Kanye Clary no longer with Penn State men’s basketball team due to "Coach's decision"

One of Mike Rhoades's first wins as the head coach of Penn State men's basketball was convincing Kanye Clary to stay for his sophomore season, but now before it even came to an end, Clary has been dismissed and Penn State will move forward without its leading scorer.
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0)
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In just a few short weeks, Kanye Clary went from being Penn State’s leading scorer and the presumed centerpiece of Mike Rhoades’s program rebuild to being dismissed from the team. Clary missed Penn State’s 68-49 loss to Nebraska on Saturday and in his Monday press conference, Rhoades announced his decision to move forward without the sophomore guard. 

“Kanye is no longer with the team. Coach’s decision,” Rhoades said. “It came to a point where we’re at that I made the decision as the head coach to move on. I’ll leave it at that.”

Rhoades would not elaborate on what went into the situation, but from the outside looking in it’s pretty cut and dry. Through the first 20 games of the season, Clary was the offensive focal point, leading the team in scoring and to a 9-11 record before he was injured in the final minutes of a loss to Minnesota. 

Then, during Clary’s two-game absence, Ace Baldwin Jr. Rhoades’s longtime point guard, took over as the team’s primary offensive creator and orchestrated two huge wins over Rutgers and Indiana. Clary returned in a win over Iowa but played just 18 minutes off the bench and scored eight points. 

In Clary’s second game back, he again came off the bench and was held scoreless in 14 minutes in a loss to Northwestern. Since then, Penn State has lost twice, to Michigan State and Nebraska, and is back to two games under .500. Clary hasn’t taken to his role as a substitute, and without the Nittany Lions revolving around him on the offensive end, his defensive lapses at 5-foot-11 feel a bit more costly. 

It’s probably best for Rhoades to proceed without his disgruntled guard for the rest of this season, but now the program appears rudderless going forward. Clary was one of the few players who stayed after Micah Shrewsberry bolted for Notre Dame and is one of the few key pieces with eligibility remaining beyond this year, though, Baldwin can opt to return to play point guard again in 2024-25. 

No, Rhoades no longer has a young scoring guard to build his program around. Though now, he’ll be unencumbered by the arduous task of constructing a roster that masks the deficiencies of an undersized leader with a disinterested attitude toward defense. 

After Saturday’s loss, the third straight for the Nittany Lions, the purpose of the remaining games on Penn State’s schedule is not to win, but to build for next season and discover what the 2025 version of this team will look like. If Rhoades didn’t think that version included Clary, then now was the time to cut ties.

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