Micah Shrewsberry Continues Strong Recruiting with Second Top-30 Class
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A year ago, Micah Shrewsberrywas announced as head coach and inherited a Penn State program with zero incoming freshmen; now he has signed two straight top-30 classes on his terms.
Shrewsberry has preached creating a winning culture in Happy Valley and it’s built through recruiting.
“We want to sustain success here. I think that you do that through recruiting,” Shrewsberry said.
“You do that through the people that you bring into your program, year after year after year.”
Last season, Shrewsberry added five freshmen, Jameel Brown, Kayne Clary, Demetrius Lilley, Evan Mahaffey and Kebba Njie, which ranked as the 27th best composite class per 247 Sports.
The Nittany Lions continued that inking the 25th best class, adding three highly-touted recruits, including their second-highest recruit per 247 Sports, Carey Booth, son of Penn State great Calvin Booth.
Alongside Booth is ESPN four-star Logan Imes out of Zionsville, Indiana, and State College’s own Braeden Shrewsberry, another four-star per ESPN and the son of Micah.
In his brief tenure, Shrewsberry has established a culture that is built around hard work, day in and day out, which is seen in all of the new players.
Similarly to current freshman, Njie, Booth will come into Penn State a little younger, but is driven to be the best he can be in the blue and white.
“This is a guy who wanted to be at Penn State,” associate head coach Adam Fisher said. “He's a gym rat. He's in the gym first all the time at his high school, working on his game every single day.”
The same goes for Imes who has been focused on improving his shooting, which is great for a Penn State team that set a school record 18 three-pointers Monday night.
“The way he's improved his shooting over the last couple of years has been really really impressive,” assistant coach Mike Farralley said. “He’s gone from a reluctant or below average shooter to a guy that's super confident.”
With Braeden, he’s benefited from being around the game his whole life, and assistant coach Aki Collins sees how that has turned him into a versatile and “ultra competitive” player.
“One of the things coach [Shrewsberry] talked about is that he's not a one trick pony,” Collins said. “Like he could put the ball on the deck, a really high basketball IQ, he can pass the basketball. What his calling card is his ability to stretch the floor.
The biggest takeaway for the second-year head coach is how all three are not only great players and hard-workers, but they fit the mold of the university as people.
“If they weren't good players we wouldn't be talking about them but they're great people,” Shrewsberry said. “They fit Penn State. They want to be at Penn State.”
The same sentiment was set with last year’s group of recruits, that not only are they going to be great players on the court, but that they will represent Penn State greatly.
While Shrewsberry and his staff have not only emphasized finding the right people, but also versatile players that fit the future goals of the program.
“You need guys that also aren't paralyzed when they don't have a ball,” Shrewsberry said. “People really struggle when they go from high school to college when they don't have the ball in their hands all the time.”
While it is the head coach that gets credited with the commitments and building the program, Shrewsberry knows that it takes more than just him, it takes an army.
“For me as a coach, I don’t really care,” Shrewsberry said. “It shows the work that they’re doing, that’s the biggest thing for me.”
From the top down, Shrewsberry has seen endless effort to put Penn State basketball on the map, and oftentimes it is behind the scenes.
“I know you can’t put all 36 of those people I just named in the headline, but they deserve a lot more credit,” Shrewsberry said. “That’s who we are, we’re a blue-collar production, and we’re going to keep bringing in good players, we’re going keep making this program the best it can be.”
The first two classes in the Shrewsberry and company era have been great, but Director of Recruiting Brian Snow knows that they can’t get complacent if they want to reach the program’s potential.
“We have to do it again next year, or else we're losing ground to what our goals are, which is to win the Big Ten,” Snow said. “We're not here to be average, we're not here just to compete, we're here to win. So you have to stack classes it’s not really an option.”
Matt Scalzo is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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