News & Notes Ahead Of Penn State Hoops’ Home Contest Against Lehigh
Penn State head men’s basketball coach Mike Rhoades spoke to the media at the team’s weekly availability Thursday afternoon following its season opener.
With the 2023-24 regular season officially underway, the Nittany Lions are continuing to prepare for their matchup at home against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Among the things discussed on Thursday were the signing of all three members of the Class of 2024, adjustments to prevent turnovers, and why Penn State is such an amazing place for college athletes.
On Class Of 2024 Signing Day
This past week, Miles Goodman, a four-star, 6’10,″ 220-pound forward from Castaic, California, committed to Penn State joining fellow high school teammate Dominick Stewart. Both Goodman and Stewart, along with fellow commit Jahvin Carter, all officially signed their letters of intent Wednesday during National Signing Day.
Rhoades spoke about the process of building a class for next year in the small amount of time he and his team had to recruit and the types of players that they thought were the best to go after.
“We identified some players that we felt would be fit for our program and our style of play and for Penn State,” Rhoades said. “We wanted to make sure that the guys we identified and we went after that they understood the importance that they were going to have to Penn State basketball and to our future and to our program moving forward. And all three of them, I think they felt that and that their families felt that.”
On Miles Goodman
When Goodman put pen to paper earlier this week, he became the second-highest-ranked recruit to join Penn State in program history behind Tony Carr.
Rhoades said that he loved getting to know Goodman and his family and that he loves everything about his game and the way he’s been coached up to this point.
“What I love about Miles is, for a big guy, he’s a gym rat. He’s in the gym a lot. He loves to work. He gets pushed really hard and, he receives that hard coaching very well,” Rhoades said. “I love versatile big guys, big guys that could really run and move and guards and play all over the court. I think he has the ability to do that.”
On Recruiting Beyond The East Coast
Rhoades also talked about how the Nittany Lions are starting to get interest from players beyond the confines of Pennsylvania. This past class saw two player from California and one from Tennessee sign on to play in Happy Valley.
Rhoades mentioned about how the relationships he’s built over the years with players, schools, and people have made it so that he and his team can pursue any player across the country.
“We could go all over the country because of our staff relationships. We’ve all been doing this for a while now,” Rhoades said. “In my three years at Rice University, I recruited the West Coast, the Northwest, I’ve spent a lot of time in Seattle, and different areas, and so that has helped.”
On Selling Penn State
Rhoades talked about how selling Penn State isn’t as hard as people think and that selling the school to recruits is simple for a few reasons.
“How do we get them to Penn State? It’s Penn State. That’s why I came here. It’s Penn State,” Rhoades said. “This is an impressive place to play college athletics on the biggest stage, and then to get a Penn State degree with the biggest alumni network in the world.”
He also talked about the conversations he’s had with other teams around Penn State and revealed some of the things he asks the athletes to better understand the school.
“I still haven’t met an athlete here in the last six months who is unhappy and doesn’t like it here. I mean, it’s amazing how happy the athletes and all the sports are here, and I talk to them all the time. I ask them, ‘Tell me what’s your favorite thing,’ because that’s the stuff I want to use while recruiting,” Rhodes said. “You learn a lot from the students more than from the people that work here. That’s why these guys are coming to Penn State.”
On Improving Turnovers
Despite beating Delaware State this past week by over 30 points, the Nittany Lions committed 21 turnovers. All five starters gave up multiple turnovers, including three players perpetrating four.
Rhoades discussed the improvements Penn State is working to make during practices and how during the games, it can lower the amount of turnovers the team commits moving forward.
“We’re playing so hard and aggressive on defense, and we change our gears a little bit. We still want to play fast on offense and attack transition and attack teams that don’t sit there on defense,” Rhoades said “We got to make sure that we change, maybe we’re in fifth gear and on defense, but we go to second and third sometimes on offense.”
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