The recruiting process is an interesting thing, especially over the last few years with kids earning scholarship offers as early as middle school. That trend has become increasingly popular, and now we have a variety of programs fighting viciously for prospects that can’t even drive yet. DePaul has been at the forefront of this, offering prior to high school and securing verbal commits from young prospects, which typically doesn’t last very long. That being said, Penn State has been fairly patient in their evaluation process for the Class of 2021. They’ve only offered three individuals in that class, and two of them actually play together here in the Carolinas, BJ Freeman and Tyler Rice.
There are more differences than similarities between the two Team Loaded guys, but they’re both capable contributors with a lot of upside. Freeman already stands at a sturdy 6-foot-6 and has been very intriguing in various settings. It’s easy to see his natural basketball talent in the camp setting, where he tends to score and rebound the ball at will. Freeman has continually improved his ball-skills and ability to create from the perimeter, but still thrives when getting downhill and attacking the rim with aggression. His overall poise and feel for the game have both noticeably improved since last summer. Freeman is a willing passer, but there is plenty of room for him to grow as a creator for others. Brian Clifton and the no-nonsense approach at Word of God should unlock how to most effectively utilize Freeman and his two-way versatility.
Though he’s already went on multiple unofficial visits, this scholarship marks the first offer for Rice. The point guard comes from a family of athletes and could continue growing physically, but looks ready to dominate either way. He’s an incredibly smart floor general with terrific playmaking and scoring instincts. Rice is a well-rounded guard that plays nearly mistake-free on offense, never forcing the action or looking to make an unnecessary read. He plays with a calm demeanor at all times and reads the floor effectively in transition. Rice scores the ball efficiently from all three levels and displays a clear willingness to share the ball, showing no worries about who scores. The Ridge View guard is expected to turn some heads this upcoming season, especially given the success of his freshman campaign. There are numerous paths that these prospects could take, but Penn State would be overjoyed to get the duo and they’d actually fit quite nicely with the Nittany Lions.