Micah Shrewsberry's First Task: Rebuilding Penn State's Roster

Six Nittany Lions, including four starters, reportedly have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. Penn State's new coach will head there himself.
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Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State's new men's basketball coach, will get started quickly after Purdue's first-round loss in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. He has an immediate and sizable task before him: rebuilding the roster.

At least six Penn State players, including four starters who played more than 60 percent of the team's minutes last season, reportedly entered the NCAA Transfer Portal the day after the program announced Shrewsberry's hiring. Shrewsberry spent the past two seasons as the associate head coach at Purdue.

Those reportedly in the transfer portal include starters Myreon Jones, John Harrar, Jamari Wheeler and Izaiah Brockington. Seth Lundy, who started 15 games, and Trent Buttrick, who started two, reportedly have entered the portal as well.

Audrey Snyder of The Athletic confirmed four of the players whose names appear in the transfer portal. Wheeler's name is not yet in the portal, but the site Verbal Commits reported his decision.

Jones, Brockington Lundy and Harrar were the team's top four scorers, averaging a combined 46.8 points per game. Harrar led Penn State with 8.8 rebounds per game. Wheeler was named to the Big Ten's all-defensive team and led the Lions with 44 steals.

In all, the six Lions represent 78 percent of the team's scoring and 76 percent of the player minutes. They also formed Penn State's core and soul: Harrar and Wheeler are seniors, Brockington and Jones are juniors.

Their decisions weren't unexpected, however. Six Penn State players spoke out last November, after the sudden resignation of former coach Pat Chambers. The four starters who have entered the transfer portal all offered support for Chambers and described their frustration about the situation. Harrar and Jones spoke with Chambers on their podcast in December.

So for Shrewsberry, the transfer portal will be a destination as well. Like women's basketball coach Carolyn Kieger, who brought in five transfer players last season, Shrewsberry likely will fill out his first starting lineup with transfer players.

That's something former coach Jim Ferry mentioned last season.

"The transfer portal is going to take over the whole thing," Ferry said. "It's changing college recruiting. That's why I'm not really that concerned with the interim tag right now and it affecting recruiting. Because we have such a good place, we are going to be able to get some really good players out of the transfer market."

Shrewsberry officially became Penn State's head coach Friday night, as North Texas upset fourth-seeded Purdue 78-69 in overtime. Earlier in the week, Shrewsberry made time for an interview with Penn State's athletic communications department.

Shrewsberry discussed his coaching philosophy and what drew him to Penn State. He also described a playing style and a coaching pitch that likely will appeal to young players, both recruits and potential transfers.

"Two guys I have worked for, [Boston Celtics coach] Brad Stevens and [Purdue coach] Matt Painter have been very influential in my success as a coach," Shrewsberry said in the interview. "I've learned so much from those two guys. I've learned how to run a program. They've shown me. They've run successful programs. They have given me the blueprint of what to do, and I'd be a dummy not to follow those."

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