With less than a week to go until Penn State hoops’ regular season debut against Winthrop on November 7th, the anticipation has begun to build for Micah Shrewsberry’s second season leading the program, a season where a team sporting a combination of seasoned veterans, key transfer portal grabs, and the highest-rated crop of freshmen in program history, seeks to make a big leap forward as a Big Ten conference foe to be reckoned with (perhaps even with a postseason berth).
It was during Big Ten Media Days a couple of weeks ago that Coach Shrews harped on the importance of having continuity, even with eight new faces on the roster, having five returning players including Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy, who joined Shrews in Indianapolis for the event (starts around the 11:30 mark below).
The return of Pickett, who led the team in points, assists, and steals last season, along with Lundy and Myles Dread gives the team a trio of seniors and super-seniors who have been around the block of the Big Ten and will be looked upon to provide veteran leadership for the eight newcomers. Junior Dallion Johnson saw extended time as the season concluded as well, so expect his contribution to increase as the freshmen get acquainted to college ball.
Speaking of freshmen, several newcomers are already making their names heard in their short times with the program. Having contributions from one of the best recruiting classes in Penn State history will go a long way in executing Shrewsberry’s goal of taking the next step in the progression of the program.
A schedule that is not too difficult to navigate but not so easy to be a cakewalk should provide plenty of opportunity to get the type of wins necessary to build confidence, while also preparing the Lions for the grueling grind that is a full season of Big Ten basketball.
The Nittany Lions, like so many seasons before, were immensely close in plenty of games, but not close enough to turn losses into wins. Last year, however, that closeness felt different. Coming into 2022, Shrewsberry hopes that closeness leads to a better performance on the wins and losses columns.