One-Of-A-Kind Senior Class Led Way For Penn State Hoops’ Momentous Season

At the conclusion of Penn State men’s basketball’s heartbreaking loss to Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night, six Nittany Lions took off their blue and white jerseys for likely the last time.

Seniors Seth Lundy, Myles Dread, Andrew Funk, Camren Wynter, Jalen Pickett, and Mikey Henn peeled off their well-worn uniforms after a combined 14 years of effort within the program.

“I wear this blue and white with pride. I’m so thankful for everything this university has ever given me, for the people I’ve met, relationships I’ve built,” Dread said. “I’ve always been a school spirit kind of guy…I will never forget those memories. Those guys know that they can always call me and they have a friend in me.”

After coming up short of their goal in the NCAA Tournament and realizing it was the last time playing as a Nittany Lion, emotions ran high from the staff through the roster with wishes of another chance outweighing all.

“I didn’t want to stop. I want to practice again. I want to play again because this group…they deserve it,” head coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “They deserve it for all the work that they put in that nobody sees, nobody recognizes.”

Before the season began, three transfers ignited the group ahead of its historic campaign: Henn, Wynter, and Funk. The trio joined the program in the offseason following Shrewsberry’s first year and turned out out to play pivotal roles in the consequential following season.

A college basketball veteran, Henn entered his sixth year of ball at Penn State and committed to Shrewsberry, marking his final year of eligibility in Happy Valley. A slow start didn’t keep Henn from breaking through the expectations of previous starting lineups, and the 6’8″ big man earned four straight starts in the beginning of the February slate of games.

Henn’s minute count topped at 29 against Purdue on February 1 in an attempt to mitigate Boilermaker machine Zach Edey. The Bellevue, Washington, native held Edey to 13 rebounds despite the Nittany Lions failing to maintain a consistent center after the graduation of John Harrar.

The addition of shooting guard Wynter to Penn State hoops’ roster paid dividends in the starting lineup and stat sheet but, most notably, at the buzzer. The Drexel transfer started in 33 out of 37 games and remained consistent and dependable through his 1,041 minutes played.

At the tail end of the season, while NCAA Tournament odds were dwindling, Wynter drilled back-to-back game-winning conversions over Northwestern and a ranked-Maryland crew to essentially seal the deal of a tournament bid.

A transfer portal necessity, Wynter added palpable spark and stability to a flailing lineup when role players Lundy and Pickett were consumed with heavy coverage.

Funk instituted a three-point expectation from the Nittany Lions en route to the highest-single-season three-point total in the Big Ten. Coming out of the Patriot League, Funk proved to be a secret weapon on the perimeter, garnering 112 triples throughout his single season in Happy Valley.

The sharpshooter and sole-season captain saved the best energy for last and posted five performances tallying at or greater than 14 points per game in Penn State’s hot 12-game stretch to close the season. Most notably, Funk put on a 27-point display against Texas A&M in the Nittany Lions’ opening tournament outing.

Gathering national attention during March Madness, Funk set the standard that Penn State hoops lives and dies by the three.

Beyond the impact of the 2022-23 transfers, Pickett, Lundy, and Dread established the Penn State culture through leadership, commitment, and direction in the midst of reconstruction in the Shrewsberry era.

A jackpot transfer portal score, Pickett proved to be the Nittany Lions’ linchpin and offensive maestro. Breaking records or earning awards nearly every week, the Siena College transfer turned Penn State basketball on its head and grew the group to what he hopes will be a perennial NCAA Tournament team.

Pickett earned second-team All-American honors in March, then turned around and led the Nittany Lions to a historic Round of 32 finish in March Madness. Before then, the Rochester native posted an insane 41-point game against Illinois to kick off Penn State’s incredible end-of-season run. The leader reached double figures in just about every contest and is bound for the Penn State history books.

Lundy and Dread, two career Nittany Lions, always dreamed of taking the blue and white to the NCAA Tournament. The pair stuck through a handful of coaching staffs before Shrewsberry, and ultimately found themselves, headed toward March Madness after nine combined seasons in Happy Valley.

Lundy committed to Penn State hoops in October 2018 as a four-star recruit out of Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School. The small forward worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and grew exponentially in his four years with the program.

Despite entering the transfer portal in March 2021, Lundy remained a Nittany Lion for his senior year and successfully aided Penn State’s search for basketball consistency and glory.

Dread spent five years playing in the Bryce Jordan Center through three head coaches and a plethora of struggle. However, the team-first shooting guard committed to the Penn State program itself rather than the ever-changing head coach.

As a freshman, the Detroit native led the Nittany Lions in three-point conversions for the first time since 2004, and accomplished that feat for the second-straight year as a sophomore.

In the following seasons of his five-year career, Dread became more of a pinch hitter, typically splashing corner threes when necessary. Notching 61 triples through the 2022-23 season, Dread proved crucial for conversions, but also culture.

“Seth [Lundy] and Myles [Dread], they didn’t have to stay,” Shrewsberry said. “They chose the hard route, right? There was two routes to take —There was an easy route and a hard route. They chose the hard route.”

By way of the hard route, Lundy and Dread created a Penn State basketball culture curated by John Harrar, but perfected by the current band of seniors.

“It’s been a joy for me to just be on this ride with them and watch them and watch what they’ve accomplished,” Shrewsberry said of the group.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a senior from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in journalism. She's an associate editor and talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State, too. You can usually find her on a porch, but if not, feel free to contact Keeley on Twitter @keeleylammm or [email protected].

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