Penn State tips off its mens basketball season in a week at the BJC against Delaware State.
The Lions had an outstanding close to 2022-23, advancing to the Big Ten title game and winning an NCAA tournament game. But, you know what happened after that - it was another coaching change and an overhauled roster.
We know, you’ll spend much of the first month of the season asking yourself, “Who is that guy again?” Well, we here at BSD are hoping to help you out a little bit - and it doesn’t hurt that this particular blogger had a lot of free time last week.
So, here you go. Here are some early season scouting reports - both written and visual, along with some prognostication about how first-year coach Mike Rhodes will be using these folks.
*An editor’s note. Forgive some of the voicework in videos - working without a script, too - but hopefully it gives some insight into the potential of these returnees and transfer additions.
G #1 Ace Baldwin
G #0 Kanye Clary
Baldwin is the...ahem...Ace transfer from VCU where he was named the A10 Player of the Year in helping the Rams to the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Clary is the only holdover from last season that saw much playing time for the Lions. Both figure to be relied on as playmakers for Penn State’s offense.
G #3 Nick Kern, Jr.
G #2 D’Marco Dunn
G/F #4 Puff Johnson
Kern is a VCU transfer like Baldwin and played more and more in Rhodes’s system as the year progressed. Meanwhile, Dunn and Johnson are highly touted prep players looking for a change of scenery after transferring from North Carolina. All three have the kind of length and athleticism to defend and play in transition as Penn State hopes to do this season.
F #24 Zach Hicks
G #21 RayQuawndis Mitchell
F #11 Leo O’Boyle
These three share a category because that’s what they do - shoot the 3-pointer well. None played with great teams last season and all are making a jump to the Power Five level. Mitchell, especially, was a high-volume scorer. so each will be making an adjustment to not being the primary focal point of the offense. At the same time, all are proven shotmakers at the Division I level. (Editor’s Note - O’Boyle didn’t see the floor in the exhibition, while Mitchell played only a short spell. So, it goes without saying that these guys might slide more into the project category).
F #22 Qudus Wahab
Outside of Baldwin, Wahab is the most valuable addition. He has more than 1,000 points and 700 rebounds in his college career at Maryland and Georgetown. He’s a true post player who will be relied upon to battle with a lot of talented big men in the conference.
G #5 Jameel Brown
F #14 Demetrius Lilley
F #12 Favour Aire
G #6 Bragi Gudmundsson
Brown and Lilley are Philly recruits who saw the court sparingly last year. However, both were highly touted and their improvement will be closely monitored. Meanwhile, Aire looked great getting off the airplane at the Final Four, but has a long way to go in his development. (Editor’s note - all three played in the exhibition against Robert Morris with Aire getting 14 minutes of time. His maturation will be an interesting follow for the Lions). Lastly, Gudmundsson is the lone incoming freshman player.
The Walk Ons
G #15 Dan Conlan
G #33 Andy Christos
We hope to see these guys when up 25, rather than down a significant amount.