STATE COLLEGE, Pa. –– When Lamar Stevens looks at Seth Lundy, he’s reminded of the person and player he was when he first stepped onto Penn State’s campus in 2016.

Stevens, now entering his senior season as one of the top returning players in the Big Ten and a guy many believe can lead the Nittany Lions back to the NCAA Tournament, was thrust into a big role from day one. He started all 33 games he appeared in as a freshman, and that trend continued over the course of his next two seasons.

The Philadelphia native and Roman Catholic grad helped lead Penn State to an NIT title in 2017-18 and took over as the team’s go-to scorer last season, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors in the process.

Lundy, just based on his physical stature, looks a lot like the player Stevens was three years ago. He possesses a Big Ten-ready body and a skill set that couldtransition into meaningful minutes as a freshman. But he won’t have nearly the same workload Stevens did.

“I think Seth Lundy is in an awesome position,” head coach Pat Chambers said at the team’s media day earlier this month. “In years past, we would have to start Seth, and now we can bring Seth along slowly and be patient with him as he follows guys like Lamar Stevens.”

“I think it’s easier for me to transition to the team," Lundy said. Stevens "came in and had a lot of responsibilities on his back. I come in, I know my role. Me competing against Lamar every day is helping me.”

Lundy, then playing for Roman Catholic, dunks against Neumann Goretti in 2017. t
Lundy, then playing for Roman Catholic, dunks against Neumann Goretti in 2017. t

Lundy and Stevens have known each other for some time. They played together at Roman Catholic during the 2015-16 season when Stevens, along with former Nittany Lions Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick, led the Cahilites to a PIAA Class 6A championship.

A few years later, when Lundy was in the spotlight, Roman Catholic won two more Philadelphia Catholic League titles and another state championship.

“We’ve developed a really strong brotherhood and a real trust within each other,” Stevens said of Lundy. “When we play each other, you would think we wouldn’t like each other because he knows my game and I know his game, and we’re always pushing each other to get better.”

“Lamar took me in as a little brother and just showed me the way,” Lundy said. “[He] always kept in contact with me when I was at Roman Catholic. It just carried on when I got here to campus in the summer.”

Lundy isn’t a carbon copy of Stevens on the basketball court. The freshman will likely play more on the wing than in the post this season, and even Stevens will admit that Lundy’s shot is much more polished than his was as a freshman.

“He has really good size, and he has good skill, probably a better three-point shooter than I was coming in,” Stevens said. “He can impact the game in so many ways on offense and defense. He can create his own shot.”

Over the last three seasons, Stevens has provided Chambers and the Penn State program with a lot of moments, and there’s a good amount of expectations for the team heading into the 2019-20 season.

Stevens (left) and Illinois forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili (15) reach for the ball in a game in February.
Robin Scholz / AP
Stevens (left) and Illinois forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili (15) reach for the ball in a game in February.

Stevens brings a high level of intensity to practice each day, and it’s something that he knows will benefit not only himself but also Lundy.

“I try to bring it every day, not just for me, but for guys like Seth to be ready,” Stevens said earlier this month. “He might not have as big of a role this year as [he will] next year, but I just want to prepare him when his role does increase even more and when he does have that pressure. He has a little bit extra of my attention because of our history and how close him and I are.”

When Stevens graduates at the end of the year, he’ll be leaving a void that will be hard to fill. In all likelihood, Stevens will leave as the program’s all-time leading scorer, and he’ll finish in the top 10 in a number of other statistical categories. He knows Lundy is going to be the guy called upon to lead the next era of Penn State basketball.

“He’s going to be the next guy to really step up for this program,” Stevens said.