STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Mike Rhoades is less than a month away from making his debut at leading the Nittany Lions men’s basketball team. On Tuesday, he made his debut at Big Ten Media Days in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rhoades spoke extensively on the challenges of rebuilding the team after it was depleted due to the transfer portal.

“Well, we were down to three guys, so I had no choice, right? So, we just jumped right in,” the former VCU coach said. “We were very picky in the transfer portal. We had a lot of people reach out to us because of our style of play. It’s a fun way to play, but we also wanted to make sure they were young men that fit Penn State.”

Another point of emphasis for Rhoades was trying to have the program consistently make it to the NCAA tournament, something he did in three out of his six years at VCU.

“It’s going to take changes. It’s going to take a huge commitment,” Rhoades added. “It’s going to be the belief that we can do this.”

With that huge commitment ahead, Rhoades says he is ready to take on any challenges that come his way.

“What’s the hardest part of this? I don’t know. I love it. I think it’s a lot of fun,” Rhoades said. “[We’re] just getting guys to understand what it takes, what it takes to get where we want to go, and it’s an everyday thing, but that’s everybody. Everybody has to go through that. Every
coach, not just the new coach.”

The Nittany Lions will start their season with an exhibition contest against Robert Morris on Oct. 27. The first regular season game is on Nov. 4 against Delaware State.