2022 Record: 23-14 (10-10)
Head Coach: Mike Rhoades (Career Record 373-189) (1st season at Penn State)
PG: Ace Baldwin (VCU 12.7 Pts, 2.9 Reb, 5.8 Ast)
SG: D’Marco Dunn (North Carolina 2.7 Pts, 0.7 Reb, 0.2 Ast)
SF: Zach Hicks (Temple 9.6 Pts, 5.1 Reb, 1.6 Ast)
PF: Puff Johnson (North Carolina 4.1 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 0.4 Ast)
C: Qudas Wahab (Georgetown 9.6 Pts, 7.1 Reb, 0.4 Ast)
6: PG Kanye Cleary (3.7 Pts, 0.9 Reb, 0.7 Ast)
7: SF Leo O’Boyle (Lafayette 11.6 Pts, 3.6 Reb, 1.6 Ast)
8: SG Nick Kern (VCU 5.3 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 0.8 Ast)
9: SG RayQuawndis Mitchell (Kansas City 17.3 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 1.6 Ast)
10: C Favour Aire (Miami 0.6 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.0 Ast)
11: PG Bragi Gudmundsson
12: SG Jameel Brown (0.9 Pts, 1.0 Reb, 0.2 Ast)
13: C Demetrius Lilley (0.8 Pts, 0.4 Reb, 0.0 Ast)
Penn State has a completely new roster this upcoming season following the coaching change this offseason. The leading returning scorer for the Nittany Lions is Kanye Cleary who showed some promise last season as a freshman and does have potential to have a breakout season this year. Cleary is a very quick and athletic guard who can run an offense and also moves well off the ball. Other returners for the Nittany Lions include C Demetrius Lilley and SG Jameel Brown who are projected to be towards the bottom of the rotation this upcoming season with all the portal adds that Penn State made. Penn State’s lone freshman signee this year was Icelandic guard Bragi Gudmundsson who is the younger brother of former Davidson star Jon Axel Gudmundsson.
As far as portal additions goes, the most valuable addition for the Nittany Lions has to be VCU PG transfer Ace Baldwin who followed Mike Rhoades to Penn State. Baldwin is what every coach looks for in a point guard. He’s a fantastic passer that can get his teammates involved and he’s also an exceptional defender. He can score from just about anywhere on the court and started all 80 of the career games he’s played in. Also following Coach Rhoades from VCU to Penn State is fellow guard transfer Nick Kern. The VCU product shot 62% from the floor last season really showing the ability to score at will from inside the arc.
In addition to the pair of transfers from VCU, the Nittany Lions also added a pair of transfers from North Carolina. D’Marco Dunn and Puff Johnson are both former 4 star players and are expected to start this upcoming season for the Nittany Lions. Neither player was able to really get it going in Chapel Hill, but with the change of scenery and the new system both players have the chance to be breakout guys. Both players gained a decent amount of experience playing at UNC and will bring what they learned to Happy Valley.
Other transfers that the Nittany Lions were able to haul in this offseason are Leo O’Boyle from Lafayette and Zach Hicks from Temple. O’Boyle has great size for his position at 6-7 and he’s mainly known for being a three point shooter as nearly 70% of his total shot attempts last season came from beyond the arc. He did shoot the 3 at a 41% clip last season so he did very well in that regard. Like many transfer ups, there is a huge rise in competition so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the level change. Zach Hicks from Temple is another player that has great size and length. The 6-7, 195lb wing is very athletic and makes an impact in many ways on the court. He was a bit of an inconsistent shooter last season shooting only 35% from the floor but the athleticism and defensive abilities make up for it. RayQuawndis Mitchell from Kansas City adds depth to the Nittany Lions roster. He had a very productive season scoring but was extremally inconsistent from the field and often took nearly 20 shots a game. When the ball isn’t always in his hands, it will be an interesting thing to monitor how he fits in his new off ball role.
The remaining transfers the Nittany Lions added to their roster this offseason were high major big man transfers. Qudas Wahab from Georgetown is a very experienced high major level big man that has the ability to make an immediate impact in what would be his lone season in Happy Valley. He’s a solid defender and shows great touch around the rim. He’s a boomerang transfer and had spent 1 season at Maryland in between his Georgetown career. The other big man transfer that Penn State added this offseason is Miami transfer Favour Aire. He is a former 4 star recruit that played very sparingly in his lone season with the Canes but does have the tangibles to develop into a quality backup big man.
Penn State doesn’t have high expectations this season with the complete roster overhaul and new squad in town. It will be near impossible to replicate the type of season they had last year under the departed Micah Shrewsberry. Penn State should find themselves towards the bottom of the Big 10 standings this season, but Mike Rhoades will have them on the path to success in the future.