Penn State men's basketball won the second NIT championship in program history on Thursday night. Shortly after, the team received a piece of news about the future of one of its centerpieces that is sure to make fans excited for the 2018-19 season.
According to Nate Bauer of Blue White Illustrated, redshirt sophomore big man Mike Watkins will forgo the 2018 NBA Draft and return to Penn State next year. Watkins has not played since the team's loss to Michigan on Feb. 21 due to a knee injury.
“I want to come back next year just to make a big impact, just so when we make it to the NCAA and we win next year, I can say I gave my all this year and did not miss a game with my teammates," Watkins said, per BWI.
Additionally, Pat Chambers said that he wants Watkins to take things slow as he rehabilitates the injury, and said that his targeted return date for his starting center is "summer session two."
Watkins averaged 12.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game for Penn State this season. He was an Big Ten All-Defensive team selection this year, and earned an all-conference honorable mention nod.