Penn State men's basketball projected starting 5: Ace Baldwin Jr. is back

The Nittany Lions have their retooled roster for the 2024-25 season in the revamped Big Ten conference, so let’s project who will be in the starting lineup.
Penn State guard Ace Baldwin Jr.
Penn State guard Ace Baldwin Jr. / David Berding/GettyImages
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player. F. 6'8 205 lbs. Senior+. Puff Johnson. 491. . . Puff Johnson. Puff Johnson

Johnson announced that he will use his fifth year of eligibility to return to the program. Johnson missed the beginning of last season due to injury and struggled to find a place in the starting lineup. He ended the season starting twelve games and showed why he was a highly coveted player in the portal last season. In just 19.7 minutes per game last season, he averaged 7.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game for the team.

He was an integral piece for Penn State last season, having several games where he eclipsed fifteen points. Johnson stands at 6’8 and seemed to fit the Rhoades system better than most players last season. He showed hustle and the ability to rebound, which will be much needed for this team next season. 

As an overall note, I believe that Rhoades will prioritize experience and size in his starting lineup for next season. The 2023-24 Nittany Lions let up the second most offensive rebounds last season in the Big Ten, and having Kern, Hicks, and Johnson all in the starting lineup will help find an answer to that issue. Johnson will look to add on to his promising senior season, and I see him sliding into a stretch-four role for Rhoades next season.