Penn State Basketball Preview: Forwards

By Matthew Filipovits on November 27, 2020 at 2:23 pm
Jan 18, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Seth Lundy (1) reacts to a play against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the backcourt, Penn State's frontcourt faces a lot of questions. Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins are gone, the two guys who have been pillars of the program during one of its most successful runs. They'll need a mix of young guys and vets who've waited their turn to take control.

The Starters

No. 1 Seth Lundy (So., 6'6, 219 lbs)

No. 21 John Harrar (Sr., 6'9, 240 lbs)

Seth Lundy was one of the most underappreciated freshmen in the Big Ten a season ago. The Philadelphia native started 15 games and averaged 5.3 points on nearly 40% shooting. If he can keep shooting at that clip, he'll be one of the most dangerous scorers in the Big Ten in 2020-21.

John Harrar has been a reliable presence for the Nittany Lions for three seasons, with his best season coming in 2019-20. He's the best rebounder on the roster and with how thin the Nittany Lions are on big men, he'll need to keep that going while playing a crazy amount of minutes. Thanks to that lack of depth, playing smart on the defensive end will be paramount, because if he ends up in foul trouble, the Nittany Lions could be left without any interior presence. For that reason, it may behoove Harrar to even play a bit softer on the interior defensively than he would normally, meaning that Lundy and others will have to pick up some of the slack on opposing big men.

The reserves

No. 15 Trent Buttrick (Sr., 6'8, 240 lbs)

No. 30 Abdou Tsimbila (Fr., 6'8, 235 lbs)

No. 14 Patrick Kelly (R-Fr., 6'7, 215 lbs)

While they have some big guards in Izaiah Brockington and Caleb Dorsey, the Nittany Lions only have three other players listed at forward on the roster.

Trent Buttrick is the most experienced, playing sparingly over the past three seasons. He appeared in just 18 games last year, averaging just over a point per game. He's not going to light up the box score, but he'll need to be a serviceable backup and a guy who can hold things down if guys end up in foul trouble.

Tsimbila has gotten praise from Jim Ferry for his development over the past few weeks. The Cameroonian has a lot to learn but he's a big body and a good enough athlete to hold his own in the Big Ten. He's a real wildcard in this position but if he can show he's polished enough, he could easily fill in a John Harrar-type role very quickly.

There have been rumors that redshirt freshman Patrick Kelly has entered his name in the transfer portal, but nothing is official yet. The IMG Academy product is more of a stretch-four than anything else and will be a guy who's going to get a few minutes a night. Still, with this depth chart, those minutes will be needed.