Putting Penn State Hoops’ Latest Commitment In Perspective

On Monday afternoon, Penn State men’s basketball received its third verbal pledge of the current recruiting cycle from four-star guard Jameel Brown.

Brown, a Pennsylvania native, chose to stay in-state with the Nittany Lions over national powers such as Purdue, Auburn, Marquette, and Minnesota.

According to 247Sports, Brown is ranked as the No. 107 overall recruit nationally, and he’s the second-best prospect in Pennsylvania. Many believed the guard to be a Purdue lock since the beginning of his recruitment, but the addition of Micah Shrewsberry seems to have ultimately helped Penn State land the highly touted scorer over the new head coach’s former employer.

If Brown’s ranking were to stand throughout the remainder of the recruiting period, he would begin his Penn State career as the third-highest ranked signee in the history of the program behind only Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens.

Although several months remain until signing day, Micah Shrewberry’s latest haul on the recruiting trail is historic for multiple reasons.

Following Brown’s decision, Penn State’s 2022 recruiting class received a boost to No. 16 in the country, placing the rebuilding program ahead of historic blue-bloods like Syracuse, Indiana, and Kentucky. Furthermore, the current ranking stands ahead of 2016’s program-best class, which finished slotted at No. 26 nationally.

Despite Brown’s pledge being the highest-profile of Shrewsberry’s five-month tenure, the first-time head coach is responsible for gaining seven new commitments since his arrival in Happy Valley, including three poaches from the transfer portal. In nearly 10 years at the program’s helm, Pat Chambers brought in just six transfer players over a decade-long span.

The Nittany Lions’ class has certainly shaped up to be one of its best ever, but there are still multiple game-changing recruits left to commit that could bolster its current ranking to another level.

Micah Shrewsberry and Co. are pushing hard for the commitment of Derek Lively, the top prospect in Pennsylvania and the No. 5-rated recruit nationally. The 7’1″ specimen is the No. 1 center in the country, and he’s received pro-comparisons to Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan for his ability to protect the rim and control the glass.

Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, Lively recently narrowed down his choices to Penn State, Duke, and Kentucky. Unlike Shrewsberry’s new program, the others are known for producing NBA lottery picks year after year, including stars at his position including Jahlil Okafor and Marvin Bagley for Duke and Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo for Kentucky.

The hype for Lively doesn’t stop there. On Monday, Lively was offered his first professional offer from the NBA G League’s Ignite franchise. The offer is reportedly worth $500,000, making college a potentially less intriguing option for the high school phenom.

The other top-100 uncommitted prospect the Nittany Lions are still in the mix for is Otega Oweh, a four-star shooting guard and the younger brother of former Penn State football defensive end Odafe Oweh. The crafty finisher holds 19 offers from a variety of power-five programs but utilized his one official visit to Penn State in early June. Currently, Penn State looks to be the front runner for the Nittany Lion legacy prospect, but his recruitment is far from over.

In less than six months, Micah Shrewsberry and his staff have completely transformed Penn State basketball’s identity from a former Big Ten bottom-feeder to an up-and-coming, energetic squad reliant on eager newcomers. Despite not currently having an on-court product to show for it, the trajectory of Nittany Lion hoops is rising — and fast.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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