Penn State Basketball

Penn State Basketball: Grading Mike Rhoades Hire

In what has been a tense week surrounding Penn State Basketball, the Nittany Lions have their new head coach.

Mike Rhoades is headed to Happy Valley, as the Pennsylvania native returns home as the program’s next head coach.

Grading Mike Rhoades’ Hire as Penn State Basketball Coach

Pat Kraft and company worked quickly to make their next coaching decision, Micah Shrewsberry left for Notre Dame just about one week ago. It was important for Kraft to work quickly.

Given the nature of college basketball, with the ability to transfer and current recruits able to rescind their national letters of intent.

The longer PSU went without a head coach the tougher it was going to be to keep current and future players in State College. 

Mike Rhoades has Pennsylvania ties, having played at Lebanon Valley College. He was hired to be the head coach at VCU in 2017. Rhoades went on to lead the Rams to the NCAA tournament in 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023. 


While he isn’t known for having “more plays than Broadway,” Rhoades comes to Happy Valley with a large amount of success following him.

Being able to coach now in the Big Ten instead of the A10 conference feels like the next appropriate step in the coaching ladder for Rhoades.

The job won’t be easy. While it can be argue Penn State Basketball is still carrying momentum from last season, there is work to be done. Carey Booth and Logan Imes have asked to be released from their NLI. Seniors like Dread, Pickett, Wynter, and Funk all will no longer be on the team in 2023. 

But, Rhoades has shown at previous jobs he can build a program and maintain success.

Unlike Shrewsberry, who was known for his offense, Rhoades is known for his stingy defense. Safe to say defensive rebounding may be better under Rhoades? It can’t be much worse.

The transfer portal will be his friend, and one never knows who may follow him from Virginia to State College.

If Rhoades and keep guys like Kebba Njie around, it could go a long way in helping him have quicker success. All in all it may not be the splashiest of hires, but it’s a proven head coach with years of experience, and a guy with the proper backing and support could be in Happy Valley for years to come. 

Overall Hire Grade: B+

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