Penn State basketballs stunning success recruiting Delmarva could mark dawning of a new age |

Dave Jones:

What’s been going on lately with Penn State men’s basketball recruiting is, in another realm entirely. In comparison, it is nothing short of astounding.

This is a program where prior regimes never really attempted to mix with college hoops’ big boys on the recruiting trail in the fertile urban areas of Philadelphia, let alone the adjacent Delaware/Maryland/Virginia corridor, known in the trade as the Delmarva or the “DMV.” [sic]*

Well, that is very clearly changing. PSU’s fourth-year coach Patrick Chambers brought with him his Villanova-partner Keith Urgo as an assistant when he arrived in 2011. He welcomed aboard another member of the Jay Wright mafia last year in Dwayne Anderson. And together, they are attracting talent from the region never before seen at Penn State.

Energizer bunnies Chambers and Urgo laid the ground work by inviting groups of players and coaches up from well-known DC-area AAU teams to visit the Penn State campus through 2011-2013. The visits didn’t immediately pay dividends but gave players and their parents a look at the surroundings, made it familiar and showed them that State College wasn’t Mars but a doable 3-hour drive to a large and scenic campus.

Then, the young, charming and comfortable Anderson bolstered those relationships and finally got a pair of 4-star recruits to meetings with the closer Chambers.

In the past few months, Penn State has gained verbal commitments from 4-star rising-senior off-guard Josh Reaves, 4-star rising-junior power forward Joe Hampton and 3-star rising-senior small forward Deividas Zemgulis. All are from the DMV. Hampton played for Hyattsville’s DeMatha High before transferring to Oak Hill Academy in nearby Fairfax, Va. He joined Reaves who’d transferred from Paul VI High in Fairfax. Zemgulis is from Leonardtown, Md.

Add in Philadelphia 4-star rising-senior power forward Mike Watkins who committed last summer and suddenly Penn State has a core of talent among two classes unlike anything in the program’s history.

via Penn State basketballs stunning success recruiting Delmarva could mark dawning of a new age |

* “DMV” actually stands for DC-Maryland-Virginia and refers to the DC metro area. Delmarva refers to the peninsula east of the Chesapeake Bay.

City of Basketball Love:

While [Tony Carr] did not know too much about Maryland, he mentioned that Penn State offers something that no other school can match: the opportunity to once again play alongside Garner.

“Shep Garner goes there now, so that kind of gives Penn State some upside,” Carr said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s more appealing. I think it would just be easier making the transition there. It would be just like the Roman transition.”

Carr has already visited both Temple and La Salle, and both offer him unique advantages.

“I think Temple is a great school. It’s right around the corner from my house, so I’ll be close to my family,” he said. “La Salle is a great school too. One of the coaches, Horace Owens, I’ve known him since I was a young kid. So that’s a kind of upside.”

Carr plans on visiting Penn State and Maryland in the next month, and may also take a trip to Rhode Island. He has an idea of what he will be looking for as he tours each prospective campus.

“The most important factors in looking at a college is a college where my game would translate to,” he said, “and the most important thing is where I can come in and play.”

via High-majors calling on Tony Carr after Peach Jam run | City of Basketball Love.

City of Basketball Love:

Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers had made the trip down to Gallaudet University to watch [Deividas "Davis" Zemgulis,] the 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing, who had 17 points in the losing effort.

He was impressed with Zemgulis’ performance enough to extend a scholarship offer, and quickly a relationship formed between Chambers, Somerville and Zemgulis.

It was the only offer that Zemgulis would need.

Though the original plan was to play through the whole July live period and see who else offered, by May 12, he’d come to the conclusion that Chambers and PSU offered everything he wanted. Somerville didn’t need to be convinced any further.

“The more Davis thought about it,” he said, “the more he said ‘what am I waiting for, they have everything I want?’ And I said ‘that’s my opinion.’”

That Penn State had only made the NCAA Tournament once in the past 13 years didn’t bother him in the slightest.

“I really liked the facility, the coaching staff is awesome, I could hang out with the players, I loved the campus,” Zemgulis said. “I want to help the team win, because I like being the underdog and just playing hard, playing tough.”

In a late-night consolation-bracket game at the Showdown, Zemgulis scored 13 points in a loss, with Chambers and assistant Brian Daly watching from the baseline. Though his shot wasn’t falling as consistently as it usually does–Somerville said he’s seen Zemgulis hit 40 straight in a workout–it was easy to see why the former Villanova assistant and Boston University head coach was so intrigued.

He’s got a wingspan that’s easily 6-9 or 6-10, with the ability to put the ball on the floor though he said that’s the part of his game he needs to work on the most. Zemgulis can pull up from the mid-range with a quick release but also works well off screens and drifts to open spots on the perimeter while his guards drive-and-kick.

Most impressively, though, is what he does on the other end. Far from a typical European shooter, Zemgulis is a very good athlete (and good student, with a 3.9 GPA) who will come off the weak side to block shots, rebounds well and doesn’t mind mixing it up in the paint.

“Honestly, Penn State got a steal,” Somerville said. “And I mean, that is no disrespect whatsoever to Penn State…but in terms of the top 25 rankings, there’s no doubt in my mind that he could have gone to a school in the top 15 or so. But he’s at the absolute right place.

via Deividas Zemgulis a “steal” for Penn State | City of Basketball Love.

Photo: Josh Verlin for City of Basketball Love

Black Shoe Diaries’ Chad Markulics with some deep Penn State basketball recruiting reporting:

[Samir] Doughty is looking to secure offers from more high-majors this month, but Penn State should be in pretty good standing come the end of the period. He appears to be close friends with Watkins and the Nittany Lions were the first power conference team to extend an offer. Doughty isnt a true point guard, but he is a gifted scorer and there’s always a spot for a player like that on a Big Ten roster. There is some thought that his offer may no longer be “committable” after Reaves chose PSU just a few days after the Advanced Skills Camp in State College, but I’m not one to dismiss Chambers’ penchant for combo guards in this instance.

via Penn State Basketball Recruiting: July Live Period, Day 2 Update – Black Shoe Diaries.

Penn State basketball jumps to No. 10 in national recruiting rankings after 4-star SG Josh Reaves commits |

We’re No. 10

Actually, Penn State is No. 9 right now. Tough finding a picture of Chambers holding up nine fingers, though.


With a commitment from four-star shooting guard Josh Reaves, Penn State today jumped to No. 10 in national recruiting rankings compiled by Reaves is a 6-4, 185-pound prospect from Oak Hill Academy in Fairfax, Va., who chose the Nittany Lions over Villanova and Georgetown.

Reaves is the headliner in a recruiting class that also features four-star power forward Mike Watkins and three-star small forward Deividas Zemgulis….

via Penn State basketball jumps to No. 10 in national recruiting rankings after 4-star SG Josh Reaves commits |

Nits with two in top ESPN’s top 100:


ESPN Basketball Recruiting – Player Rankings – ESPN.

City of Basketball Love:

Penn State basketball is building its most impressive recruiting class in quite some time.

What was an already an impressive recruiting haul by head coach Patrick Chambers got a whole lot stronger on Tuesday night, with the announcement by Oak Hill Academy (Va.) combo guard Josh Reaves that he would be a Nittany Lion.

Reaves joins 3-star small forward Deividas Zemgulis (St. Mary Ryken, Md.) as well as 4-star Mike Watkins (Math, Civics & Sciences, Pa.) in a 2015 class that is looking more impressive by the day.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s the best fit for me,” Reaves told CoBL. “Coach [Pat] Chambers and coach Dwayne [Anderson], they’ve just been very supportive of me since day one. They’ve always been there for me through everything and I just feel like that’s the best place for me.”

This offseason, Reaves transferred from Paul VI to Oak Hill Academy (Va.), where he’ll join several other high-major recruits like fellow Big Ten commit Andrew Fleming (Iowa) at the national prep powerhouse. Reaves is listed as the 71st-best 2015 prospect by and the 26th-best at his position. Reaves also received offers from Villanova, Georgetown, Temple, Maryland, Wake Forest and VCU.

Despite heavy interest from some of the high-profile programs, Reaves felt most comfortable committing to Happy Valley and Nittany Nation.

“That’s the best fit for me, and I feel like I can help build a program to compete at the highest level,” Reaves said. “The academics are great, the Big Ten is great, one of the best conferences in the country, and I just want to be part of something that feels like home–and it really does.”

A 6-foot-4, 185-pound wing guard, Reaves has been a fast riser on the recruiting circuit due to his scoring ability, high motor and basketball I.Q. Capable of playing both guard spots, which he did both for his former Paul VI (Va.) high school team and Team Takeover on the AAU circuit, he’s best suited off the ball, where he’s a dangerous scorer from all three levels.

Reaves recently spent time at the Penn State Basketball Skills Camp where he got a chance to play in front of the coaching staff and get a first-hand look at the program as well as his fellow recruits, Watkins and Zemgulis.

“I played against [Watkins] at the elite camp, and he’s going to be a monster,” Reaves said. “Right now he’s pure athleticism, talent and strength, but if we just get everybody working on the little stuff, I feel like we’re going to be really good.”…

via Penn State gets commitment from 2015 SG Josh Reaves | City of Basketball Love.

More skills camp, this time from BT Powerhouse:

Recruiting: A Look At the Penn State Advanced Skills Camp - BT Powerhouse

Easily the highest prospect on Chambers list of the 2016 triumvirate that came to Happy Valley, Joe Hampton (pictured, right) displayed why he is regarded as, at the minimum, a Top-70 talent Ranked No. 69 in the 247 Composite, but No. 38 on the Top247 list.

As he is wont to do, Hampton devoured the boards and did some heavy lifting downlow. Despite being undersized as a 4, Hampton is an excellent low post player, and his nose for the ball on the glass was apparent. Hampton has been to PSU a few times, but also holds offers from DePaul and Xavier, with Maryland reportedly beginning to draw a lot of attention from the 6’6″ forward.

A.J. Wilson is an altogether different 6’6″ forward. His athleticism is elite and his jumper is anything but. Penn State offered Wilson a scholarship back in December, and this was his first time back on campus since November (Pennsylvania is considerably more inviting in June than November, a plus for Chambers.) Wilson dazzled with his high-flying activities, and showed an improved if still inconsistent offensive game. PSU remains Wilson’s only scholarship offer.

The last of the 2016 trio measures in just a bit shorter than the 6’6″ his possible future teammates stand. That would be the diminutive Alani Moore of DeMatha Catholic (Md.). According to 247Sports, “The 5-foot-9 floor general held court for two days – finding teammates with inventive passes, knocking down shots from beyond the arc, and getting to the rim off the bounce.” Moore only has an offer from PSU on the table, as most teams are still a bit wary of his stature. However, he has two more years to grow and if he can add another three or four inches this kid is going to shoot way up the rankings and onto every East Coast scout’s radar.

via Recruiting: A Look At the Penn State Advanced Skills Camp – BT Powerhouse.

Lions 247 with a great Skills Camp writeup:

Penn State hosted its most talented camp, by far, under fourth-year head coach Patrick Chambers over the weekend.

2015 SG Josh Reaves is at the top Penn State’s wishlist.

Among those in attendance were 2015 verbal commits in Mike Watkins and Deividas Zemgulis, in addition to standout senior Josh Reaves.

2015 commits

Mike Watkins

Penn State’s first 2015 commit continued to show improvements with his game on the court. Watkins showed off a nice post move on 2016 forward Joe Hampton, in addition to his usual assortment of blocks and rebounds. The 6-foot-8 215 pounder still bites on a pump fake every now and again, but looks more fluid since his first trip to camp last summer.

Deividas Zemgulis

The Lithuania native every bit of his listed 6-foot-6, and is one hell of a basketball player. Zemgulis has a nose for the ball on defense and was always in the mix for defensive boards. Offensively,the St. Mary’s Ryken senior was lights out from all over the court, which included a go-ahead three off a pick with 14 seconds to go to put his team in the lead for good. He’s a good athlete with a skill set that translates nicely to the next level.

2015 targets

Josh Reaves

Fresh off a high school switch to national power Oak Hill Academy, Reaves was all over the court at the Penn State camp. The Nittany Lions coaching staff gave the 247Sports Composite No. 93 player a five-star treatment, chatting in his ear at every turn. Playing on assistant coach Dwayne Anderson’s team, Reaves was electric in transition and active on defense. The athletic 6-foot-5 guard is the top target on Penn State’s board for 2015, and he’s high on the Nittany Lions as well. …

Is that a corner up ahead?

via Penn State basketball Advanced Skills notebook.