Freshman guard Kanye Clary announced his intentions to remain with the Penn State basketball team on social media today. This is big news for new head coach Mike Rhoades and his staff as they were able to retain one of the best remaining players on the Penn State roster they inherited.
Clary was the first high school commit for Micah Shrewsberry back in June of 2021. That 2022 high school group he was a part of would eventually grow into the highest-rated class in program history. The 5 man freshman group included Clary, Jameel Brown, Evan Mahaffey, Kebba Njie, and Demetrius Lilley. Clary was a top 200 player in the country but his offer list wasn’t extensive because of his size, being listed at 6’ or even 5’11 depending on where you look. Despite this coach Shrews and his staff took a chance on the shifty point guard in a move that has looked good so far.
Clary was arguably the best of that 5 man-freshman group in their first season. He finished the year only averaging 3.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.7 assists but as the year went on and he got more playing time he showed how good he can be. He got extensive run down the stretch including in the NCAA tournament and Big Ten tournament, where he shined. He scored 8 and 11 points in the first two rounds of the Big Ten tournament and was a huge factor in those upset wins over Illinois and Northwestern that helped push Penn State to their first NCAA tournament bid since 2011.
Now, with this new coach in town, he has all the skills and ability to be a key player for this new era in Penn State basketball. He is a lightning-quick player with good footwork that allows him to easily get past his defender and get to the rim or stop on a dime and get into his mid-range pull-up. He is also a pesky defender, picking opposing players up sometimes full court and using his speed and quick hands to make it hard for guards to dribble on him. All these skills make him a perfect fit for the Rhoades system he is bringing to Happy Valley. He likes his guards to operate in ball screens where Kanye is comfortable and he likes them to pressure the other team’s guards on defense, another thing Kanye has already shown a lot of.
Clary’s playstyle looked like a perfect match for the Rhoades system and now we will get to see it in action in November as Clary officially announced he is sticking with Penn State basketball and Coach Rhoades as they work to build out the rest of this roster and hopefully keep some more of his fellow freshman.