Penn State Basketball and new head coach Mike Rhoades are finished constructing their roster after a busy offseason that included a coaching change, 4 transfers out of the program, 3 players retained, and 10 players joining the program. Even with the 3 players that remained, only Kanye Clary saw any real action last year. This is going to be a very different-looking team for the Nittany Lions than the tournament team we just saw so let’s take a look at the roster and how everything fits as we start to look ahead to next season.
Ace Baldwin Jr.- The A-10 player and defensive player of the year became the first transfer into the program under Mike Rhoades, joining him in going from VCU to Happy Valley, back when he committed on April 9th. The 6-foot guard has two years of eligibility remaining and looks to be the leader and star of this new-look Penn State basketball squad. He averaged 12.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on a shooting line of 42.1/34.2/79.5. The star guard is a pest on defense that works great in Rhoades’ press system, averaging 2.3 steals a game for his career. On offense, he loves to operate in the PnR and has a some would say bad, habit of pulling up just past their three-point line for long 2s.
Kanye Clary– Penn State’s first commit under Micah Shrewsberry and the promising freshman has decided to stay at Penn State despite the coaching change. In fact, he never even entered the transfer portal. Clary was arguably the most impressive freshman of the 5 man class of 2022, finishing with averages of 3.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.7 assists on 43.4/29.4/70 shooting. Those numbers don’t really do his season justice however as he spent most of the first half of the season either getting DNPs or very low minutes. He really came along in the second half of the year punctuated by performances like his 17-point and 2-assist output on the road at Maryland or his 11 points and 2 assists in a huge win against Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament that essentially punched PSU’s ticket to the big dance. Clary is an extremely fast player which shows itself with how well he is able to slide his feet and stick on defense, as well as how good he is at getting into the paint on offense. Sometimes he’s too fast for his own good and has a tendency to rush some finishes, but he has all the makings of another great Penn State guard which we have seen a lot in recent history.
Jameel Brown– Another member of that 22’ high school class, Jameel did enter the transfer portal and even took a visit, but in the end, he decided to remain at Penn State with the new staff. Brown did not play much in the year, only appearing in 14 games and only getting 4.6 minutes a game. Despite this, Brown could play a big role on the team in year 2. This Penn State basketball team is gonna be in need of shooting and that’s exactly what the former 4-star prospect can bring on the wing as an off-guard next to Kanye and Ace.
Bragi Guðmundsson– Bragi is the only member of Penn State’s 2023 recruiting class, but not from the traditional high school route. The 19-year-old 6’5 guard is from Iceland and has been and has been playing in the pro league there for the last 4 years. He averaged 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists a game this past season with poor shooting numbers of 35% from the field and 29% from deep. However, for a 19-year-old playing against grown men, it was a solid season. He is not your typical high IQ good passing low athleticism foreign guard. He has good bounce and a quick first step. He always seems to be on the move which can get him in trouble at times but the athleticism is very noticeable. Despite the numbers not looking great the form on his jumper is sound. The biggest thing for him now is just improving the decision-making, making the right passes, and taking the right shots. This is a more long-term developmental pickup, with the guards already on the team I would not expect to see much of Bragi in year 1.