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Hoops: Lions pick up '18 commit

The Penn State men's basketball program picked up its first verbal commitment from the Class of 2018 on Sunday afternoon in the form of Gonzaga (Washington D.C.) shooting guard Myles Dread.

Penn State's Class of 2018 is officially under way.

Holding no available scholarships for its recruiting Class of 2017, head coach Patrick Chambers and the men's basketball program saw their early recruitment pay off Sunday when sophomore guard Myles Dread made his verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions.

Dread, a 6-foot-4 and a half, 200 pound guard out of Gonzaga HS in Washington D.C., made the announcement via Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Having learned of his offer from Chambers, Dread started hearing from the Lions' coaching staff extensively once the NCAA rules permitted beginning on June 15. Said Dread, "They contacted me more than anybody by far. They came to watch me at Peach Jam, and since we started talking on the phone, our relationship just became closer and closer. I went on a visit June 27th, and me and Coach Chambers just hit it off right away. It was definitely exciting."

During the visit, Dread said he was blown away by what the Nittany Lion basketball program - and especially the university and its academics - had to offer. Happy to have the "huge weight" of the recruiting game off his shoulders, now able to play freely without worrying about the variety of college coaches in attendance during the summer recruiting AAU circuit, Dread saw his Penn State opportunity as one he couldn't pass up.

"Penn State has an absolutely, absolutely amazing academic program. My whole family went up to Penn State and talked to the academic advisor for the basketball team and she told us how serious she was about academics and getting her guys right, and how dedicated you have to be to be successful with Penn State academics. That very much intrigued me," he said. "Then after that, I visited the campus. It was huge, people everywhere, it was very diverse. And then I got to talk to the players. They were really down to earth, really a good group of guys. They just seemed very welcoming. And then Coach Chambers, he expressed interest in me and he expressed how much interest he had in me. From then on, it was just Penn State."

Hoping to define his body in the coming weeks before starting his junior year in high school, Dread is expecting to also continue the development of his game this year and beyond.

A big guard who prides himself on being a triple threat, Dread summed his game up thusly:

"I can shoot the ball, I make good decisions. I pass the ball very well and I'm very physical on defense. I'm a lock down defender and I just make plays. Coach puts me in the position and I just go make plays," he said. "I don't really have a position. That's what I like to pride myself on. Where coach puts me, I can go play."

Dread is coming off a sophomore season in which he posted 9.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, according to stats compiled by The Washington Post.

The Nittany Lions now have three remaining open scholarships projected for the Class of 2018.