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Penn State Hoops 2022-23 Season Preview

Penn State men’s basketball is ready to take the next step this season. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry is in his second year at the helm, most of the team’s stars from last year are back, and the squad has a chip on its shoulder.

The roster is relatively deep, as eight new players joined a loaded roster that has the likes of Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Myles Dread aiming for a chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Three of the new additions are graduate transfers who have plenty of experience playing at a high level. The other five are freshmen, each looking to bring something new and exciting to the roster.

The Nittany Lions finished 14-17 last season, but that record doesn’t show how many games were decided in the last couple of minutes of play. They easily could have had a .500 record or possibly even a winning record. If Penn State adjusts and pulls out a handful of close wins, it may shock a lot of analysts who don’t expect much from this team.

Let’s take a look at how the roster is shaking out for the beginning of the season.

Guards

This season, Penn State is deep at the guard position. Pickett is the leader of this group, and Shrewsberry has praised him throughout the offseason. The expectations are high for the graduate senior, as he’s expected to not just be a mentor for the younger guards but be the focal point of everything the team does.

A fully healthy Dread is another huge victory for the Nittany Lions. If he can get back to his clutch, sharp-shooting ways, this team will find the net more with much more consistency. But, he isn’t the only three-point specialist on the roster. If Dallion Johnson keeps playing at the same rate he played last season, and transfer Andrew Funk settles in nicely, the duo will be impactful off the bench.

The other graduate senior transfer, Camren Wynter, is a perfect compliment to Pickett and the rest of this offense. He can shoot the ball well, but he can also serve as a primary ball-handler. It’s unclear if he can fill the gritty role that Sam Sessoms left behind, but if he can, that’ll be huge for the Nittany Lions.

Then, there are the two freshmen guards — Kanye Clary and Jameel Brown. Clary is small and quick but has the potential to grow into a really strong point guard. Clary dealt with a minor injury during the fall preseason, so that could impact how early fans will see him in the lineup.

Brown is a player that can do it all. He elevates his teammates and prioritizes the little things. Shrewsberry was very happy with Brown’s development throughout the offseason. It’s unknown how often he will step on the court, but having depth is a good problem.

Forwards

The frontcourt happens to be where the biggest question marks lie for this team, similar to last year. Lundy is the leader here, and he has grown a lot in his four years at Penn State. The question is if he can be consistent over the course of the 32-game season.

The other massive question is who is going to guard the big men of the Big Ten? Graduate transfer Michael Henn is one option, as are freshmen Kebba Njie and Demetrius Lilley.

Henn is more of a stretch-forward, meaning he tends to shoot the three more often than post-up. He has the ability to be a bad matchup for traditional big men, but how this translates to the defensive side of the ball is up in the air.

Lilley has been dealing with an injury for most of the fall, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready to go when the season begins. When he is at full strength, however, he is a physical big man.

The standout freshman so far has been the 6’10” Njie. He was extremely impressive in the offseason scrimmage, and his versatility will prove to be a big deal for this team. He can get physical in the paint, while also having the ability to make jump shots from everywhere across the court. Njie has earned the playing time and possibly even the chance to start.

The dark horse here is Evan Mahaffey, who can be likened to a taller Jamari Wheeler. Mahaffey’s strength is on the defensive side of the ball, and he tends to challenge some of the offensive-minded players on this team in practice. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mahaffey late in games when the Nittany Lions need a stop.

Projected Starting Lineup

G: Camren Wynter

G: Jalen Pickett

G: Myles Dread

F: Seth Lundy

F: Kebba Njie


The Nittany Lions will finally tip off their first game of the season at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 7, against Winthrop at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be streamed on BTN+.

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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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