Penn State a future fit for Lazenby?

Nate Bauer, Senior Editor
Blue White Illustrated

Ty Lazenby is visiting Oklahoma by now, and is set to take a three-day trip to Utah on Monday.

All the while, the Northern Oklahoma College-Enid guard will have a recent Penn State visit to keep in mind.

Arriving in State College with his father Monday evening, staying until Wednesday, the 6-foot-5 junior college product detailed a trip that he called “really good” and left feeling impressed by.

“I really liked the players. The coaching staff, they're just really enthusiastic guys and that's kind of how I am. They're go-getters and that's always fun to play for guys like that,” said Lazenby. “And then the players, Big Mike, Tony and Shep, all of them, they were all great. It was a good trip.”

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Lazenby’s impressions of the players and staff could prove to be especially important when he makes a decision between his four primary options - UNC-Charlotte, Oklahoma, Utah and Penn State - at the latest by the first week in May. Texas Tech also remains a possibility as he decides on potentially making a visit to Lubbock.

While he said he enjoyed touring campus with head coach Patrick Chambers, checking out the Creamery for ice cream and taking in a video presentation at Beaver Stadium, Lazenby laid out the factors that are going to dictate his decision.

“Really, the beauty of the campuses and all that, that's nice, but you're going to be with your basketball family 95 percent of the time. So, that's the biggest part that plays into it for me is who I'm going to be around and who I'm putting around me to further me as a basketball player obviously but further me as a person also,” said Lazenby. “That's the coaches and players and the whole team is something that's going to play the biggest role. And like I said, I couldn't find one problem with the Penn State coaching staff and the players. It's definitely going to be a really tough decision, wherever it is.”

Participating in a half hour shooting workout, as well as an hour and a half of pickup ball with Penn State’s current players, Lazenby said he thoroughly enjoyed getting in the run.

A self-described shooter who has put in countless hours working on his offensive game, Lazenby’s potential role with the Nittany Lions was also one he closely understood. Sitting down for a closed door meeting with Chambers before dinner, Lazenby learned more about what Penn State has envisioned following a season in which he averaged 22.9 points on 45.1 percent shooting from the floor and 35.9 percent from three.

“He showed me some of the shots that they missed, big threes and just shots that need to go in every now and then,” said Lazenby. “He said that's what he wants, he just wants someone that can come in and score the basketball and I think that's something I can do well and I think I could help with.”

Whether or not Lazenby does as much at Penn State will likely depend on his experiences the next two weeks, beginning with his trip to Oklahoma.

A home-state offer from the Sooners, however, was something Lazenby said he wanted to be purposefully deliberate about. Wanting to make the most of his final two seasons of eligibility, the decision is one the NJCAA first team All-American is taking with the utmost seriousness.

“A lot of kids would see OU on the table and probably call it a done deal. But, I only have two years left and if I go on a visit there and it doesn't feel like the place for me, then I would never put myself in a situation and go somewhere where I don't feel like I fit in,” said Lazenby. “I mean, obviously it's an honor just having them interested in you, especially being from Oklahoma and that's the two teams. But I couldn't make the decision based on location just because of the location.”

With that in mind, Lazenby said he is letting his faith lead the way toward his future home.

“I was always raised up in a faith based household, and I just believe that God wouldn't let me go to a place where it wouldn't be the right fit,” said Lazenby. “That's one thing about Penn State is I didn't have that feeling that this isn't a place I want to go to. So it's just kind of one of those things, if I feel comfortable and it has the right feeling. I rely on that pretty much.”

Previously staying close to home due to his mother’s battle with breast cancer, having since passed away tragically last August, Lazenby is committed to staying open to the best of his opportunities.

Describing his offers out of high school as only from a pair of junior colleges and two Division IIs, having played his prep ball for Glencoe High (in which he helped win three state championships), this is an opportunity he wants to maximize.

“Enid was close and my mom, she was sick at the time with breast cancer so I wanted to stay close to her. So no, I never would have thought I would have gone east, but she actually passed away this past August. It was really tough, but we have a great family,” he said. “Sadly, it's off the table, so I definitely don't mind going far away just because at this point, I feel like I gotta do what I gotta do.”

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