4 players Mike Rhoades needs to keep at Penn State for his second season

The transfer portal is now open, and head coach Mike Rhoades will seek to keep valuable players for the upcoming 2024-25 season.
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Mike Rhoades
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Mike Rhoades / David Berding/GettyImages
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Mike Rhoades’s first year in Happy Valley exceeded the expectations of many. The Nittany Lions were forecasted to take a major step back from last season’s tournament run, projected to finish 13th in the conference in the Big Ten Preseason Media Poll. Rhoades’s first season was filled with ups and downs, but the Nittany Lions battled through the rigorous Big Ten conference and finished 11th. 

Rhoades and company now shift their focus to the transfer portal, as they were not selected into the NIT tournament. The portal opened up on March 18th, and we have already seen multiple Penn State players enter. Sophomore guard Kanye Clary entered the portal, along with freshman guard Bragi Gudmundsson, and sophomore center Favour Aire. 

While these portal entries might not be surprising to Nittany Lion fans, Rhoades will look to keep other players on Penn State out of the portal. 

Here are four players who Rhoades will need to retain for next season:

1. Ace Baldwin Jr, G. . Senior. Ace Baldwin Jr, G. player. Eligibility remaining: 1 year. Ace Baldwin Jr, G. 491.

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Ace Baldwin was the key to the Nittany Lions successes in the 2023-24 season. Coming over from VCU, he was highly regarded as one of the best transfers of last season. He averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game in his first season at Penn State. His 2.7 steals per game led the conference, and his 6 assists per game ranked him third amongst Big Ten players. 

Coach Rhoades has two guards coming in from his four player recruiting class, Jahvin Carter and Dominick Stewart, and they will arrive as freshmen for next season. Having Baldwin around to mentor them would be very beneficial to their future success at Penn State.

Since Baldwin started his college career in the 2020-21 season, he has the option to use his fifth year of eligibility. He is the dynamic, explosive leader that Rhoades needs to keep in order to make a leap for the 2024-25 campaign. He has been with Rhoades the past four seasons, and he will hopefully make it a fifth with the Nittany Lions.

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