UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Earlier this week a Top-25 college basketball prospect put Penn State in his final group of schools. A commitment from Devin Royal would make him one of the highest graded basketball players to come to Happy Valley.
In just one year Micah Shrewsberry has ratcheted up expectations and that’s something that the team embraces.
Heading into year two, the Bryce Jordan Center will be looking a little different. It now has new seats and a new floor, which is symbolic for change around the Nittany Lions program.
“Nobody puts more pressure on this program or more pressure then than I do myself,” said Micah Shrewsberry.
A year ago first year Head Coach Micah Shrewsberry didn’t even know if he would be able to field a full team.
“People last year kind of (didn’t) knew what to expect,” said Shrewsberry. “I think, you know, in terms of what we’d be able to do or what we’d be able to accomplish or if we’d be able to even have a team. Like, I had those thoughts at some point.
A year later Penn State has returned to the court for summer practices and many view it as a program on the rise.
“We should have optimism. That’s what I’m build towards,” Shrewsberry said. “Still, I still say at the same time, we haven’t we haven’t accomplished anything like playing hard or not accomplishing anything. Like going 14-17 is not accomplishing anything. How we went about it like, yeah, it was cool that we played close games, but I want win them.
A 14-17 record doesn’t scream “We’ve Arrived” but the way in which the Nittany Lions played a year ago was noteworthy. Nine of those 17 losses came by six or fewer points.
“We all know what we could have done last year,” said forward Jalen Pickett. “We felt we let a lot of games slip up and slip up.
This team won’t look entirely the same. John Harrar graduated and Sam Sessoms transferred, but Coach Shrewsberry assembled the programs highest graded recruiting class along with talented transfers like sharp shooter Andrew Funk excite.
“Andrew Funk is a basketball player. He just knows how to play,” said Shrewsberry.
Penn State was one of the worst offenses a year ago, but with the additions of Funk and Cam Wynter, Penn State could march out four 1,000 point scorers in its starting five.