Penn State Basketball is in the middle of a massive redo after going through another coaching change.
Penn State Basketball officially welcomed former VCU head coach Mike Rhoades as the program’s next head coach on Thursday.
Rhoades has quite the challenge ahead of him, as in addition to preparing to win games next season, the Pennsylvania native needs to build a roster.
The Nittany Lions already had five players out of eligibility after this season, but that number rose to six when Seth Lundy declared for the NBA Draft. Penn State was slated to add three freshmen to the 2023-24 roster, but all three asked to be released from their letter of intent after Micah Shrewsberry left for Notre Dame.
In addition, to all of this, Evan Mahaffey and Jameel Brown entered the transfer portal after Shrewsberry’s departure. This comes after both Dallion Johnson and Caleb Dorsey entered the portal following the end of the season.
As it stands today, Rhoades and his staff have to find 10 players via the transfer portal in order to properly build a roster for next season.
Rhoades won’t need to look far to get this search started. Both Mahaffey and Brown attended Rhoades’ introductory press conference on Thursday despite being in the portal. If Rhoades can recruit those two back, that’s a great starting point.
Rhoades’ next call will likely be to his players at VCU. Since the news of Rhoades leaving VCU came out, five players from the team have entered the portal.
The most notable is guard Ace Baldwin Jr., the Atlantic 10 player of the year. Baldwin averaged 12.7 PPG, 5.8 APG, 2.9 RPG and 2.2 SPG this past season. Other portal entries include forward Jalen DeLoach (9.7 PPG, 6.9RPG), forward Jamir Watkins (9.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG), guard Jayden Nunn (9.3 PPG, 40% 3-point) and guard Nick Kern (5.3 PPG).
It’s unlikely that all five will follow Rhoades to Penn State, but even if a couple do, that’s a big win for Penn State Basketball.
Rhoades and his staff will have to look elsewhere to round out the roster, but this is a great starting point.