Penn State Basketball: Program Hopeful Watkins Headlines Strong 2015 Class
June 13, 2013 12:00 PM
by Ben Jones
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Penn State men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers landed a recruit late Wednesday night who could have a big impact on Penn State's program in the years ahead. But with two years of high school left to go, Michael Watkins won't be on campus for quite some time.

Watkins, a 6-foot-8 center/power forward committed to Penn State late last night, just a few days after the two year anniversary of Patrick Chambers’ hiring as Penn State’s men’s basketball coach.

Watkins currently plays for Team Philly, in a 16 and under league. He's impressed in spring tournaments and has his future coaches fired up about his potential.

For Penn State, the 2015 recruiting class is the kind of thing that can define a legacy for a coaching staff. With four scholarship openings remaining, along with Watkins, 2015 provides Chambers the opportunity to build for the future in a way that could change the perception of Penn State basketball.

Chambers just needs the names to stay put.

The former salesman has been able to land the services of a few highly touted prospects but it hasn’t stuck. Philadelphia product Brandon Austin opened up his recruitment last summer after having committed to Penn State early in the process. Chambers also just missed out on Beaver Falls prospect Sheldon Jeter who is ironically transferring from Vanderbilt after one season.

So Chambers still needs that big name, and he and his staff are thinking --and hoping-- that Watkins is that name. To project even farther, the staff is setting the lofty goal of landing two prospects with NBA potential in the 2015 class. The staff is hopeful that Watkins has the ability to blossom and fulfill at least one of those spots.

As it stands today, by the 2015 season all nine of the Nittany Lions on the roster will be Chambers’ products for the first time in his tenure at Penn State. Most of them will be upperclassmen by the time of Watkins’ planned arrival that same year. The four additional incoming freshmen will join a team full of players fully bought into the “attitude” Chambers sells unlike any other coach in the Big Ten.

In the immediate future, Watkins will transfer to Imhotep Charter High School in Philadelphia to make sure his academics are in order. Watkins wants to stay close to home but far enough away from the perils of Philadelphia city life. Penn State fits the bill. Penn State is also selling him almost immediate playing time at his position.

For fans, it's now a waiting game. Penn State brings in a slew of new talent for the 2013-14 season while keeping the likes of Tim Frazier, Ross Travis and DJ Newbill. While nothing can keep a commit from changing his mind until he signs a letter of intent, each win in 2013 might make the wait for 2015 a little less stressful for those around the program.

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