It's not much of a surprise, but Penn State star forward Lamar Stevens will spurn the NBA draft altogether and return to Happy Valley for his junior season per a press release from the university. Stevens averaged 15.5 points per game and led Penn State to their second-ever NIT championship as a sophomore. From the release:
“I’m committed to continuing my education and my collegiate playing career at Penn State,” said Stevens. “Several options were presented to me for my future and I reviewed them with my coaches and family, but I always felt strongly that staying in school was the best course of action.”
Perhaps it is mildly surprising that Stevens, a 6'8 combo-forward, did not at least declare for the draft without an agent in order to receive feedback from NBA scouts, as much of the top talent in college basketball does these days. It was, however, a necessity for Penn State to bring Stevens back with all-Big Ten point guard Tony Carr officially off to the NBA. With Carr out of the picture, Stevens will be looked to as the primary option on offense. He'll be supplemented by returners Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins, both of whom also averaged double-figures last season.
Stevens appears ready to take that mantle from Carr, his good friend and high school teammate at Roman Catholic. The winner of the NIT's Most Outstanding Player award, Stevens averaged 19.2 points per game in the postseason tournament and scored 45 points over the competition's final two games at Madison Square Garden.
Aided by Stevens' return is Pat Chambers, whose "win now" pitch to potential transfers looks even stronger. The Nittany Lions are reportedly involved with grad transfers Joe Cremo (Albany) and Michael Finke (Illinois), as well as Wichita State transfer C.J. Keyser, who will need to sit out the 2018-19 season before suiting up for two more seasons.