Hoops: Nittany Lions Add Guard Houston Mallette to 2021 Class
Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers and the Nittany Lion men's basketball program built on their Class of 2021 recruiting Friday with the verbal commitment of Rivals three-star shooting guard Houston Mallette out of Pacifica Christian School in Newport Beach, Cali.
Mallette chose the Nittany Lions over scholarship offers from 13 other programs including Pepperdine and UNLV, among others, plus heavy interest from Villanova, Creighton and Florida State.
A junior, Mallette is a fast-rising prospect on the West Coast, helping to lead the Tritons to a 22-8 record during the 2019-20 season including a 7-1 mark in conference play. According to the Daily Pilot, having named Mallette to its all-boys first-team, the 6-foot-5 point guard averaged 15.7 points and seven rebounds per game to go along with 4.9 assists and 2.1 steals, knocking down 80 three-pointers with a 40-percent rate from beyond the arc.
"Mallette, a repeat first-team Dream Team pick who has offers from multiple NCAA Division I schools including UC Santa Barbara and Penn State, earned All-CIF Southern Section Division 2A and first-team All-San Joaquin League honors," the story reads. "He will likely step into an even bigger scoring role as a senior for Pacifica Christian, which graduates its other three top scorers in Judah Brown, Charles Erving and Josh Sims."
Mallette was also named to the Orange County Register all-county boys first-team.
Pacifica Christian head coach Jeff Berokoff offered a glowing assessment of what the Nittany Lions are going to get for the program in Houston.
"I love so many things about the kid's game," Berokoff said. "I would say what stands out the most is his competitiveness and his ability to lead others and make others better. It's something that is very unique in today's high school landscape, when you have a player that competes his tail off, dives on the floor, take charges, makes the extra pass, but he's also the best player on the floor. And he's actively leading others. He was one of our captains this year. And he was our vocal, fiery leader. He makes others better, and it really, really stands out if you just sit there and you actually watch. That's the one thing that stands out. And in my opinion, I think he's one of the top point guards in the country, hands down, and I've seen a lot of these kids.
"He averaged 16 points, five assists six, eight rebounds, but those stats, when you go watch an AAU game, these guys are watching guys for a half or whatever it may be. They're in and out and Houston's not a high flyer, physical specimen. He is a 6-5, lanky, big hands kid whose best basketball is yet to come once he gets into his body. And he's also young, he just turned just turned 17 and played the entire season as a 16 year old. So I think those are a few of the reasons why maybe you may call him a sleeper but, Coach Chambers (and his program) are getting one of the top point guards in the country."
Rivals national hoops recruiting analyst Corey Evans also broke down Mallette's game thusly:
"He's a very skilled and cerebral lead guard," Evans said. "Some out west have tried to throw the Tyrese Halliburton comparison out. Not a super athlete but is a decent enough one to make it at the Big Ten level. He's very skilled and can play on and off the ball and boasts plenty of backcourt versatility. He has better upside than most others and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he broke out this summer if there was a travel season."
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