Lamar Stevens Discusses Cancellation Of Big Ten Tournament, March Madness On Jeff Goodman’s ‘Good N’ Plenty’ Podcast

Penn State men’s basketball star Lamar Stevens joined Jeff Goodman’s Good N’ Plenty podcast to discuss the current coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of this year’s Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

Stevens had a palpable sense of sadness in his voice throughout the interview, which lasted approximately 10 minutes. However, he answered all of Goodman’s questions with the utmost class while effectively conveying the pain he’s felt since this year’s postseason basketball tournaments were canceled.

“My initial thoughts after this — I was really hurt,” Stevens said. “Being a senior, being a guy who hasn’t made the tournament in the previous three years and knowing it was coming to reality, not having any control over it, being seven points away from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer, my heart broke, honestly.”

Stevens added that he thinks he gave everything to Penn State and its basketball program. He also talked about wanting to see the Penn State community rally around the basketball team, which was poised to earn its first NCAA tournament bid since 2011.

The star forward candidly shared he and his teammates’ initial reaction to the news, which they found out while commuting back to State College from the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

“The first time I saw [the news] was on the bus on the way back to the gym after getting off the plane from the Big Ten tournament,” Stevens recalled. “At first, I was in shock. We had a meeting in the locker room right after, and I couldn’t help but hold back tears. Everybody in there was just crying, so emotional, hugging each other. We just weren’t ready for the end.

“We had so much more stuff planned — so many more goals to attain — but we have no shot of doing it.”

Stevens told Goodman that he was back in his bedroom looking back on the memories he made during his college career at the time of the interview. Goodman then asked what he thought the NCAA and Big Ten should’ve done. As a competitor, Stevens wanted the players to have some input.

“They should’ve postponed it — and had a poll that goes out to all the players and coaches to see if guys are willing to miss graduation in May,” he said. “Give us the opportunity to have some say if we want to play at a later date. I know that I wanted to. It’s not fair to the seniors — especially for someone in my position that’s never been [to the tournament].”

At the time of the interview, which took place in the hours after the NCAA canceled this year’s Big Dance, Stevens hadn’t put much thought into the future. He said he still envisioned himself waking up for practice tomorrow morning and pulling on the Penn State uniform a few more times.

“I’m not really ready to move on yet,” he said. “I’m not ready to give that up right now. I know soon, I have to, but for the next couple days, I’m still a college basketball player in my mind — still part of this Penn State basketball team. It’s not something I was ready to let go of on March 12.”

Stevens, who lives off-campus, said that he and the majority of his team will leave Happy Valley to head home on Friday. Penn State’s No. 11 has been talking to some of Penn State’s sports psychologists, and he said that he’d continue communicating with them over the next couple weeks.

Although Stevens was just a few hours — if not minutes — removed from hearing the most devastating college sporitng news of the year, he handled every single one of Goodman’s questions with the utmost class.

“The coronavirus is a serious deal, and I know a lot of people have been affected by it” he said, “but it still hurts for us players. I would 100% still play. Everybody is still kind of in shock about everything.”

You can listen to the full podcast episode here, and Stevens’ interview begins at the 3:30 mark.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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