Penn State men’s basketball forward Mike Watkins will not be available for the start of the Nittany Lions season as he deals with off-court issues, according to a report from Lions247.
The statement from Penn State Athletics did not indicate how long the star big man would be out, just that he is unavailable indefinitely until “he has made satisfactory progress toward resolving off-court matters and meets the standards and expectations we have established for Penn State Basketball.”
Watkins ran into trouble with the law twice this offseason — including an incident over the summer when he was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a citation earlier this school year for disorderly conduct.
Watkins was a key member of Penn State’s team during the 2017-18 regular season, leading the team in rebounding, blocks, and field goal percentage. The 6-foot-9 low post starter missed the end of the regular season and all of the the team’s Big Ten semifinal and NIT title runs with a right knee injury.
Without him, as well as the academically ineligible Satchel Pierce, in the front court, the Nittany Lions will likely have to rely on John Harrar — a six-foot-nine sophomore who started eight games en route to that NIT title in the absence of the injured Pierce and Watkins.
Penn State will play an exhibition game on Saturday at West Virginia for its first action of the 2018-19 slate. The season officially starts Friday at home against North Florida.
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