Links to the spring preview:

https://spartanbreakdown.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/spring-big-ten-preview-13-penn-state-pt-i/

https://spartanbreakdown.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/spring-big-ten-preview-13-penn-state-pt-ii/

WHAT’S CHANGED?

PSU lost likely starting guard Geno Thorpe to a transfer (to South Florida) in June. Thorpe wasn’t likely to emerge as a superstar but losing him definitely took the Nits back a bit in terms of their rotation, as he scored almost 9 ppg last season and was a proven commodity on the defensive end. He was the only roster change from the Spring, as PSU didn’t add any late recruits or lose anyone else to defection.

BOTTOM LINE

I had PSU 12th in the spring and essentially they’re unchanged…I have them tied for that spot heading into the season once I’ve had a chance to evaluate the schedule. Early practice reports suggest that incoming freshman guard Josh Reaves has been impressive and that’s important with the absence of Thorpe…Reaves would seem to be a very likely candidate to start.

PSU is on the way up. Reaves and classmate and power forward Mike Watkins were two impact recruits and Pat Chambers has followed it up with an even stronger (on paper, at least) 2016 class. Finally, he seems to be getting his message across to Philly area kids and in turn seems to be upgrading the talent. This season is likely going to be a struggle, though. DJ Newbill was as critical to his team’s offense as any one player in the conference last season and PSU has no obvious replacement for his scoring production. Guys like Shep Garner, Brandon Taylor, Jordan Dickerson, etc. are solid, respectable players but they don’t have anybody you’d expect to play at an all conference level. For this team, this season, it’s going to have to be about effort and energy overcoming a lack of obvious firepower. I think they’ll struggle to do that enough to come close to a winning season in the league.