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Putting Penn State Hoops’ Pair Of NBA Combine Invites Into Perspective

Despite an offseason overhaul of mass proportion, Penn State men’s basketball’s most recent campaign flipped the program’s lackluster image into a formidable Big Ten force heading into its first Big Dance appearance in 12 years.

Micah Shewsberry’s crew capped off a 19-win regular season with four marquee postseason victories, including three Big Ten Tournament triumphs and an additional upset over Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament. 

Through the heights of team-spanning accomplishments, veteran cornerstones Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy warranted postseason recognition, nabbing Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors among just three other conference commodities. Moreover, Pickett snagged a first-team All-Big Ten distinction coupled with a unanimous All-American tag, while Lundy concluded his fourth go-around with the Nittany Lions with an All-Big Ten honorable mention label. 

The pair of versatile weapons both declared for the NBA Draft within days of Shrewsberry’s departure from Happy Valley to Notre Dame, as the two are now seeking to become the first drafted products from Penn State since the New Orleans Pelicans selected Tony Carr with pick No. 51 in 2018. Pickett and Lundy also landed spots in the upcoming NBA Combine, which is prepped to feature a record 78 players beginning on Monday, May 15. 

With two NBA Combine invitations heading into the 2023 draft in late June, the Nittany Lions have nearly doubled their total combine participants with the recent addition of Pickett and Lundy since the event began in 1987. Following the combine’s inception, only Jarrett Stephens, Tony Carr, and Lamar Stevens have earned invitations after hanging up their blue and white threads. 

Within the Nittany Lions’ 126-year history on the hardwood, just 14 players have reached the NBA stage, making Pickett and Lundy’s combine invitations a consequential program milestone. Moreover, only three prospects have ever been drafted into the association from Penn State, giving Pickett and Lundy the opportunity to accentuate the program’s brand and growth on a national stage. 

Currently, Pickett is projected to be a “potential second-round pick,” according to Sports Illustrated. While the New York native possesses the size to function as off-guard at the next level, his unorthodox offensive style makes him challenging to project in the face of NBA frontcourts. 

Similarly, Lundy’s 6’6” frame and prowess from beyond the arc gives the New Jersey staple an edge as a three-and-D, plug-and-play asset. While most scouts project Lundy to land on an NBA Summer League squad as an undrafted signee, his ability to fill the stat sheet in bunches could lift him onto a 15-man roster come October. 

The NBA Combine is set to begin at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 15, in Chicago, with drills and workouts streamed live on the NBA App. After a break in the action on Tuesday, coverage will continue on ESPN2 spanning from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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