Pat Chambers and his staff will be hosting two high school teammates on unofficial visits this weekend, when Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic 2014 four-star guard Shep Garner and 2015 guard Traci Carter travel to State College.
Garner claims offers from Penn State, St. Joseph’s, Rutgers, Memphis, Villanova and Florida.
While both underclassmen have been verbally offered scholarships from the Nittany Lions, Roman Catholic head coach Chris McNesby is really impressed with his junior guard’s game, talking about Garner’s strengths.
“I think it’s his overall feel for the game is what I like the best,” admitted McNesby on Thursday night. “There’s times in the game where he knows he’s got to make a shot, but there’s also times when he makes the right decision, the unselfish play.
“He’s a good teammate who gets the other guys involved. Shep really likes the transition game and has a lot of range too, so he can stretch defenses with a jumper.”
Playing more of a combo guard role on his high school team, Garner projects as a true point at the next level and has the skills to be effective in any league. Having earned significant minutes since his freshman year, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder was thrust into more of a leadership role this past season.
Now as a junior, Garner will be a part of a four guard offense, alongside Carter, 2013 Robert Morris commit Britton Lee and talented 2014 guard Rashann London.
“We’re lucky we have a couple front court guys with size, so if we’re getting beat with the four-guard look we can always throw some bodies down low,” said McNesby. “I think we can speed teams up on defense and not let them get into a set offense, our four-guard look will get us some easy transition buckets and be a fun style to play.”
Carter, who will be making the trip this weekend with Garner, came to Roman after spending his freshman year at Prep Charter.
“He actually was going to be coming to Roman as a freshman but his grandmother said I know you want to go to Roman, but prove it to me,” explained McNesby. “She said go get good grades for a year and if it works out you’ll be at Roman next year.
Carter spent his freshman year at Prep Charter.
“We’re ecstatic to have him, he brings a nice dimension to us. He’s another combo guy who likes to score, but I think his future will be at the point, getting him the ball with his head up. He sees the floor really well for a young guy.”
Unfortunately, the sophomore was injured and out much of the season last year, so this will be his first campaign at the high school level, with somewhat of an adjustment period expected.
Sporting offers from St. Joseph’s, Rutgers, Memphis, Villanova and Florida, in addition to one from the Nittany Lions, three head coaches have already been to see Garner this week. Hawks head coach Phil Martelli, Scarlet Knights head man Mike Rice and Chambers have all visited and shown their interest in the Philadelphia product.
“Shep has some interest, but the thing about Shep is he isn’t caught up in the recruitment at all, he just really wants to win,” said McNesby. “He isn’t in any rush to make a decision just yet, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Xavier has been showing interest as well in the Team Final AAU baller, who McNesby said became more of a complete player this summer.
“Young guys tend to only play on one end of the court, but he’s really starting to play on both ends now, and he’s starting to understand how he can get himself involved and make more plays.”