Penn State Basketball 2021-22 Season Preview: Forwards

By Vincent Lungaro on November 4, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Jan 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward John Harrar (21) holds the ball as Northwestern Wildcats forward Pete Nance (22) defends during the second half at Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State defeated Northwestern 81-78. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
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As we highlighted in our preview of the backcourt, Penn State's roster went under a drastic change in the offseason.

It could have been even more drastic had John Harrar and Seth Lundy looked to play elsewhere after the duo entered the transfer portal.

Instead, Harrar and Lundy bought into Micah Shrewsberry's new vision for the program and decided to return to Penn State. That was arguably the biggest "win" of the offseason for Shrewsberry and the big-man-strapped Nittany Lions.

Let's take a closer look at the return of Harrar and Lundy, and the depth around them at the forward spot for this season. 

THE STARTERS

No. 1 Seth Lundy (Jr., 6'6, 217 lbs)

No. 5 Greg Lee (Sr., 6'9 217 lbs)

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

Considering he was the team's third-leading scorer last season and the top two transferred elsewhere, Lundy's return to Penn State is huge. He is an All-Conference caliber player, he just needs to find consistency. He dropped 32 on VCU and 23 on Seton Hall early in the 2020-21 season, scored 26 in a loss to Ohio State on Jan. 27, and bookmarked the regular season with 31 against Maryland.

The problem was the cold-shooting nights he faced in between those big games. Lundy had a 10-game stretch from Jan. 30 to March 10 in which he reached double figures just once. Known for his player development characteristics, if Shrewsberry can fine-tune some aspects of Lundy’s game, we could start to see the best version of the Roman Catholic product more often.

"Coach Shrewsberry had a big impact on me coming back," Lundy said at the team's media day. "I went into the portal just to weigh my options and I felt like what he had planned for me was better than what any other coach had to offer."

I can't predict for sure where Penn State would have been last season without Harrar, but I can confidently say they wouldn’t have been anywhere close to their 11-14 finish. Even if you ignore the fact he was basically Penn State’s only serviceable big man on the roster, Harrar was a huge figure in keeping an agitated locker room focused and together following Chambers’ dismissal.

He more than held his own in a Big Ten conference littered with elite centers, averaging 9.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game nearly 55 percent. In a lot of games, it felt like he was single-handedly dominating the boards for Penn State. I’m interested to see how Harrar improves even more under Shrewsberry, who was a part of the development of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams at Purdue.

"I have no regrets coming back," Harrar said. "This is home for sure and I want to do everything in my power to make sure we win this season." 

Harrar's leadership is once again going to be vital this season amidst all the change this program has undergone.

Like I mentioned in the guard preview, it's hard to completely predict what the opening night lineup will look like against Youngstown State. Shrewsberry could play three guards and put Lundy at the four with Harrar at the five.

Given how impressive he's been since he got to campus, though, I'm predicting Western Michigan transfer Greg Lee starts along Harrar and Lundy at forward against the Penguins.

In the couple of open practices I've attended, Lee has looked really sharp. He moves around the court really well for someone his size and even knocked down a couple of jumpers in scrimmage situations we got to see. He gives Penn State something a little different at the four spot.

"I am playing the same game at a different level now and it is extremely competitive," Lee said. "John in particular has really helped with my transition into the team and understanding the university as a whole. We both have the same work ethic in athletics and academics which really pushes me to do better." 

Lee was an All-MAC honorable mention following the 20-21 season, where he averaged 13 points, 2.4 assists, and 7.2 rebounds. Prior to his time in Kalamazoo, Lee spent four seasons at Cal State Bakersfield, starting 46 games and averaging nearly five points per game throughout his time there.

THE BACKUPS

No. 4 Caleb Dorsey (So., 6'7, 235 lbs)

No. 13 Jevonnie Scott (Jr., 6'7, 252 lbs)

No. 14 Jalanni White (Sr., 6'8, 205 lbs)

Like last year, the depth at forward is probably thinner than Penn State's coaching staff would like. Outside of the three players I just mentioned, there are probably more questions than answers here. 

Dorsey is a former three-star prospect but didn’t feature much last year as ex-interim head coach Jim Ferry elected to stick with his cast of veterans for most of the campaign. Dorsey was a four-year letter winner at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, and played for Team Durant on the AAU circuit.

At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, he's similar in size and build to Penn State legend Lamar Stevens. At the very least, he should see more minutes than he did a season ago, given the lack of options at his position off the bench.

At Media Day Shrewsberry announced that Scott, a transfer from JUCO South Plains College, is currently working through transfer eligibility issues and the timetable for his return to the court is TBD.

White, a transfer from Canisius, spent four seasons with the Griffins. He appeared in 98 games and averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

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