PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

More

Mike Watkins’ Stellar Freshman Campaign Compared With The Nation

Penn State men’s basketball forward Mike Watkins has been the standout of the Nittany Lions’ first half of the season.

Coming off a 15-point/15-rebound double-double — his fourth of the season — to help Penn State knock off No. 24 Minnesota for its first win against a ranked opponent this season, Watkins is starting to receive some national attention for his contributions to the surging Nittany Lions.

Averaging 10.3 points per game — fifth best on the team currently — he’s made an impact in sort of a secondary role with this team, especially with his contributions coming off the bench in recent weeks.

Still, the 6’9 redshirt freshman is just one of the two true big men on the roster (the other being junior Julian Moore). Watkins success has come in that role on the one-man low post, making him the focal point of any play in the paint.

He leads the team in rebounds per game with 8.8 and blocks with 50 — averaging out to 2.8 a game through 18 games this season.

In just his first year of action, Watkins is living up to, or even surpassing, the player coach Pat Chambers built him up to be when he informed that his incoming forward would have to sit out the 2015-16 season.

While he’s been a success for the Nittany Lions, how does his play stack up against the likes of others in the Big Ten and around the nation?

Blocks

Watkins made his name known in the Bryce Jordan Center on night one with his ability as a shot blocker — recording three stuffs within minutes of tipoff and finishing with five total. He peaked during the St. John’s matchup on December 18 as the No. 4 blocker in the country.

Currently he’s the No. 12 shot blocker in the country and the top freshman — leading the next closest first-year player, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams, by nine blocks total.

In conference, Watkins is second in this category to Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch — the nation’s fourth-best blocker with 54.

Rebounds

As stated earlier, Watkins is just one of two true big men on this roster. Most of the responsibility on the boards is going to come down to him if he’s the primary big man in the lineup. He’s fared well with the bulk of the load, putting up respectable numbers in this category as well.

Nationally, he clocks in as No. 58 in the category. Among freshmen though, he’s second to only UCLA’s TJ Leaf — who leads Watkins by just 0.1 rebound a game.

Watkins has the fourth-most boards in the Big Ten and is third-best in grabbing defensive rebounds in the conference.

Double-Doubles

While he’s only fifth on the team in scoring, Watkins is still averaging more than 10 points a game. This has set him up on a bigger rebounding days to secure those four double-doubles.

He became the first Big Ten freshman since 2003 to record at least three double-doubles in a game.

While his numbers didn’t crack the top 100 among all players nationally, Watkins is currently tied for third in the nation for a freshman. He is also tied for sixth among all players in a conference that features Naismith watch list forward Caleb Swanigan — the nation’s No. 2 in double-doubles with 14.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
OR
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

Comments

State College Links
Other posts by Steve

Penn State Softball’s Season Ends With Big Ten Tournament Loss To Indiana

The Hoosiers made the Penn State defense work and used an aggressive third inning to take the lead and move on in the tournament.

Penn State Softball’s Toni Polk And Chelsea Bisi Earn All-Big Ten Selections

Penn State Softball Gears Up For Return To Big Ten Tournament

No. 7 Penn State Shocked By Illinois 20-18 In Nine Overtime Periods

Illinois took down the Nittany Lions in the ninth overtime period at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

No. 7 Penn State Shocked By Illinois 20-18 In Nine Overtime Periods

Illinois took down the Nittany Lions in the ninth overtime period at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

Gameday Coverage: No. 7 Penn State vs. Illinois

All eyes are on Penn State’s quarterbacks for this one.

Staff Predictions: No. 7 Penn State vs. Illinois

Our staff thinks Penn State will cruise to a victory over Illinois this weekend.

Send this to a friend