STATE COLLEGE – Penn State’s men’s basketball program secured its second class of 2021 commit late Friday when three-star guard Houston Mallette verbally pledged to play for the Nittany Lions.
The 6-foot-5, 170-pound Pacifica Christian (Newport Beach, California) junior joins class of 2021 center/forward TaQuan Woodley as Penn State’s first two 2021 verbal commits.
“To head coach (Pat) Chambers, Coach (Keith) Urgo, AD Sandy Barbour and the Penn State family – thank you for this opportunity!” Mallette tweeted. “I am blessed to be a Nittany Lion. I will give you my absolute best and nothing less – every single day.”
Mallette channeled his artistic side for his nearly four-minute commitment video. The clip opens with iconic shots of California – including overhead footage of the Golden Gate Bridge – before it cuts to Mallette who is sitting on one of his area’s beaches. The short movie then transitions to clips of Mallette playing basketball. It closes with him back on the beach before flashing to him wearing a Penn State uniform and the word “committed.”
Mallette currently holds 14 scholarship offers, including in-state programs Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara and others. Washington State, UNLV and James Madison are among his out-of-state suitors.
“Penn State goes across the country for its latest pickup,” tweeted Rivals national recruiting analyst Corey Evans. “Skilled, cerebral giant lead guard Houston Mallette off the board.”
Pacifica Christian went 22-8 overall and 7-1 in league games last season before falling to Bonita High in the CIF Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinal in February. Mallette finished the season ranked second on his team in scoring behind 15.7 points per game. He paced Pacifica Christian with 4.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game, and he posted a team second-best 7.0 rebounds per contest.
Of the current players on Penn State’s roster, none hail from California.
“California (has) the best players, best coaches in the country, in my opinion, just because there are so many people, so many kids here,” Pacifica Christian coach Jeff Berokoff said during an April 28 episode of the Hoop with Us podcast. “It’s the most populous state in our country. … What’s going on in California is really special and unique. … I personally think California has the best hoopers in the country.”