Penn State Basketball

John Harrar Opens Up About What to Expect from Happy Valley Hoopers

Penn State will be participating in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) for the first time, headlined by Player/GM John Harrar.

John Harrar worked hard since September to get a Penn State alumni team into The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all $1 million single-elimination tournament. After the official announcement, he sat down with the Shots Gotta Fall Podcast to talk all things Penn State Basketball. He spoke on a variety of subjects, laughing about the fact he became a .gif after his court slide at Mackey Arena, admitting he doesn’t remember thinking he could actually get the loose ball. He said his favorite non-PSU or Mackey Arena (Purdue) gym in the Big Ten was Rutgers(?!?) and gave his favorite cheesesteak choice in Philadelphia. But, most importantly, he previewed what he is excited about on the Happy Valley Hoopers roster. “I think Penn State is one of those perfect schools to have a TBT team,” Harrar said on The Shots Gotta Fall podcast. “Because I always look at Buffalo… They won it last year. They have a lot of professionals, some guys in the G-League and a lot of guys overseas, and a lot of guys that are hungry for their next contract. “I think that’s what makes the TBT so special, is you do have these teams that are so special, you’re buying players, and all that stuff. The teams like Buffalo, and like we could be, who are just really good professionals, really good basketball players, but maybe just need one or two more opportunities.”


Harrar specifically highlighted Mike Watkins dunking and defense, Sam Sessoms‘ ability to score, and Josh Reaves general high level of play. While it’s a one-and-done tournament, Harrar spoke about how Assistant Coach Bo (Waggoner) was scouting their first-round opponent Nerd Team (featuring State College’s own Drew Freiburg), and spoke about their general offensive and defensive philosophies. Most importantly, the TBT is entirely self-funded and Happy Valley Hoopers need our help.  Please consider donating if you are able to their GoFundMe


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Evan Smith

Evan Smith is an alum of Penn State (Marketing, Economics, 2011) and a basketball season ticket holder since 2006. NittanyCentral is his second reporting job following the Men's Basketball program. He co-founded and co-hosts the Shots Gotta Fall - The Penn State Basketball Podcast (the premiere, the best, the only) with Steve Travis. Smith's most proud moment covering the team was seeing the national No. 9 ranking during Pat Chambers' last year. His most embarrassing moment was spending almost a thousand dollars to travel 2,000 miles in 46 hours to watch the Nittany Lions lose to Temple in the 2011 NCAA Tournament (screw you Juan Fernandez).