Penn State Basketball has landed their second transfer commitment by plucking another player from coach Mike Rhoades’s former roster at VCU. This time it’s 6’6 sophomore guard Nick Kern Jr, choosing to make the jump to Happy Valley with his coach and with 2 years of eligibility left.
Nick was rated as a three-star top 200 player in the nation in the class of 2021 when he committed to play for coach Rhoades at VCU. He has played in 66 games so far in his career with 19 starts, averaging 3.7 points, 0.6 assists, and 2.1 rebounds.
He struggled a bit his freshman year but really started coming into his own this season averaging 5.3 PPG and 2.7 rebounds a game while shooting an insanely efficient 64.5% from the field. He does not take a lot of threes but when he does, the results are not great, shooting just 13.3% from deep in his career. With a free throw percentage of just 67%, the indicators for that shooting improvement are not great either.
Scoring and shooting are not why Penn State basketball coach Mike Rhoades recruited Kern two times now, however. Kern is a fantastic defender. He has great size, speed, wingspan, and athleticism to guard up and down the lineup, depending on the matchup, 1-4. He is explosive in transition routinely throwing down huge slams and when he does try to score at the rim his touch is fantastic.
His versatility also lends itself to how he can be used. Penn State basketball’s roster is obviously in a state of fluidity right now so there is really no saying at this stage what his role will be, but the one thing we do know is that no matter where he plays he is going to give the team some great defense and a really fun transition threat.
Kern and former A10 player of the year Ace Baldwin, who committed earlier this week, will be crucial in helping the new coaching staff at Penn State transition their system to this new set of players, old and new.
Still a lot of work to do to finalize this roster and the situation for everyone remains open-ended, but as of now the scholarship players on Penn State’s roster for next year are Ace Baldwin, Nick Kern, Kanye Clary, and Demetrius Lilley.