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Penn State Hoops’ Reported Rush To Transfer Portal Doesn’t Mark Death Of The Program

This past Tuesday was clearly a rough day for the Penn State men’s basketball program.

Just a day after the university announced it would move on from Jim Ferry and hire Purdue assistant Micah Shrewsberry as head coach, six players reportedly entered the NCAA’s transfer portal. Senior captain John Harrar started the trend Tuesday morning, and reports regarding Jamari Wheeler, Izaiah Brockington, and several others soon followed.

There’s no question that this looks bad. But we need to keep a few things in mind here, folks.

First, a player’s entrance into the NCAA’s transfer portal doesn’t mean they’re leaving their original school for certain. The portal, which made its debut in October 2018, allows student-athletes to act as “free agents” of sorts and be actively recruited by any school that shows interest in them.

Each of these Nittany Lions has at least one year of eligibility left at Penn State. For all we know, they could just be testing the waters and seeing if they’ll get a bite from any programs that fit them well. We could very well see a number of these guys return if they don’t get looks from schools high on their lists.

Penn State fans have seen this before. Remember Lamont Wade? The safety entered the transfer portal after his junior season and was hit with a slew of criticism on social media. After just a few weeks, however, Wade rescinded his name from the portal and went on to start as safety for Penn State over the next two seasons. He leaves Happy Valley with 153 total tackles, four forced fumbles, and even a kick return touchdown.

Even with all of these basketball stars in the portal, however, are we really that shocked? The Nittany Lions voiced their displeasure with Pat Chambers’ sudden resignation before this past season began, and we don’t have much reason to believe they’ve been given any more explanation on what exactly happened.

It’s hard to blame any of these players for being frustrated with the university. They committed to Chambers and his coaching staff, and after a respectable 11-14 campaign amid the chaos, much of what’s left of that is gone.

And no, that doesn’t mean they “hate” Penn State or have any less pride in the program or the university. To think that is foolish, at best.

Lastly, let’s keep in mind who Shrewsberry is. It’s not as if the guy has no idea what he’s doing. While this is his first head coaching job at the Division I level, the 44-year old spent an extended amount of time as an assistant under Brad Stevens at Butler and with the Boston Celtics.

Before returning to Purdue’s staff in 2019, Shrewsberry spent time coaching NBA stars such as Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. The young coach clearly has valuable experience learning under impressive coaches at the college and professional level.

The Nittany Lions definitely have issues to address, but none of this means that the program is in an unfixable situation. It’s been two days since Shrewsberry was hired, and there’s a long offseason ahead of Penn State. Let’s let the dust settle before we make judgments on where this team is headed.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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