Penn State Hoops’ Lamar Stevens Declares For NBA Draft, Retains Eligibility With Intent To Stay
Penn State men’s basketball star Lamar Stevens declared for the NBA Draft on Tuesday, but he also told the media he still intends to return to Penn State for his senior season.
“After discussing with my family, coaches, and teammates, I’ve decided that I’m going to declare for the [NBA] draft,” Stevens said. “I’m going to retain my eligibility by staying in school, doing all the right things. Through the new rules, I have hired an agent with the full intent to stay.”
Stevens, who was a first team All-Big Ten selection, averaged 19.9 points, which was second only to Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, and 7.7 rebounds per game this year. The rising senior commented on the great support from everyone around him throughout the process, singling out the coaching staff’s efforts.
“I don’t feel any pressure either way to stay or leave,” Stevens said at the end-of-season press conference. “Both options are great for me.”
Stevens ranks fifth on Penn State’s all-time scoring list with 1,660 career points. The Roman Catholic product scored 637 points this season, which would easily be enough to break Talor Battle’s record of 2,213 points if he replicates his junior year production.
“This is my dream, and I’m confident that my game is ready. I feel like once I get in front of the NBA personnel I can really impress,” Stevens said.
Stevens is in a similar situation as Tony Carr was last offseason. He has the options of leading a rising young team with a lot of potential or taking the jump to the professional level. Carr was projected to go somewhere in the pick No. 25-40 range, but he was ultimately selected by New Orleans with the 51st pick.
Carr was the first Nittany Lion basketball player drafted this century and only the second Penn Stater drafted ever, which undoubtedly blazes a new path for future prospects who might want to leave the program. Stevens seems like he’s leaning towards returning to Happy Valley, as opposed to Carr, whose draft stock prior to the combine was much better.
“If I don’t get the feedback that I like or they tell me that another year would really improve my stock, then I’m going to come back and help bring this team to new heights,” Stevens said.
Stevens is a year away from graduating, and he noted how important earning his degree is. The 6’8″ forward said he hasn’t decided on any date or timeline for the official verdict on where he’ll spend next year.
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“As soon as his football skills are really sharp, Jayson’s going to be unstoppable.”
Both players will be suspended until August 1, but it’s currently unclear whether or not their suspensions will impact their game availability.
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