We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Feb. 23. Let’s get started.
The latest stop on the recruiting merry-go-round finds 2018 prospect Payton Wilson, a 4-star outside linebacker from Hillsborough, N.C., making Penn State one of his seven finalists.
Wilson made that announcement Tuesday night on Twitter. His other finalists are Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Another PSU target, 3-star athlete Brian Asamoah from St. Francis DeSales in Columbus, Ohio, visited last weekend and, per Roar Lions Roar, is poised to announce his finalists Friday. In an interview with RLR, he characterized his stop in Happy Valley this way:
“The visit was crazy, they have you ready to commit right there on the spot. The visit was phenomenal. The opportunity to meet the coaching staff and really seeing what Penn State is about was great. Football is football no matter where you go. What sets programs apart are the people running the show. The culture and the standards that are set. It was one of the top visits I’ve experienced, so it was pretty nice.”
Asamoah, who described himself as a linebacker/safety hybrid, grew up an Ohio State fan. He has visited not just Columbus and Happy Valley in recent weeks but also Cincinnati, West Virginia and Pitt, according to RLR.
Consolation for hoops team
David Jones of Pennlive.com writes that some positives emerged from Penn State’s overtime loss to Big Ten leader Purdue in men’s basketball on Tuesday night.
For one thing, Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins continue to establish themselves as one of the best freshman trios in the conference. Watkins was particularly impressive against the Boilermakers, outplaying highly-touted Caleb Swanigan.
Jones also writes that Josh Reaves is making a case for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He had five more steals against Purdue and leads the conference with 2.3 a game.
On the other hand, juniors Payton Banks and Shep Garner are hurting the Lions with their spotty offensive play, and Carr needs to improve as a playmaker.
The Lions are 14-14 with three regular-season games remaining, and have dropped seven of their last 10 to fall to 6-9 in conference play.
Nonetheless, the Big Ten Network’s Jon Crispin believes Penn State could surprise in the conference tournament in Washington, D.C. A caveat: Crispin once played at PSU before transferring mid-career to UCLA.
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) February 22, 2017
Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away …
Former PSU basketball player Joonas Suotamo served as the understudy to Peter Mayhew, who played the role of Chewbacca in the 2015 renewal of the Star Wars series, “The Force Awakens.”
But, as Statecollege.com’s Geoff Rushton writes, Suotamo will have the role to himself in an as-yet-untitled Han Solo stand-alone film scheduled to be released in 2018.
The 6-foot-11 Suotamo, a native of Finland, had little impact on the court for the Lions but was twice an Academic All-Big Ten selection. He earned his degree in film and video studies in 2008 after just three-and-a-half years.
He played professionally in his native land before taking up acting.
Also in the Land of 10
- The incredible rise of Penn State hockey, which is taking dead aim on an NCAA Tournament berth
- Michigan hangs on to beat Rutgers 68-64, giving John Beilein his 500th Division I victory
- Nebraska assistant coach Keith Williams reportedly pleads ‘no contest’ to DUI charge, gets 30-day jail sentence, fine, probation