Following the Nittany Lions' 67-51 win over Nebraska at the Jordan Center Saturday -- a game in which Oliver did not play -- the redshirt junior announced that he was giving up the sport due to his history with concussions and migraine headaches.
“I have put a lot of thought into this and have decided not to continue my basketball career with Penn State,” Oliver said. “But I'm still going to be with the program.”
Oliver missed his entire true freshman season (2008-09) due to concussions. Then he missed all but five games of his redshirt freshman season due to migraine headaches. He played the entire (2010-11) campaign as a reserve but struggled in all areas, especially long-range shooting (making only 11 of 44 triples).
He started PSU's first 20 games this season and actually went off for a career-high 21 points in an upset of Purdue. But he missed four straight games with concussion-related symptoms before returning for a pair of outings. He logged a total of 27 minutes in losses at Iowa and Michigan State before deciding to end his career.
“It seems right for me and, more importantly, for the team,” the 6-foot-8, 230-pounder said. “It's selfish for me to go out there if I'm not going to be able to give 100 percent with the history of my head and worried about problems with that.”
First-year coach Pat Chambers said losing one of his tri-captains hurts for a lot of reasons, but most of all because he thinks so highly of Oliver.
“He's such a great kid with big-time character,” Chambers said. “… I just think the world of him.”
Oliver is slated to graduate with a degree in finance in May, and will stay at Penn State to earn a second degree (in economics) next fall. After that, he plans to enroll in graduate school.
He will remain on scholarship as a medical non-qualifier, meaning he will not count toward Penn State's 13-man limit. He intends to serve as a student assistant with the program.
“There is a sense of relief that a decision has been made,” Oliver said. “Now it is just time to move on from here and accept it and grow that way.”