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FAU to Elite 8: is Dusty May too good for Penn State Basketball?

FAU has gone on a historic run to the Elite 8 this season. But does the Owls’ on-court success put Dusty May out of reach for the Penn State basketball coaching job?

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Penn State basketball, Dusty May, FAU, Elite 8
Mar 23, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Dusty May watches from the sideline in the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

State College — Penn State faces a crossroads as it searches for its new basketball coach. Should it make an internal hire, shoot for a savvy veteran, or snag an up-and-comer from the mid-major level? Ultimately, the decision will shape the course of Penn State basketball for years to come. Already a hot name in coaching circles, Dusty May has shot up short lists as his FAU Owls have made a historic run to the Elite 8 this season. But as FAU continues to have on-court success, does this now make May unattainable in the Penn State coaching search?

Dusty May is already one of the most accomplished coaches in FAU history

Dusty May has experienced remarkable success in his first five years as a head coach. Previously serving as an assistant at Florida and Louisiana Tech, among other stops, May was hired to run the FAU program in 2018. Admittedly a tough challenge, May has already made the Owls a consistent winner. He recorded 30 D-1 wins by his second season on campus, becoming the fastest coach in program history to attain that milestone. May is also the only FAU coach to have four consecutive winning seasons.

This season has been the most successful year in FAU history by far. The Owls finished the regular season 28-3 and won a regular season conference title for the first time in nearly 15 years. At 20 games, FAU had the third-longest winning streak in Conference USA (C-USA) history. With a C-USA record 18 conference wins, FAU was ranked for the first time ever this year. Not surprisingly, Dusty May was named C-USA Coach of the Year earlier this month.

Has FAU’s Elite 8 run put May out of reach for Penn State basketball?

Tougher competition in post-season play has not stifled May’s success. FAU made the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history this season. A No. 9 seed in the East Region, the Owls have defeated Memphis, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Tennessee en route to the school’s first-ever Elite 8 berth. FAU will play No. 3 seed Kansas State Saturday night for the right to go to the Final 4.

As FAU keeps winning, the nation has now taken note of May. May has been a rumored candidate for several other head coaching positions. This includes Notre Dame before Micah Shrewsberry accepted the opening. In addition to Penn State, May has recently been tied to the Texas Tech coaching search.

But if FAU keeps winning, will Penn State basketball still be able to make a viable pitch to Dusty May? While he reportedly swung for the fences to keep Shrewsberry, we still don’t know how committed AD Pat Kraft is to turning Penn State basketball into a consistent winner moving forward. In his departing message to Shrewsberry, Kraft noted that Penn State is “already moving forward in a search for a new head coach and will identify and appoint a tremendous coach, teacher, and person who will take us to unprecedented heights.”

While the sentiment is there, it now comes down to brass tax. Penn State must invest in recruiting resources, facilities, and NIL opportunities to make the basketball program a consistent winner. Fans have shown that they will support basketball wholeheartedly when given the chance. 

It’ll take investment for any coach with a proven history of success to commit to the Nittany Lions long-term. It will require some upfront costs. But it’s an investment that will see a return in due time.

So, no, I don’t think Penn State basketball should be out of the running to court Dusty May, even if FAU continues its historic March Madness run. In my mind, only one thing can prevent Penn State from getting the coach it wants — itself.



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BREAKING: Penn State basketball lands Dominick Stewart

The Penn State basketball team has landed a new commit in the 2024 class today.

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Mike Rhoades, Penn State basketball, Dominic Stewart
Dec 5, 2018; Austin, TX, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams head coach Mike Rhoades walks the baseline watching the team play during the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Rhoades and the rest of the Penn State men’s basketball recruiting staff got some good news today from the recruiting trail as the 2023-2024 season inches closer. The 2023 schedule was released this week and tip-off is nearing closer. But before that takes place, Rhoades and his staff have been hard at work trying to secure the future. A step in that direction was taken today, as the Nittany Lions landed top prospect Dominick Stewart. 

Penn State basketball lands Dominick Stewart

Class of 2024 guard Dominick Stewart announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions on Friday afternoon. Dominick is a 6’5 guard from Maryland and is currently playing at the Southern California Academy in California. He is the 184th-ranked player nationally and a three-star by the ON3 industry rankings. He carries an impressive offer list that includes Butler, Creighton, Mississippi State, and Cal. Penn State offered back in July after Dominick’s very strong showing on the AAU circuit which included All-Breakout team selections at Peach Jam in the Nike EYBL session #3. This commitment comes from a recent visit he took to Happy Valley at the beginning of the month. 

Stewart looks like a good get, especially after that impressive AAU run that got many schools noticing him. He is a smart and skilled player who can fit into many lineups and spots on the court. He is a good shooter with a great jumper. His jump shot is smooth and quick which allows him to avoid contests and score in bunches when he gets hot.

He processes the game at an impressive speed and is constantly making the right play. Not your typical lead ball playmaker, but is a fantastic connector, keeping the ball moving and hitting the open man. Those smarts apply to the other side of the ball too. Stewart uses his good size at hoard effectively to guard up and down the lineup. He is a good and willing team defender which fits the Rhoades style well. 

Where does Stewart fit in at Penn State?

Stewart, originally a member of the 2025 class, becomes the second member of Penn State’s 2024 class after reclassifying. He joins fellow guard Jahvin Carter as the first high school recruit to commit to Penn State since Mike Rhoades took over. Jahvin, who committed back in June, and Stewart make an interesting pair in the backcourt and share a lot of skills that the staff clearly values. The biggest one is their basketball IQ. They should both be important pieces in building a smart and skilled program for the future of Penn State Basketball. 



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State Basketball has released its 2023-2024 official schedule

The Penn State basketball 2023-2024 schedule is here!

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Penn State basketball, Mike Rhoades, Schedule
Mar 18, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Myles Dread (2) and forward Michael Henn (24) salute fans after a loss to the Texas Longhorns at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After a long wait, we now know what awaits the Penn State Men’s Basketball team this winter. Year 1 of the Mike Rhoades era is around the corner with the release of the 2023-2024 basketball schedule. The schedule totals 30 games including an in-season tournament, a potential revenge game, and another Palestra special

Penn State Basketball has released its 2023-2024 official schedule

Before all that, however, the season opens up on November 6th against Delaware State. This game, at the Bryce Jordan Center, starts a run of home games to begin the year against Lehigh (November 10th), St. Francis (November 14th), and Morehead State (November 17th). This all leads to the ESPN Events Invitational.

Penn State gets its first big test down in Orlando in a rematch against Texas A&M. The game takes place on Thanksgiving, November 23rd, and will be a great chance to test out the radically different roster against a more familiar opponent. Penn State will play a total of 3 games in the tournament win or lose with the potential for a very intriguing matchup

If the Nittany Lions are able to go all the way to the championship they could match up against Mike Rhoades’ former school, VCU. This would obviously be huge for the coach against his old school, but it also features a “revenge” opportunity for a couple of players as well. Point guard Ace Baldwin Jr. and forward Nick Kern Jr. both followed coach Rhoades from VCU to Penn State this past spring. While this game would be amazing, it is unlikely. Penn State and VCU would both have to mirror each other in each round whether that means winning out, losing out, or somewhere in between. A matchup we are guaranteed is another Big Ten Showdown in Philly.

On January 7th the Nittany Lions will take on Michigan in the Palestra. This will be the second year in a row Penn State will host a game in the historic arena and the 4th time since their 2017 matchup against Michigan State. Penn State has a long history in the arena playing 61 games there since 1927, and win or lose, the environment is always electric. 

The schedule in full goes as follows:

November 6th: vs. Delaware State

November 10th: vs Lehigh

November 14th: vs St. Francis(PA) 

November 17th: vs. Morehead State

November 23rd: vs Texas A&M*

November 24th: vs Butler/FAU*

November 26th: vs TBD*

December 2nd: vs Bucknell

December 6th: at Maryland

December 9th: vs. Ohio State

December 21st: vs Le Moyne

December 29th: vs Rider

January 4th: at Michigan State

January 7th: vs Michigan 

January 10th: vs Northwestern

January 13th: at Purdue 

January 16th: vs Wisconsin

January 20th: at Ohio State

January 27th: vs Minnesota

January 31st: at Rutgers

February 3rd: at Indiana

February 8th: vs Iowa

February 11th: at Northwestern

February 14th: vs. Michigan State

February 17th: at Nebraska 

February 21st: vs Illinois 

February 24th: vs Indiana 

February 27th: at Iowa 

March 2nd: at Minnesota 

March 10th: vs Maryland 

March 13th-17th: Big Ten Tournament

*= ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Florida

**= home game in Philly at Palestra

Penn State has already played a couple of warm-up games with two big wins in the Bahamas that gave us our first look at this new squad. The team has also announced a third against Robert Morris on October 27th as they gear up to take on this 23-24 schedule. As Mike Rhoades looks to begin a new era in Penn State basketball. 



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Scouting report on Penn State Basketball center Qudus Wahab

Learning more about Qudus Wahab.

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Feb 8, 2023; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Georgetown Hoyas center Qudus Wahab (34) works against Providence Friars forward Ed Croswell (5) during the first half at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The second player I’m covering in the scouting series is the 5th-year senior from Georgetown Qudus Wahab. The projected starting center may be the deciding factor for which way the Penn State basketball season goes. With a lot of inexperience behind him and some good centers in the conference, Wahab’s play is going to be crucial for the Nittany Lions.

Scouting report on Penn State Basketball center Qudus Wahab

Wahab comes to Penn State to close out what has been an up-and-down college ride so far. Qudus was a top 150 recruit back in the 2019 high school recruiting class and chose to play for Georgetown. After a big sophomore year where he averaged about 13 points and 8 rebounds, Wahab decided to enter the transfer portal looking for a better program. He transferred to Maryland, but after a disappointing season that saw him play just 19 minutes a game, he entered the portal again, this time heading back to Georgetown. In his 4th season, he bounced back from his bad year at Maryland, but still did not reach his sophomore-year level, averaging 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game.

He got more post touches this year than he had in the past and his efficiency reflected that, dropping from a career 58% shooting mark to just 51.3%. The Georgetown team was bad with a record of 7-25. Their offense ran terribly and everyone suffered because of it. Wahab comes to Penn State with less of a burden offensively and some very talented guards to play with in Ace Baldwin and Kanye Clary which should help increase his efficiency. 

When you watch the highlights Wahab looks like your average traditional center. Often the biggest player on the floor he appears to be a physical presence down low on both ends. It looks like he loves to work in the post and he isn’t the most athletic player. Highlights rarely show the full picture, however, so let’s dig a little deeper and check out some full games. Again, shoutout to the amazing College Basketball Scouting channel for a good breakdown of the numbers of Wahab’s senior season.

The first game I watched was a January 24th matchup against DePaul. Wahab played 22 minutes in this matchup finishing with 9 points on 2-6 shooting from the field and 5-6 shooting from the line. He also added 10 rebounds and a block to the box score. The main thing that jumps out of this game is the style that Georgetown was running last year. They ran a ton of iso-heavy plays and rarely used ball screen actions. Wahab seemed to spend the majority of the game in the dunker’s spot or fighting for position inside. In the season Wahab operated in a post up 48% of the time resulting in 0.93 points per possession, or PPP, which is 67th percentile. He looks comfortable there but it is not the most efficient style of offense, which was evident in this game with his poor shooting from the field. He is in roll/pop action only 15% of the time resulting in 0.98 PPP which is 45th percentile.

That percentage should skyrocket playing in Rhoades’ offense and, with the improved guard play around him in Ace and Kanye, that PPP will improve as well. The other thing that is really apparent here is his rebounding skills. He has a nose for the ball off the boards and he gets work done there on both ends. In this game, his 10 rebounds were evenly split, 5 defensive and 5 offensive. Wahab’s offensive rebounding is gonna be a huge factor for a Penn State team that has had problems there in the past. He had a 13% offensive rebounding rate last year. Comparatively, Penn State as a team had a 17.7% rebounding rate last season. Wahab’s defense was not the sharpest in this game. He looked lethargic and was out of position a number of times, but playing for a team as bad as Butler can take away your motivation to really try. This next game we are gonna look at provides some evidence that it is a motivation issue and not an ability issue. 

Game 2 was a matchup against the future champion UConn Huskies on February 4th. The game ended in a loss for Georgetown, but the Hoyas played a tough game, falling 68-62. The game is this close was in no small part thanks to Qudus Wahab. Matching up against arguably the best center rotation in the country of Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan, Wahab played 27 minutes scoring 10 points on 5-9 shooting from the field with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Wahab looked much more motivated and active in this game. He seemed to take pride in the matchup and really held his own on both ends. He could not get super far inside easily against Sanogo but he was able to get to his spot near the right elbow for a few smooth post hooks. The post hook is a solid weapon for Wahab. He goes to it near the right elbow for 14% of his shot attempts and he hits them at a respectable 50% from the field. That shot has the makings of a great low-shot clock bailout play to try and salvage some bad possessions. On defense, he was much more engaged. He defended his individual matchups well but also was an excellent team defender. He always seemed to be in the right position this game and was hustling around nonstop. His defense was the biggest reason why Georgetown was able to hold UConn to just 68 points. With the right motivation, Wahab showed he can rise to the occasion. 

What will Wahab’s role be at Penn State?

With Penn State, it will be a wildly different role for Wahab on both ends. Playing with a guard like Ace Baldwin who operated in the pick-and-roll 48% of the time last season should give Wahab a lot of new looks on offense. Wahab seems to have a good feel for space and is crafty inside to finish at the rim despite his lack of athleticism. He already shot 69% of his shots at the rim on 54% efficiency, and, with a more PnR-heavy offense and better guards, we could see both those numbers improve at PSU. On defense, the transition is a bit more complicated. The Rhoades’ defense uses a lot of pressure concepts that will be a new experience for Wahab. It is a very high-energy defense that requires a lot of hustle. Wahab has struggled with hustle at times, but with very little experience behind him, he is going to have to really buy into the system for the Penn State basketball team to be successful. 

Wahab is going to be one of the most important players for the Penn State basketball team this season, for better or worse. Last year for him was not great, but we have seen some fantastic play from Wahab at times throughout his 4-year career. With improved guard play and a more coherent system, Qudus could be in for a nice comeback in his final college season. 



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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