4 transfers Penn State basketball missed out on

Mike Rhoades was forced to build a patchwork roster in the transfer portal last offseason, but he missed out on these four players who could have Penn State in Big Ten contention midway through conference play.

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Mike Rhoades
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Mike Rhoades / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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Khalif Battle. . 524. Senior. . . . From: Arkansas. G.

Now, to the shooting problem. Penn State ranks 307th in three-point percentage at 30.5% and 172nd in three-pointers made per game with 7.4. Kanye Clary is hitting at 37.4% from deep, but no other player is shooting better than 35%. 

On the wing, Penn State has Nick Kern Jr. shooting 15.4% from three, Puff Johnson 26.4%, and Zach Hicks shooting 29.3%. Even Ace Baldwin Jr. and D’Marco Dunn are both in the low 30s, which means there is very little space to operate in the paint. 

A year ago, Penn State relied heavily on three-point shooting and spacing, but that immediately went from a strength to a weakness. Rhoades did not prioritize shooting in the transfer portal and his guards, specifically Clary, are paying the price now. Khalif Battle, who was in-state at Temple, could have solved the problem. 

Penn State has plenty of depth in the backcourt, but at 6-foot-5 Battle is more of a wing who could easily play with both Baldwin and Clary without sacrificing on the defensive end. This year at Arkansas, Battle is shooting 39.7% on 3.9 attempts per game and averaging 11.2 points, but if he joined Rhoades at Penn State he could shoot at a much higher volume and take pressure off Baldwin, who was forced to become the team’s secondary scorer behind Clary. 

In 2021-22, Battle shot 48.8% from three on 6.1 attempts, so is the type of shooter who could carry the offense for spurts and maybe even steal a game if he gets hot. Penn State doesn’t have a player like that on the roster.