Staff Predictions: Penn State Hoops’ 2022-2023 Season

We’re just three days away from Penn State men’s basketball season tipping off, and there seems to be a lot of promise heading into the season.

Head coach Micah Shrewsberry is entering his second season in Happy Valley after leading his team to a 14-17 record and a semifinals appearance in the Big Ten Tournament last year. However, with a full recruiting year under his belt, Shrewsberry has brought in the best class in program history and even some talented transfers to round out the gritty, not pretty Nittany Lions.

So, will Shrewsberry have his first winning season in the blue and white? Will Penn State finally find itself dancing in March? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Devon Craley: 19-12, NCAA Tournament Appearance

I think it’s a lock that Penn State will finish above .500 for the first time since the 2019-20 season and the first time under head coach Micah Shrewsberry.

The Nittany Lions are coming off a good run in the Big Ten Tournament as they welcome one of their best recruiting classes in program history. There’s a lot of hype from the national media surrounding Penn State this season, and I’m all in on it. I don’t see the Nittany Lions winning the conference title to earn an automatic tournament bid, but I do think they will have a good enough regular season and Big Ten Tournament run to back their way into the big dance.

Penn State will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011.

Brendan Wagner: 18-13, NCAA Tournament Bubble Bid

With returning starters Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy, the Nittany Lions will still have some offensive threats to worry about. Penn State was also able to recruit great size to replace John Harrar down low. However, don’t expect this team to truly blossom for another year or two.

Aidan Conrad: 19-12, NCAA Tournament Appearance

Penn State has a veteran group heading into the season. It’s returning four starters and bringing in its highest recruiting class of all time. My expectations for this team are the highest they’ve been in years. The Nittany Lions will finish 19-13, earning themselves the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Owen Abbey: 18-13, NIT Appearance

Penn State is going to be much better this year. Shrewsberry is in his second year with his entire staff still on board, and the consistency will provide a stable background for what he wants to do. He also has stars in Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy coming back, and both will play key roles in how well this team does.

The new blood on this roster is going to be the deciding factor in how this team performs. Will Kebba Njie and Jameel Brown play at the same level as they have in practice? How will Camren Wynter, Andrew Funk, and Mikey Henn adapt to Big Ten play? These questions are going to be solved very early and will set the tone moving forward.

Despite the fact that I think the Nittany Lions will be improved this season, I don’t think they make the tournament. The Big Ten is a brutal schedule, and I’m unsure if this team can hold up during that run. I expect an NIT appearance and dare I say a run that could match the 2017-18 team.

Luke Brown: 18-13, NCAA Tournament Bubble Bid

Outside of making Andy Katz’s “Top 11 Most Underrated Teams,” Penn State has a lot to look forward to this season. The senior trio of Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Myles Dread gives the team a lot of experience and expectations that is hasn’t had in a very long time.

The Nittany Lions might not crack the top 25 this season, but look for the Nittany Lions to pull off some shocking upsets this year across the Big Ten. This is the best shot at March Madness the program has had in over 10 years.

Frankie Marzano: 19-12 NCAA Tournament Appearance

Micah Shrewsberry is the man. With just one year under his belt, he’s already managed to completely turn around the reputation this program has, which used to be pretty bad. Now, the Nittany Lions have their best recruiting class coming in to do some serious damage in the Big Ten. This will be a pesky group and will surely make some noise in the conference before making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

Keeley Lamm: 18-13, NCAA Tournament Appearance

This is the year, folks. I’ve never seen more optimism amongst the coaching staff, team, and fanbase about the trajectory of Penn State hoops than this year. The Nittany Lions’ likely starting five is so sturdy and a bench full of returners and impressive freshmen is something to be excited about. With no need for a transition period in Micah Shrewberry’s second year, this team is going to impress from the start and make a name for itself in the Big Ten.

Jalen Pickett, you’re going to go dancing this year. I know it.

Tobey Prime: 17-14, NIT Appearance

I haven’t been excited for Penn State men’s basketball since before I knew what the coronavirus was. (Which, at this point, feels like a decade ago.)

Shrewsberry is in his second year as head coach and not only did he bring in five talented and versatile freshmen, but he also brought in three graduate transfers who have shown they can ball. Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy will lead this team and set the standard for all the newcomers on both sides of the ball. However, I’m also keeping a close eye on Myles Dread, who claimed he is the healthiest he has ever been going into the season. If he can turn into a sharpshooter on offense and a lockdown defender for any position on the court, this team will be scary.

With all that being said, I still believe we will see some growing pains throughout the season. John Harrar is a big loss down low, and I don’t think any player on this current roster can replace his passion, play, and attitude toward the program. Kebba Njie is expected to be the team’s center, but he’s still 18 years old, so there will be mistakes. I also wonder how our transfers will adapt to Big Ten play.

Penn State is poised for some huge upsets this year, but the conference is always a gauntlet. I would love for the Nittany Lions to dance this year, but I think we’ll have to wait one more year until they’re playing in March.

Mikey DeAngelis: 23-8, NCAA Tournament Appearance

I have high hopes for the Nittany Lions this season. Many core elements of last year’s team are still around, Micah Shrewsberry now has a full year of experience with the program under his belt, and the team added a lot of talent in the offseason between transfers and new recruits. I think this team could sneak into the tournament, if not the NIT.

Sam Fremin: 17-14, NIT Appearance

After a bit of an unsure period, head coach Micah Shrewsberry seems like the man for the job. With returners like Jalen Pickett and Myles Dread, the Nittany Lions possess veteran production and leadership. Shrewsberry has also managed to secure the highest-graded recruiting class in program history.

Still, even with all of these moves in the right direction, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t expect a turnaround overnight, and the last time Penn State was knocking at the door of the NCAA Tournament, it boasted legitimate NBA talent in Lamar Stevens. I believe they will be there soon, but the Nittany Lions won’t take as major of a step in the right direction as my bullish counterparts expect.

Connor Krause: 18-13, NCAA Tournament Last Four In

After Micah Shrewsberry’s initial campaign in Happy Valley ended with a Big Ten Tournament dogfight loss against No. 9 Purdue, there’s been no shortage of optimism in Happy Valley with the program’s stock on the rise.

Despite losing cornerstones Sam Sessoms and John Harrar, Shrewsberry added three quality transfer portal prospects who all posted over 14 points per matchup a year ago. Additionally, the Nittany Lions gained five quality freshman enrollees for their first-ever top-30 recruiting class per ESPN.

There’s no doubt that this rendition of Penn State hoops presents its most talented bunch since the squad’s canceled tournament push in 2020, but a young frontcourt headlined by Kebba Njie and Demetrius Lilley will surely have its fair share of fits against oversized Big Ten forward combinations.

If the defense maintains its top-notch “gritty, not pretty” mentality from a year ago, this group will turn former close losses into wins with its newfound scoring ability — courtesy of Andrew Funk, Jalen Pickett, and Seth Lundy. Growing pains aside, Shrewsberry’s likely nine-deep rotation is deep and talented enough to make an NCAA Tournament push.

Gabe Angieri: 19-12, NCAA Tournament Appearance

I’m all in. The Nittany Lions are going dancing in March, folks.

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