Penn State Basketball has reportedly filled the head coaching void left by Micah Shrewsberry.
According to multiple reports VCU head coach Mike Rhoades is expected to be the next Penn State Basketball head coach, filling the seat left by Micah Shrewsberry when he took the head job at Notre Dame.
Coach Rhoades, a Pennsylvania native and Lebanon Valley College graduate, has been the head coach at VCU since 2017, with previous stops as the head coach at Rice and Randolph-Mason and a lead assistant job at VCU. He has an overall head coaching record of 373-189, and a 129-61 record at his most recent stop at VCU. In his 6 years at VCU his team has made the NCAA tournament 3 times, losing in the first round each time. He has never won less than 18 games at VCU and for the past 5 years that has been built on a very stout defense. They have held their opponents to under 66 points per game the past 5 years including holding them to 62 PPG these last 2 years. His offenses have been less impressive, scoring under 70 PPG twice and over 75 PPG just once.
His recruiting at his time at VCU has been good, but nothing mind blowing. He usually takes smaller classes, relying on the development and retention of his current players to improve. In the 2022 class he brought in 2 top 120 ranked recruits according to the 274 Sports composite rankings, including Pennsylvania native Christian Fermin. After a quick rebuild with the first couple years all his classes feature at least 1 top 200 player with a high point coming in 2019 when he landed top 100 point guard Nah’shon “Bones” Hyland.
The premier guard enjoyed 2 successful years with the Rams before being taken 26th overall in the 2021 draft by the Denver Nuggets. The two-time rising star was recently traded to the Clippers where he is a bench player for the championship level squad. Bones is not the only player to make it to the league under Mike Rhoades, however. Vincent Williams was a low three-star recruit in the 2018 class for Rhoades and eventually over 4 years developed into a very solid NBA prospect, going 17th overall in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft to the Memphis Grizzlies where he currently is on a 2-way deal.
Mike Rhoades’ success at this level and his ties to Penn State made an obvious choice for the job but that doesn’t mean there are no question marks. The biggest one being how will his defensive system translate to a big ten that is getting more sophisticated on offense every year? I do not anticipate a huge problem in the long run, but in the end, it is all going to come down to personnel.
We also have to wonder how he will look rebuilding the program for next year as he has never been too deep into the portal, taking a career high 2 portal players last year. For comparison coach Shrewsberry took 3 transfers last year and 3 his first year. Rhoades will have to beat that number by a large margin, with just 4 players currently on the roster and not in their portal with 0 high school recruits committed. He will most likely look to bring some players with him from VCU like Pennsylvania native Chris Fermin or Ace Baldwin, as well as retain the players currently here like Kanye Clary and Evan Mahaffey, but he will no doubt have to use the portal as a weapon a lot more than he is used to.
Rhoades will be the 15th Head Coach in Penn State Basketball history and the 4th in the last 5 years. He is adopting a program looking at a rebuild and will have the challenge of kicking that off this offseason as he tries to reshape this roster through the transfer portal.