Pat Chambers officially added the third member of his 2018 recruiting class today after Daniil Kasatkin submitted his letter of intent on the first day of the spring signing period. The Russian forward out of Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia verbally committed to PSU back in November but after the fall signing period had already ended.
Now that he can publicly comment on him, Chambers had this to say about the newest addition to his program:
“We’re continuing to build the future of Penn State basketball on a solid foundation and we are thrilled to add a young man of Daniil’s character and ability to our program,” said Chambers, who directed the Nittany Lions to 26 wins and the 2018 NIT Championship. “An unselfish playmaker who has exceptional court vision coupled with being an elite shooter, at 6-7, Daniil’s versatility will be a huge asset to our team.”
Kasatkin is undoubtedly the biggest unknown of the Lions' three man recruiting class that includes Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton. However, he may be the most intriguing of the group due to his natural point guard skills in his 6-foot-7 frame. While unranked by the industry, Kasatkin's highlights show a skilled playmaker with a fluid jump shot that could be effective at the next level. He averaged 14.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while reportedly shooting 40 percent from the arc.
Back in the fall, Chambers had been in hot pursuit of a trio of wing prospects to round out his 2018 class but struck out on all three. Adrien Nunez decided on Michigan, Jared Rhoden went to Seton Hall, and Jack Clark chose to stay home at La Salle. Without a shooting forward, Chambers and associate head coach Keith Urgo turned their sights onto Kasatkin.
What was particularly strange about the Russian's recruitment was the lack of competition for his services. He did not have any other reported offers at the time of his commitment despite playing with another high major D-I prospect, Flo Thamba (Baylor). It's reminiscent of current Nittany Lion, Deivis Zemgulis, back when he committed as an unknown foreign prospect in 2014. Zemgulis has not been able to contribute more than sporadic bench minutes during his three seasons in Happy Valley, but that certainly doesn't mean Kasatkin can't have a bigger impact.
If Kasatkin can adapt to the physicality and speed of Big Ten basketball, you could see him in the rotation sooner than later next year as a catch-and-shoot threat on the perimeter. The defensive end will be a tougher learning curve for him, but he has the frame to be a versatile defender against opposing wings.