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Takeaways From Micah Shrewsberry’s End-Of-Season Presser

Micah Shrewsberry’s first season as Penn State men’s basketball’s head coach has come and gone.

While the Nittany Lions couldn’t punch a bid to the NCAA Tournament, you would be hard-pressed to call the season a failure. Shrewsberry rallied a rag-tag crew of transfers and senior talents to seven conference wins and a 2-1 record in the Big Ten Tournament.

While the dust is still settling on the year, Shrewsberry met with the media on Tuesday to wrap the season up and set his sights on the future. To streamline things, we compiled the biggest takeaways from his press conference.

The Transfer Portal Could Be Busy Again

After adding five scholarship players through the transfer portal last offseason, Penn State will likely use this route for roster construction once again. With the departure of John Harrar, Greg Lee, Jaheam Cornwall, Jalanni White, and possibly Sam Sessoms, the Nittany Lions are potentially and suddenly losing a lot of veteran talent.

Penn State will, on paper, have its best recruiting class ever to work with next season, but it’s hard to ask the world of true freshmen — no matter how highly rated they are.

“We want to [add through the portal] on a need-based basis,” Shrewsberry said. “For next year’s time, we do want to add a couple of older guys just so we don’t have to lean on those freshmen to be prime-time players right off the bat.”

The coach compared the portal to “speed dating,” which means Penn State really won’t get a good, hard look at the guys the team wants to bring in. Still, the program is prioritizing adding some veteran leadership to help guide the new blood forward.

Penn State Is Hoping For A Seth Lundy Leap

It’s no secret Seth Lundy had one of his worst games ever against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament. He mustered just four two points on 0-for-8 shooting with seven misses from downtown. The junior averaged nearly 12 points per game, but he came up short when Penn State needed him most.

Still, Shrewsberry stated the obvious in saying that one game doesn’t define a player. Perhaps Penn State wouldn’t have even been in that position if not for Lundy. He’ll be one of the oldest players on the roster next season, and the Nittany Lions would benefit largely from him making a leap.

“I talked to him about different guys in this league who have made the leap and gone from one player to a different player in a year’s time,” Shrewsberry said. “That’s something he can take to really have an offseason where he can take his time, get healthy, and then get back in the gym…That kid cares, man.”

Missing The NCAA Tournament Stings

While some fans were praying for a miracle in Penn State making the NCAA Tournament this year, it probably was never in the cards under a first-year head coach with significant roster turnover. But even with small expectations, it’s hard to ignore how close the Nittany Lions were to going dancing.

Nine Big Ten teams are playing in March Madness this year and Penn State finished tied for 10th in the conference. While Penn State was seven overall wins away from Indiana, the lowest-ranked in-conference team to make the tournament, the Hoosiers had just two more Big Ten wins than the Nittany Lions — and a head-to-head loss to Penn State.

“I want to say we beat five or six of those teams that are in [the NCAA Tournament],” Shrewsberry said. “We were right there. And that’s the part where you get a little disappointed that you’re close… we need to build off what we did this year.”

This Year’s Defense Was A Great Starting Point

Shrewsberry often says that he hates losing. It’s hard to find silver linings sometimes when you lose 17 games in a season, but Penn State certainly excelled in a handful of areas — even with a hodgepodge roster.

Defense and pace of play were big successes this season for the Nittany Lions. All year, Penn State slowed teams down and forced them to play at its pace, which often led to upset victories and close finishes.

“I was pleased with how we defended. I liked the things that we established as a defensive team and we ended up being No. 1 in the Big Ten in defensive scoring,” Shrewsberry said. “People point to our style of play or pace of play…We dictated the pace to everyone else.”

This Offseason Should Be Much Less Hectic

After losing so many former Nittany Lions to the transfer portal and losing all commitments, Shrewsberry was really grasping for straws this previous offseason.

“There was so much going on,” he said. “When I first got here, I didn’t feel like I had control in terms of our roster. There were so many guys that were coming and going and we spent way more time re-recruiting guys than we did recruiting guys.”

Even with this limited recruiting time, Penn State’s staff managed to bring in an incredibly impressive Class of 2023 haul. Now, Shrewsberry has control. Just like on the court, he’s dictating the pace of the program and bringing in recruits and transfers where he sees fit.

The Nittany Lions can sit back a bit and focus on culture and basketball rather than whether or not they’ll be able to field a roster. Factor in loosened COVID-19 restrictions, and Shrewsberry is staring at a much more casual offseason.

“I feel like we’re ahead of the game a little bit,” he said. “We can focus more on basketball this summer rather than spending the entire time kind of chasing our tail.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a senior business and journalism major from "Philadelphia" and is Onward State's social media manager. He writes about a lot of things, including football and hoops. If you want to gain absolutely nothing, you can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9. Say hi via email at [email protected]

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