Micah Shrewsberry ‘Begging’ Fans To Show Up For Wednesday’s Big Ten Opener
Penn State men’s basketball head coach Micah Shrewsberry has one message for Penn Staters: show up.
He’s not asking, and he’s not demanding. Rather, he’s begging.
“By tomorrow, I’ll be begging that we need some help,” Shrewsberry said Monday. “Everybody that’s able, and able-bodied, come to this game like we need your help.”
At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, the Nittany Lions will kick off Big Ten play in a battle against the Michigan State Spartans. In the season’s biggest home game thus far, the second-year head coach is pleading with fans to help advance the program to the next level.
“I appreciate the few that always show up. I appreciate the students that have packed the student section every single night,” Shrewsberry continued. “But if you want to see a good basketball team, if you want to help our program go from one level to the next, then there’s got to be some level of investment, and we’re getting to put up or shut up time.”
Now, Shrewsberry isn’t a stranger to loud atmospheres. In fact, during his stints in the NBA Playoffs with the Boston Celtics or his Final Four appearances with Butler, he’s experienced raucous crowds. He’s fine with playing this game “in front of nobody.” However, the coach just wants it for his guys.
“We got a fun group. We got a bunch of good dudes who also go support. They’re all doing stuff and they’re supporting other people,” Shrewsberry said. “I’m just asking for somebody to support them.”
“We have kids that are working hard in the classroom,” Shrewsberry continued. “We have kids that are doing things in the community for people. We play a style of basketball. It’s fun to watch. We play hard as hell every single possession. We’re just competing. If you can’t appreciate that, I don’t know what you want to appreciate.”
However, he does realize that the bottom line of filling out seats is winning. But, in his defense, Penn State is currently on its best season start since the 2019-2020 season (of which the Nittany Lions would’ve danced in March if not for the COVID-19 pandemic). The Nittany Lions currently boast a 6-2 record and have won all four home games. Its two losses came from a two-point loss to Virginia Tech and a double overtime thriller against Clemson.
Losses are losses, but for a struggling program of the last decade, it’s not a daunting request to ask for.
Shrewsberry noted a specific time at home against Butler when the Nittany Lions struggled to start the second half. The head coach turned toward the student section and told them to stand up, yell, and cheer. What followed? Penn State went on a six-minute, 22-4 run and ultimately overcame the Bulldogs.
Jalen Pickett even noticed the change in energy this year compared to last year. He said that the fans feel more involved, and the change in student section location has elevated the team’s play. Pickett reiterated Shrewsberry’s point that it takes winning to bring fans, but he’s ready for that energy fans brought for the successful 2019 campaign.
“We’re trying to get as many people to see us as possible,” Pickett said. “It comes with winning, of course. That’s why we think these next two games are going to be very big for us.”
“So, when Big Ten play comes around in January, we can have this place packed and crowded, like how Seth [Lundy] used to talk about the old BJC freshman year,” Pickett continued. “Hopefully we can get it like that again.”
At the end of the day, Shrewsberry doesn’t want people to wait to show the team love.
“Let’s accomplish something together,” Shrewsberry said. “Let’s get to the NCAA Tournament together. Why wait until February to try and rally our team to the tournament? Why can’t we do it in December? It’s helpful.”
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An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.
“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”
From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.