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Jamari Wheeler Becoming Key Offensive Weapon For Penn State Hoops

Penn State men’s basketball fans probably didn’t expect to see Jamari Wheeler’s name atop the stat sheet after the team’s season-opening win over Virginia Military Institute Saturday.

2020 has surprised everyone, though, and that’s exactly what happened.

Wheeler led the team with 18 points, a career-high for the senior guard. In doing so, he made four unexpected three-pointers. But interim coach Jim Ferry was not surprised Wheeler became a scoring machine.

“Jamari Wheeler deserved to have a career offensive game today,” Ferry said. “He has put in so much work, and it was not a fluke. He hit four threes today, and he’s been doing that everyday in practice. He’s really used this off time to work on his game.”

While Wheeler may have been putting those kinds of numbers in practice, it hadn’t transferred to the court until recently. Last season, the most threes he made in a game was three, and the most points he scored in a game was 11. Both of those season-highs came against Northwestern.

What Wheeler has shown is his defense, which still proved to be as electric as it was last season. He credits his high offensive production with how he played on defense in the first game of the year.

“I’m always a defensive guy, but defense will lead to easy offense. So whenever we get stops, it will make it easier for me to score,” Wheeler said. “Defense is our bread and butter.”

The great defense was something that a lot of teams expected entering this season. What Wheeler did, however, was change how other teams view him. They knew of his quickness and defensive ability, but now he is another weapon on offense that they will have to stop.

“People have always been knocking him as not a good shooter, but that’s not what we’ve seen,” Ferry added. “This whole preseason he has been one of our best shooters.”

Should we expect these kinds of performances from Wheeler every game this year? Who knows, but what we now know he’s not just a one-sided player. Wheeler has become a threat from multiple angles, and that will only help the Nittany Lions as they move through this season.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a sophomore from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Social Justice in Education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, watching way too much Netflix, and yes mom, actually doing schoolwork. If you would like to talk about sports or your favorite tv show, the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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