If you haven’t been paying attention, you might want to take notice of what first-year Penn State men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry has been assembling in State College.
As Nittany Lion fans on Saturday afternoon bubbled with excitement ahead of the primetime contest with Auburn, they were given additional reason for elation as four-star class of 2022 basketball prospect Kebba Njie committed to Shrewsberry and the program.
His announcement, which he shared on Twitter, read in part, “Basketball is my dream and it is my passion. This was a very tough decision and I’m really blessed to have great schools who wanted me to come to their program. But with that being said, I am excited to announce that I am committing to Penn State!”
So far, Njie’s commitment is Shrewsberry’s most prominent.
Shrewsberry’s quartet of 2022 commitments is currently ranked No. 18 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports.
The 6-foot-8, 205-pound center is the fourth-best prospect from Indiana in the 2022 class. To date, he’s received offers from in-state program Butler, along with Kansas State.
Njie visited Penn State on Sept. 10, a day before the Nittany Lions’ football program’s home opener against Ball State.
Also in attendance at Beaver Stadium was current Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who was Boston’s head coach for eight seasons before moving into his role as an executive earlier this year.
Pretty serious firepower for Shrewsberry to bring someone of Stevens’ caliber and clout to Happy Valley.
Shrewsberry was hired earlier this season, as the Nittany Lions plucked him from his role as assistant and Purdue. He served on Stevens’ staff at Butler when Stevens coached the program for five seasons.
Since Shrewsberry’s arrival, he’s secured commitments from three, three-star players from the class of 2022 in Jameel Brown (6-foot-4 combo guard), Evan Mahaffey (6-foot-5, small forward) and Kanye Clark (5-foot-11 point guard).
While Shrewsberry’s recruiting haul since he arrived in March has looked promising, his most impressive and perhaps challenging accomplishment has been the one he achieved in retaining players already on the roster.
A number of players last season expressed their disdain for the way in which former Nittany Lions’ coach Pat Chambers was treated during his exit following an internal investigation that was spurred after Chambers used a racially insensitive word – noose – during a conversation with a player who later transferred.
Penn State elevated Chambers assistant Jim Ferry to interim coach following Chambers’ resignation last October, but the program didn’t retain Ferry. He later was named head coach at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
In the days following Ferry’s departure, a number of Penn State players entered their names into the NCAA’s transfer portal.
Shrewsberry ultimately retained key players in Seth Lundy and John Harrar.
Their returns go a long way in keeping continuity, leadership and experience within the program.
Shrewsberry will coach his first game with the Nittany Lions on Nov. 10 when Youngstown State visits the Bryce Jordan Center. Even though he’s yet to take the hardwood as Penn State basketball’s leading man, he’s already made quite the splash as a recruiter, as evidenced by Njie’s commitment.