Mike Rhoades Reportedly Accepts Head Coach Position For Penn State Men’s Basketball

David Butler II, USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lion’s men’s basketball program is in a bit of a crisis.

The first step in the process is complete according to a CBS report stating that VCU’s Mike Rhoades will be leaving Virginia and headed back to his home state to take over as head coach for the Nittany Lions’ men’s basketball team.

Rhoades is a defensive-minded coach who has some track record of success. He has not had success in March Madness, however. The question now will be – can he have success with a program that could draw better talent and plays in a far deeper conference.

Two years ago, the school took a shot on Micah Shrewsberry. It was a team in disarray and he did well to salvage some players from the program by getting the likes of Seth Lundy, John Harrar and Myles Dread to return.

Now, Rhoads will face a similar problem, though Shrewsberry’s immediate departure had left the team with only five freshmen on scholarship and three incoming recruits. Two of those freshmen, Evan Mahaffey and Jameel Brown, have already entered the transfer portal. Two of the three members of the incoming class have already requested to be released from their letters of intent – leaving only Braeden Shrewsberry, Micah’s son, on that list.

Rhoades will have the task of trying to keep his remaining three scholarship players (Kebba Njie, Kanye Clary and Demetrius Liley) from entering the portal and to try and convince his players in the portal and who have requested to be released from their LOI to re-join the program.

A Mahanoy City, PA native, Rhoades grew up just 2 hours away from State College. The hope is that that helps the program not only maintain him longer-term, but also to better recruit the area and to the area.

Another thing he will have to handle is his coaching staff. In particular, the graduating players all wanted Penn State assistant coach Adam Fisher, who is a Penn State alumni, to take over the program. Currently, he’s speculated to be a top candidate for the Temple head coach position. If there’s a chance at it, Penn State and Rhoades would be wise to make a lucrative offer to the talented recruiter and try to retain him on the staff for the program.

Penn State, with only three scholarship players at the present, will need to hit the portal hard in order to try and get back to being competitive next season.

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