As he sat at the podium at Gainbridge Fieldhouse late Friday night, Micah Shrewsberry was emotionally spent, and the Penn State men’s basketball coach had only one thought on his mind.
“All I want to do now is come back to the hotel, crack open a Dr Pepper, kick off my shoes, and relax for a while,” Shrewsberry remarked. “Man, this season has been a slog.” “It was the first time I went through it.”
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Penn State’s season had ended just minutes before with a 69-61 loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The Nittany Lions eventually wilted after two second-half comebacks led to single-digit victories the previous two nights, though it wasn’t for a lack of effort. With two and a half minutes left, they were only down by one point.
Boilermakers boss Matt Painter, one of Shrewsberry’s coaching mentors, was on the other sideline. Shrewsberry noted the skills he gained during his two stints on Painter’s staff and how he was implementing them in his new job throughout his first year in State College. Shrewsberry leaned on another season when his first one ended.
“He talks about the finish of the season, and I’m taking his mentality,”
Shrewsberry said. “When we get home tomorrow, I’m going to put my jammies on with my feet in them, and I’m going to lay on the couch and watch these games.” “It’s a bummer that we’re not playing, but I’m going to watch them and decompress for a while.” Then I’ll be able to move on to the next step.”
Shrewsberry’s first year at Penn State was always going to be a learning experience for him. He mentioned that he was only a few days away from his one-year anniversary of employment. He witnessed a mass departure of players via the transfer portal. He persuaded forwards John Harrar and Seth Lundy to stay.
He also acquired a trio of one-year transfers, as well as guard Jalen Pickett, who confirmed Friday that he will return to Penn State for his second season and fifth overall.
Shrewsberry has shaped his curriculum over the last four months. “Gritty, not attractive” was one of his favourite sayings, and it became the Nittany Lions’ signature in 2021-22. Purdue’s loss was the 18th game decided by ten points or less. The tendency was for contests to be close and grinded out. Penn State lost more games than it won, but the Nittany Lions were able to play with the Big Ten’s best teams on a regular basis thanks to their patchwork squad.
Harrar said, “I’m stealing his ‘gritty, not pretty’ saying.” “That’s fantastic. “I’m bringing that with me.”
“From the minute I arrived, people were counting us out, and you don’t listen to anyone else’s expectations except your own,” Shrewsberry said. “I felt like those guys, because that’s how they played, how they acted, and how they carried themselves.” It wasn’t anyone else’s expectations that we had to meet; it was our own.”
The Nittany Lions of 2022-23 will be very different. The most noticeable change will be Harrar’s departure, who played in a school-record 146 games in the last five seasons while establishing himself as the emotional centre of the Penn State men’s basketball team.
However, there are five freshman that will be attending State College
Because of its age, the highly respected group will most likely experience some growing pains that this year’s group did not. Pickett’s return is encouraging, and other fourth-year seniors Sam Sessoms and Myles Dread may also return. Penn State could also be participating in the transfer portal once more.
This group, though, laid the groundwork for whatever Shrewsberry builds at Penn State. Outside observers may not remember a 14-17 overall record and a trip to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, but Shrewsberry said he’ll make sure this squad is recognised, even if players like Jaheam Cornwall, Jalanni White, and Greg Lee only played one year here.
Everyone helped lay the foundation for what Shrewsberry wants to do at Penn State. Harrar even mentioned Shrewsberry’s son, Braeden, a 2023 Nittany Lions recruit, at his postgame press conference. The foundations are starting to be laid.
But what comes next? Shrewsberry was evasive when it came to Penn State’s immediate future. He was instead daydreaming about how he would spend his Saturday.
“Continue to concentrate on defence, improve in that area, figure out how to score a few more points, drink my Dr Pepper, and root for Purdue,” Shrewsberry said.
PATH TO PENN STATE
Cole Brevard, a four-star prospect and Indiana’s top prospect according to 247Sports’ 2020 composite rankings, received several of his 20+ FBS scholarship offers as a sophomore, including one from Penn State in February 2018. Prior to the PSU pledge he issued while on campus for the 2019 Blue-White Game festivities, his list of collegiate options expanded to include Clemson, Florida State, Indiana, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.
Brevard finished his Carmel career with a state championship in 2022 and a second All-Indiana honour. Despite dealing with consistent double-team blocking efforts for much of his sophomore season, he has accumulated 132 tackles.
“The only thing I have to keep in mind is that if I can take up two or three guys, that leaves two, three, or four guys unblocked to make the play.” “During his senior year, Brevard told 247Sports. “I don’t mind if I get one or two assists as long as they make the play. I’ll be happy as long as we win.”
Brevard graduated early from high school to enrol mid-winter as the No. 19 defensive tackle and No. 203 overall talent in the 2020 cycle, according to composite rankings.
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