers out to local prospects and one already committed in Dread, Pat Chambers has laid the foundation that should make the Lions players with a number of highly-rated prospects.
It starts with Team Takeover, the AAU alma mater of Nittany Lion sophomore Josh Reaves. Takeover's U-16 squad has arguably been the staff's primary focus this past evaluation period and for good reason after a tremendous summer. They finished July ranked as the number one 16U team in the country by IndiHoops.com.
Dread's commitment not only gave Penn State a quality piece to build a class around, but it also gave them an in with a few high-caliber prospects in that group. Five-star forward Jalen Smith, who earned tournament MVP honors in Team Takeover's Las Vegas Fab 48 16-U championship run, has a number of high-major suitors competing for his commitment including Maryland and Villanova. Penn State won't be favored to land Smith, but nonetheless the staff will be pursuing. Scout has a premium ($) update on Smith and PSU here.
Bryce Golden and Drew Friberg are two floor-stretchers at the power and small forward positions respectively for TTO. Golden has already made a trip to University Park once, and the staff will surely be looking to get he and a few of his teammates back to campus as a group this fall:
— Bryce (@bryce_golden) June 17, 2016
Friberg is a State College High student who picked up an offer in the summer of 2015. It's unclear if Dread's commitment has affected his status with Penn State, though this is a program that has struggled with three-point shooting since Chambers' arrival. So on paper, at least, this seems like a perfect match. Friberg has also visited St. Joe's this summer and picked up an offer from Manhattan.
The DMV unsurprisingly features another strong group of lead guards in 2018, and PSU should be contenders for three prospects. Tre Wood spent last season behind current Maryland freshman Anthony Cowan in the pecking order at St. John's HS in D.C., but a strong summer with Team Takeover saw him earn offers from Penn State, Iowa and St. Joe's. Noah Locke and Wynston Tabbs each feature for another Nike-backed DMV AAU program in Team Melo. Locke has an impressive offer sheet as a rising junior which includes USC, Providence and Cincinnati. Tabbs earned his offer after impressing at Penn State's elite camp this June. The PSU staff has connections to work with in this recruitment, as Tabbs attends St. Mary's Ryken, alma mater of current Nittany Lion Davis Zemgulis.
Elsewhere, the Lions continue to heavily pursue the backcourt duo from Ohio Basketball Club. Robby Carmody and Dwayne Cohill have been recruited by Penn State for over a year now, but their recruitments have taken off after OBC went 17-1 in July with an Adidas 16U Uprising championship in Las Vegas. Carmody hails from Mars, PA, and has long been a top target of PSU as evidenced by the number of visits he's taken to State College. Louisville, Notre Dame, Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan are all players in what is shaping up to be Chambers' fiercest recruiting battle since the Carr saga.
Carmody's equally talented teammate Cohill just set his fall visit schedule as of last night, and PSU is among the five schools receiving a visit:
2018 four-star Dwayne Cohill visits:
Notre Dame (9/17)
— Julius Kim (@JKim97) August 5, 2016
Cohill is considered an Ohio State lean as an Ohio native, but Penn State has been recruiting both OBC guards for as long as any high-major school. Expect them to be in the picture until the very end.
Finally, let's end on Penn State's never-ending quest to recruit a big man. Westtown School's Jake Forrester, a Harrisburg native, is fresh off a visit to Penn State earlier this week.
Amazing day at PSU #WeAre
— CornB (@begreatjake) August 1, 2016
The 6'9" stretch-four also holds a Temple offer. Along with Trinity's Sean Good and Neumann-Goretti's Marcus Littles, Forrester headlines a decent crop of Pennsylvania big men in 2018. Good has indicated PSU is his current leader (warning: autoplay video), though a strong scholastic season could see his offer list expand beyond just the Nittany Lions.