Jalen Pickett has been the driving force behind Penn State basketball’s surprising start. It’s a stage few thought he would reach.

Jalen Pickett is living out his dream.

The 6-4, 209-pounder has propelled Penn State to a 10-3 start, leading the Nittany Lions in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He’s tops in the Big Ten in assists (third nationally) and recorded the second triple-double in program history with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against Butler.

Pickett is currently fifth in KenPom’s projected Player of the Year standings, the highest of any guard in the entire country. He’s also fourth nationally in The DPI Gradebook’s Gold Star Guide, a metric designed to show a player’s game-to-game impact throughout the year.

To call him one of the nation’s best point guards isn’t embellishing his accomplishments — it’s been a fact through the first two months of the college basketball season. Yet Pickett nearly didn’t have the opportunity to get to this point.

“I didn’t have any concrete offers coming out of high school,” he told me, the frustration still clear on his face. “It was a tough time.”

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