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Micah Shrewsberry Talks Lessons Learned, Expectations For Penn State Hoops

Penn State men’s basketball head coach Micah Shrewsberry made his inaugural debut on the College Hoops Today podcast with CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Monday.

To open things up, Rothstein asked the hardest-hitting question Shrewsberry has likely heard since being named head coach: How big of a role did the Creamery plan in coming to Penn State?

“It actually was more important when hiring staff!” Shrewsberry said. “I don’t know if I am an expert on much, Jon, but if there is one thing I am an expert on, it’s ice cream.”

Shrewsberry’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate, but he said he also loves a good Oreo-flavored variety, too.

Rothstein then shifted the questioning to more basketball-related topics, starting with the preparation for being a first-time head coach. Shrewsberry discussed how he had a bunch of plans before he was hired, but once he got the job, they went out the window. He emphasized how he has leaned on Purdue coach Matt Painter for advice.

“I lean on Coach Painter a lot. He told me to focus on the things that directly lead to winning,” Shrewsberry said. “I have the greatest respect for him. He has the greatest respect for his players and his staff, and that needs to be at the forefront of everything we do. Everything we do should be for our guys. It should be about them having a great student-athlete experience at Penn State. Not to mention, we are in the same league, and he’s still helping me. That’s the kind of guy he is.”

He also talked about the advice former Celtics coach Brad Stevens gave him.

“I think Brad’s preparation is one of the best I’ve ever been around,” Shrewsberry said. “Almost every situation that has come up, he has prepared for. He has a unique way to simplify everything that was needed in a game plan and doing that in the easiest way possible so the guys don’t overthink. Those are the things that I learned from him.”

Rothstein later asked Shrewsberry how he felt about the roster he inherited and the players he has brought in.

“I was thrilled that we got guys back with Big Ten experience. That was huge,” Shrewsberry said. “The transfer portal has been crazy for everybody, and it was crazy for us. But being able to have Myles Dread and Sam Sessoms never go in, and putting their blind trust in this school, but also in me, was helpful. To add John [Harrar] and Seth Lundy back were big wins for us. We have a core group of guys that competed in this league, and that’s important to have. The guys we’ve added, we’re still learning who they are. It’s funny because they got here a few days ago and it was the first time I met Jalen Pickett face to face. These eight weeks are important on the basketball side, but it’s also important for this team to grow together.”

Entering a season with a first-year coach can make expectations tough to gauge. Shrewsberry said there were many good things that previous coaches Pat Chambers and Jim Ferry had established, and he wants to build on those goals. But Shrewsberry won’t put a ceiling on what the team could accomplish.

“The simple goal is we want to compete night in and night out. We need to be a gritty, scrappy, tough, fighting group. If you can do that every night, you give yourself a chance in this league,” Shrewsberry said. “I told my guys I don’t want to put a ceiling on what we can do. I don’t want to give them a win total to aim for because when we hit it, we’re done, and I want to keep going. The sky’s the limit.”

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a senior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in secondary education and minoring in social justice in education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor", and yes mom, actually doing school work. If you would like to talk about sports or "Survivor", the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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