Micah Shrewsberry Signs Highest-Ranked Recruiting Class in Penn State Basketball History

Story posted November 12, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Matthew Scalzo

The Micah Shrewsberry era began on Wednesday night when the Nittany Lions gave him his first win over Youngstown State, 75-59. It was not only a career night for Shrewsberry, but it was a historic day all around in Happy Valley.

It was also National Signing Day for high school athletes, and with that came Penn State basketball’s 2022 class, the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history, ranked No. 21 nationally by 247 Sports.

The class consisted of five players: Jameel Brown, Kanye Clary, Demetrius Lilley, Evan Mahaffey and Kebba Nije.

Since day one, Shrewsberry has emphasized not only developing them as athletes but also exceptional men within the Penn State community.

“We are excited to add these five great young men to the Penn State men’s basketball family,” said Shrewsberry. “Their accomplishments go beyond basketball. All of these future Nittany Lions fit my vision for Penn State going forward, not only on the court, but off the court as well.”

Shrewsberry along with Director of Recruiting, Brian Snow, and coaches Adam Fisher, Aki Collins and Mike Farrelly met with the media on Thursday afternoon to discuss the class.

Brown, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, is a 6-foot-4 guard that attends Westtown School. Ranked No. 90 in the 247 Sports Top 100 recruits, he is the fifth-highest ranked commit in Penn State history.

This is the second time that Brown has committed to Shrewsberry. Brown was initially locked in with Purdue but decided to follow his former recruiter to State College.

“Jameel is a tremendous player, but an even better person. He comes in and boosts our outside shooting, while possessing the ability to make others better with his passing,” Shrewsberry said. “Landing a commitment from Jameel should have a major long-term impact on our program.”

Clary is also a guard that stands at 6-foot-0, from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and plays for Massanutten Military Academy. While he is small in stature, Clary is someone that Collins loves.

“He has phenomenal sight and can make passes in tight windows, sees the entire court and gets after it defensively,” Collins said. “He’s the type of leader you want, similar to Sam [Sessoms], as they both play with a chip on their shoulder.”

Lilley, nicknamed Big Meech, now might be called Medium Meech as he has lost nearly 40 pounds over the last year. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native attends Lower Merion High School and is the first player to average 20 points and 10 rebounds since the late Kobe Bryant.

“If you told me during the recruiting process that he ends up being the second-best player out of Lower Merion, then we’ll be very happy,” said Farrelly, who was the main recruiter for Lilley.

He is a great finisher at the rim, an excellent rebounder and even before losing weight in the offseason he ran the floor and was good at finding his teammates.

“Not a lot of 6-foot-10, 250-pound guys are making moves like that in the open court,” Farrelly said. “The future is very bright with the way he works and stays in the gym. He can help us in the future.”

Next up out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mahaffey is produced by Archbishop Moeller, one of the winningest high school programs in Ohio. Standing at 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot wingspan, Mahaffey brings a lot of versatility.

“He will be a weapon for us defensively because of his ability to guard different positions,” Farrelly said. “He is multifaceted on defense, but on offense as well.”

While Mahaffey is great on the court, Farrelly is even more impressed with who he is off it.

“He might actually become the Mayor of State College while he’s playing with us,” Farrelly said. “He has an unbelievable personality, somebody you want to be around and is a natural leader.”

Rounding out the group is one of the youngest players in the 2022 class in Nije.

Ranked  No. 79 in the ESPN Top-100 rankings, Nije is the first ESPN 100 commit for Penn State. Nije is also the second-highest ranked recruit all-time for the Nittany Lions, according to 247 Sports.

Even though Nije will come to Penn State before he turns 18, he comes in with loads of talent.

“He does 10 things really well, but the problem is he tries to do those all at once,” Collins said of the talent Nije brings. “When he starts to streamline that and figure out his bread and butter, he is going to be a talented player.”

Nije is talented on the defensive end and is a great communicator, being compared to current Penn Stater John Harrar.

“He’ll be our anchor on defense as he matures,” Collins said. “But this is a kid that we need to watch out for because the sky’s the limit for him.”

With his historically-good first class in the books, Micah Shrewsberry has laid the foundation of building this basketball program into something great.

“These guys are foundational pieces, they fit Penn State,” Shrewsberry said. “That’s the most important thing and that’s what we were looking for.”

Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mms7477@psu.edu.

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Matt Scalzo

Third Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a third-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a Basketball Insider, broadcaster and writer for the sports department. With CommRadio he has called football, hockey, basketball, baseball, volleyball and lacrosse games. Matt has called matches for Penn State Women’s Volleyball on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a host of the Chi-Town Sit-Down with Thomas English, which covers everything Chicago sports. Matt spent the 2022 summer as the Drector of Broadcasting & Media for the Sanford Mainers in the NECBL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).