UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — New jobs almost always come with new challenges and a learning curve.
“This is Penn State. Penn State has had unbelievable student-athletes for a long, long time,” said Mike Rhoades, Penn State’s new head men’s basketball coach.
Out are faces that had become synonymous with Penn State basketball. Gone are Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Myles Dread– Penn State’s natural turnover costs them eight seniors.
With Micah Shrewsberry’s move to Notre Dame, the roster falls even more into question. Since the season’s end, four players have entered the transfer portal —Dallion Johnson, Caleb Dorsey, Jameel Brown, and Evan Mahaffey. But, during a coaching change, the threat of more losses always looms.
“Now it’s time to go recruit. It’s time to build relationships with these young guys that are here”
While Rhoades’ number one priority is keeping the existing team on the roster, there are currently no players in Penn State’s recruiting class.
The trio of Carey Booth, Logan Imes, and Braedan Shrewsberry was ranked 24th in the nation. Since then, all three have asked out.
“Recruiting is about relationships. We have a staff that have lots and lots of relationships because they’ve been doing this for a long time at a high level,” said Rhoades.
And like his predecessor Rhoades, is clear that he wants to recruit strongly in PA. When asked how he will recruit in basketball-hub of Philadelphia, Rhoades had a simple answer.
“Hire a Martelli.”
Jimmy Martelli, the son of legendary Saint Joe’s coach Phil Martelli, has deep ties in Philly. He, and former Nittany Lion great Joe Crispin, have deep Pennsylvania connections.
“We got to go build a roster,” said Rhoades. “But, I assure you this, we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it so this will last.”
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As it stands just 24-hours after Mike Rhoades was introduced, Penn State has just five players committed to play in the 2023-2024 season.
Needless to say, it’s a long road ahead for Mike Rhoades and Company.