Penn State Basketball: Influx of young talent should trigger excitement
Penn State Basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry has attracted a strong recruiting class, which should raise expectations for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State Basketball aims to build off the best recruiting class in school history, as the second season of head coach Micah Shrewsberry’s tenure begins in November.
The 2022 class finished ranked 26th nationally and 5th in the Big Ten. This is one of the best classes in recent memory where everyone is ranked as a 3-star or higher.
Headlining the class is the six-foot-eight and 205-pound center Kebba Njie, out of La Porte, Indiana. Njie ranks as the No. 18 center, No. 7 player in Indiana, and No. 111 Nationally. Originally interested in playing for Purdue where Shrewsberry was an assistant under Matt Painter, Njie quickly became a cornerstone to the 2022 class when Shrewsberry was hired as the head coach for the Nittany Lions. He is the second-highest rated recruit in Penn State history behind Tony Carr.
Shrewsberry is already replicating the style of his former mentor, Painter, through the recruitment of two centers for his first class with Njie and the three-star six-foot-10 Demetrius Lilly, from Lower Merion who is ranked 259th nationally.
One of the criticisms of the Pat Chambers roster construction during his tenure as head coach was always the lack of big man depth.
Even in the years where Penn State Basketball had a Mike Watkins or John Harrar as efficient centers, the Lions lacked skilled big men off the bench that would be able to give reliable minutes.
Shrewsberry is already changing the roster outlook for this team and looks to compete in the everchanging talented and physical Big Ten by making the frontcourt a priority.
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The second big name in the 2022 class is 6-foot-4 combo guard Jameel Brown out of Norristown, PA.
Brown is a 3-star recruit ranked 135th nationally and is expected to make an immediate impact along with returning star Jalen Pickett and the improving Dallion Johnson in the backcourt.
Brown is considered the sixth-highest rated recruit in school history, according to 24/7 sports.
The class will also include five-foot-11 point guard Kanye Clary from the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock Virginia, who is a 3 star and the 180th ranked player nationally.
Clary is a smaller, quicker guard who could potentially be a good fit to replace Sam Sessoms who left in the transfer portal this offseason.
The last commit for this class is 6’5” small forward Evan Mahaffey from Archbishop Moeller in Cincinnati Ohio.
Mahaffey is a three-star and ranked 183rd Nationally and is the 9th ranked player in the state of Ohio. The small forward will give the Nittany Lions more depth and hopefully develop into a great wing player.
How Micah Shrewsberry is already rebuilding Penn State Basketball
Outside of the incoming freshman class Shrewsberry has also been making waves in the transfer portal.
The Nittany Lions’ 22 class includes three transfers, and is ranked 46th on 24/7 sports.
The highlight of this year’s transfer class is the six-foot-2 point guard Camren Wynter from Drexel.
Wynter was a first team all CAA conference player last season averaging 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He is listed as a 3-star transfer and is ranked 50th nationally on 24/7 and 69th on ESPN.
Another big addition will be Andrew Funk, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, transferring from Bucknell.
Last season for the Bison, Funk averaged 17.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and three assists per game. Funk also shot 36.3% from three-point range earning him Second-Team All-Patriot league honors.
Funk will add another shooter to the rotation as well as give Penn State Basketball some more size in the backcourt. Funk is ranked 89th in the ESPN top 100 transfers and is listed as a 3 star.
Shrewsberry had a positive first season despite a lot of uncertainty pending the transfers that had left in the offseason.
The addition of Pickett proved to be a key piece for Penn State Basketball, who finished the season 14-17 (7-13) with key wins over Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Shrewsberry’s squad had three non-conference games canceled due to covid, so it is probable that they would have finished with a .500 record had they played those games.
The Nittany Lions will return both of their top leading scorers in Jalen Pickett (13.3 ppg) and Seth Lundy (11.9 ppg) in addition to the loaded incoming class.
Don’t be surprised if Penn State Basketball is knocking on the door to go dancing when March rolls around.
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1 thought on “Penn State Basketball: Influx of young talent should trigger excitement”
Excited to see Penn State Basketball moving in the right direction!!!!
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