What’s next for Penn State after hiring head coach Mike Rhoades

Story posted March 29, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

Penn State men’s basketball is coming off a historic season that resulted in a 23-14 record, an appearance in the Big Ten Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Former head coach Micah Shrewsberry elected to go home to Notre Dame after his success with the Nittany Lions this year.

With changes at the helm and former VCU head coach Mike Rhoades taking over for the Nittany Lions, let’s take a look at what’s next for the blue and white.

Heading into next year, Penn State will graduate seven seniors and have a huge hole to fill because of these seniors.

The Nittany Lions senior class includes All-American Jalen Pickett, sharpshooter Andrew Funk, fifth-year Myles Dread, Cam Wynter, Mikey Henn, Dan Conlan and Ishaan Jagiasi.

The blue and white were one of the oldest teams in the country this year, so fans expected and prepared for the conclusion of these players’ collegiate careers.

Senior forward Seth Lundy was included in this graduating class but retained an extra year of eligibility if he chose to use it.

Instead, the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention made the decision to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter his name into the 2023 NBA Draft.

Lundy had a career-best season this year averaging 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He was the Nittany Lions’ second-leading scorer and was one of the most efficient players in the nation.

He put up numbers of 45% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. He was one of just five players to average 10 or more points per game and 6 or more rebounds per game while shooting at least 50% from two-point range, 40% from downtown and 80% from the line.

The departure of Shrewsberry has led to the transfer portal also taking a toll on the Penn State roster for next season.

Four players have entered the transfer portal already for the blue and white and a couple more could be joining them.

Juniors Caleb Dorsey and Dallion Johnson were the first to go, followed by freshman forward Evan Mahaffey. The most recent addition to this list is freshman Jameel Brown, who announced his decision this morning.

This was not a huge surprise for Penn State fans as they witnessed this same result when Pat Chambers resigned from the head coaching position.

Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, the losses don’t stop at the portal. Shrewsberry’s top-30 2023 recruiting class has already fallen through as well.

Four-star legacy recruit Carey Booth requested his release from his national letter of intent and was soon followed by three-star recruit Logan Imes who requested his release just days after.

The lone recruit in the class is now State College High guard Braeden Shrewsberry, the son of Micah Shrewsberry, who is expected to follow his father and request his release.

The train appears to be falling off the cliff for Penn State with Shrewsberry’s departure, but Rhoades could provide a much-needed turnaround.

He has already shown success recruiting from the Big Ten as he snagged both Zeb Jackson and Brandon Johns Jr. from Michigan last offseason.

Penn State fans can expect to see a team full of transfers this year and a rebuilding year is on the horizon for a team that went on a historic run.

The transfer portal already has over 1,000 names, so Rhoades will have plenty of fish in the sea as he looks to build his roster for the upcoming season.

Rhoades has also proven to be an excellent recruiter of younger recruits and has demonstrated his ability to develop them into high-level players.

It would also be no surprise to see VCU players linking again with Rhoades at Penn State so that development will be one to watch this offseason.

The Nittany Lions will retain just three scholarship players from their roster this season, but that number could decrease in the coming weeks.

Penn State basketball enters the Mike Rhoades era and will look to continue building the program for many years to come.

Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email tfe5082@psu.edu.