Penn State Basketball G Jalen Pickett Not Playing in March Madness Would be a Disgrace

Penn State Basketball
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

I had a tweet that caused a bit of activity in the Penn State community this past week and that was what I considered the Mount Rushmore of Penn State Basketball.

I landed on Lamar Stevens, Talor Battle, DJ Newbill, and Jalen Pickett.

Plenty of other names just missed the list like Jesse Arnelle, Joe Crispin, Calvin Booth, and Tony Carr. The consensus was that Stevens and Battle were locks in the list while the other two spots often determined what era of Nittany Lions Basketball you remember the most fondly.

While many didn’t debate the ability of Pickett, they did argue that only playing for Penn State for two years doesn’t qualify him.

I would argue against that because he is arguably the most talented player we have seen at Penn State since joining the Big 10 other than Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr.

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Penn State Basketball G Jalen Pickett having best season few know about

Pickett is also having a historical season in that he could be just the second player in the past 30 years to average 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game.

Currently the senior guard sits at 18.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 6.8 apg. He has been the heart and soul of the team this year and can single handedly be credited for many of the big wins.

That brings us back to the title of this article, Pickett not playing in March Madness would be a disservice to the college basketball world.

It isn’t debatable that if Pickett played on a more traditional college basketball power, he would be in the running for First Team All-American and the talk of the sport.

The Penn State Basketball history and lack of national exposure has held Pickett down from the recognition he deserves. Whether it is coaching or a lack of help from teammates, Pickett may not get his chance.

Penn State Basketball needs to go 2-0 against Northwestern and Maryland to finish the regular season, as well as win a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament to have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.

Sunday’s Penn State Basketball loss to Rutgers was embarrassing on multiple levels, but the fact that nobody could hit a shot when Pickett continued to be double teamed in the 2nd half was an atrocity. If the three-point shot isn’t falling for Lundy and Funk, then it allows defenses to key in on Pickett and make it difficult for him to get any open shots in the post and the offense just stalls every single possession.

That brings us to the overall discussion, Penn State Basketball is simply wasting Jalen Pickett.

I may not have as long a fandom of some, but in my short 25-year life I have not seen a player that is more talented than Pickett other than maybe Lamar Stevens. He is the type of player that could make waves in the NCAA Tournament and possibly carry the Nittany Lions to the 2nd weekend for just the second time in program history. Jalen deserves his shine for how dominant he has been this season and not getting to see him in the NCAA Tournament is a disgrace.

 

While the NIT may be a good achievement for a historically bad program, having one of the greatest players to ever wear the Blue and White go out in a consolation tournament just doesn’t feel right.

I don’t ask for much from Penn State Basketball. I don’t need Final 4 or Elite 8 tournament runs. All I ask is for Penn State to make the NCAA Tournament. I’d give anything to relive the excitement and heartbreak of the 2011 season. I’d take being a first four team in Dayton.

I think most Penn State Basketball fans have a similar sentiment. Just make the dance 3 or 4 times a decade and at least be on the bubble most years. With one of the oldest teams in college basketball, 2023 needed to be one of those seasons.

Here is to hoping for a 40 point Jalen Pickett game in Evanston as it seems like a Superman performance is our last hope. If Penn State loses either game this week, it is time to start rewatching Drew Allar and Nick Singleton highlights.

Penn State Basketball
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