Putting Tony Carr’s Commitment To Penn State Hoops In Perspective
Penn State signed the top recruit in the state of Pennsylvania. Without any other context, you’d assume that “Penn State” refers to James Franklin and his football program. Times sure are changing, because that “Penn State” refers to Pat Chambers and the basketball program he’s attempting to rebuild.
The magnitude of this signing transcends the commitment of one player; it’s one that can transform a program. The feat Chambers accomplished is more than just commendable — it’s simply incredible. For starters, Tony Carr — listed at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds and No. 52 on the 2016 ESPN Top 100 prospects list — could’ve covered his eyes with a blindfold, thrown a dart, and hit a respectable program that offered him a scholarship. Realistically, this kid could’ve committed wherever he wanted to. His laundry list of offers includes the likes of Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Maryland, Indiana, etc. But instead of committing to a stable program with a history of success, he gave Pat Chambers and Nittany Nation his word, and that could mean something far greater than anybody can imagine.
At 2:00 p.m. on August 3, Chambers got the man he’s been looking for all along — a prized recruit to resurrect his program.
Now, Tony Carr may develop into a special player during his time in Happy Valley, but this team won’t be the one-man show D.J. Newbill operated last season. His commitment undoubtedly bolsters the roster, but Chambers’ 2016 squad could turn out to be special. Looking at the 2016 roster on paper, the Nittany Lions own a backcourt that could rival some of the best in the country with Carr manning the point, highly-touted 2015 recruit Josh Reaves playing the two-guard spot, and an experienced sharpshooter in Shep Garner providing a spark off the bench. The best part is, the lineup can be adjusted on a nightly basis, depending on the team’s opponent. One night, Shep could take point, with Reaves off the bench while Carr shifts to shooting guard. Another night, it could be Reaves that plays the sixth-man role. That’s a deadly three man rotation, one that could potentially score baskets in droves.
With Penn State’s backcourt bursting with talent, big men Joe Hampton and Mike Watkins could round out the frontcourt with an equally skilled combination of size and production. Nazeer Bostick — Carr’s Roman Catholic teammate and fellow 2016 commit — could earn a spot as an undersized small forward, adding an element of chemistry alongside Carr.
With past teams, it’s typically been one player who drew all of the defensive attention while being tasked with shouldering the weight of the team. Frazier had Newbill, but after Frazier graduated, Newbill mainly had himself, with streaky production from Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner. Looking at what this 2016 team could look like, with Carr as the centerpiece, there is potential for production across the floor. Teams will have to decide who to apply the majority of the attention towards, instead of constantly doubling up on a player like Newbill. It’s merely speculation at this point, but it’s never been warranted as much as it has been right now.
Tony Carr is only one player — one who hasn’t yet played his first collegiate game — but his commitment might just steer this streaky program from the abyss, and elevate it to the next level. The thought of Penn State competing in the Big Ten is more feasible than ever.
The new era of Penn State basketball has arrived, so buckle your seatbelts and get your popcorn ready. Though 2016 is still a long ways away, the future never looked so bright.
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