We're reached that point in the season for Penn State basketball. The team just beat Rutgers for its first Big Ten win of the season, but the NIT still seems like a longshot with 11 games remaining in the regular season. Even if the Lions win the three games necessary to end the season above .500, they would still need to be granted entry into the 32-team field with very few quality wins to their name.
That's why it's time to trade D.J. Newbill while he still has time to make a difference for an NCAA Tournament contender. The stellar combo guard has yet to play in the big dance despite three excellent seasons with Penn State. By moving him before it's too late, the Lions can give their man a chance for his One Shining Moment while at the same time gaining some important pieces for the future of the program.
Let's take a look at the top trade candidates.
Acquire: Tum Tum Nairn and Marvin Clark
Why they do it: The Spartans can shoot the ball really well this season thanks to Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine, but their usually stellar defense has dropped off a bit. Newbill may be able to help out a bit on that front, but more importantly he'll boost Michigan State's free throw rate. Without Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, the 2015 Spartans are a little shy when it comes to getting to the charity stripe. Newbill has a sexy jump shot, but he doesn't hesitate to bully his way into the lane when he has to.
Nairn and Clark are both freshman who can help Penn State in the future. While the former has gotten off to a slow start but still has plenty of potential to tap, the latter can give Penn State's tepid forward rotation a nice kick in the rear.
Acquire: Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ
Why they do it: Koenig has done a nice job filling in for Traevon Jackson ever since the senior point guard broke his foot in Piscataway. However, the Badgers can still stand to do better at the point guard spot. Koenig is an excellent shooter, but that's an area where Wisconsin already excels. Meanwhile, a player like Newbill can get into the lane, attract attention, and create easy opportunities for Frank Kaminsky and the rest of the talented forwards. Oh, and Newbill can shoot it as well.
The Lions would take back Koenig, who should develop into a solid player in his two remaining years of eligibility. Ethan Happ, a freshman forward from Illinois, is thrown in to bridge the talent gap and give the Lions some much-needed potential in their frontcourt.
Acquire: Kameron Chatman and Aubrey Dawkins
Why they do it: Although Michigan could probably use a big man or two just as much, Newbill fits in because of the recent injury to Caris LeVert. Newbill can step in and provide a similar offensive impact for a Michigan team that is still not out of the NCAA Tournament hunt. Some pundits still think the Wolverines will fall off the bubble once their schedule gets tougher, but the addition of Newbill can put them right back in the conversation.
Like Nairn, Chatman is a highly-touted freshman who hasn't made a huge impact during his freshman year so far. With Michigan looking to make a push in 2015, the athletic swingman heads to State College along with Dawkins, who should add a much-needed shooting punch to Penn State's future.
All these trades are obviously fantasy, but would they work if they could happen? Let this desperate Penn State fan know in the comments section.