Before arriving at Penn State, Micah Shrewsberry worked alongside Matt Painter at Purdue and Brad Stevens with the Boston Celtics and Butler.
Penn State hopes Shewsberry’s experience can help the program move on from a turbulent era when it opens the season Wednesday at home against Youngstown State.
Shrewsberry was hired after Jim Ferry finished out an 11-14 campaign. Ferry took over after Patrick Chambers resigned before the season opener while being investigated for past conduct during his tenure at the school, which saw him go 148-150.
“I want to know what drives them and what motivates them so I can coach them to reach their goals,” Shrewsberry said of his players. “I hold them to this winning mentality by telling them, ‘You told me you wanted to win, this is what it is going to take, and we stick by that.'”
Shrewsberry spent the previous two seasons working with Painter at Purdue after more than a decade with Stevens. He helped Butler get to consecutive NCAA title games and then helped Stevens transition the Celtics from the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett era to a successful rebuild that saw him assist with the development of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
His first team tied Northwestern for 12th in the preseason Big Ten poll, but Shrewsberry is hopeful a few mid-major transfers can help them replace the 15.3 points from Myreon Jones and the 12.6 points from Izaiah Brockington, who transferred to Florida and Iowa State, respectively.
Their replacements are Jaheam Cornwall, who averaged 14.1 points for Gardner-Webb last season, and Jalen Pickett, who was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s player of the year in 2019-20 for Siena. Last season, Pickett scored 12.9 points per game, down from 15.8 in 2018-19 and 15.1 in 2019-20.
Pickett and Cornwall are joining forces with returnees Myles Dread, Seth Lundy, John Harrar and Sam Sessoms, whose scoring averages were between 7.3 and 10.1 points per game.
Youngstown State was tabbed for seventh in the Horizon League’s preseason poll after going 15-12 last season. The Penguins posted a winning record in a second straight season for the first time in nearly a decade after averaging 74.4 points per game last season.
Three starters — Garrett Covington, Michael Akuchie and Shemar Rathan-Mayes — are back after combining to average nearly 33 points per game. The Penguins also added five transfers to help fill the void left by leading scorer Naz Bohannon, who transferred to Clemson, and Darius Quisenberry, who is now at Fordham.
“I think you’re only as good as your older players,” Penguins coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “You have to have older guys that help drive the culture home every day.”
–Field Level Media