STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State football isn’t the only program in Happy Valley hitting recruiting hard this spring. Penn State basketball has also been on an all-out blitz on the trail and in the transfer portal. Although, Mike Rhoades’s task is a little different, as he looks to essentially rebuild the Nittany Lions basketball program from scratch following Micah Shrewsberry’s departure in March. After adding two stars from his former VCU Rams, Rhoades has cast his portal net outwards into the greater landscape of college basketball. Now, Rhoades is looking to snag his first commitment from a player not formerly on the Penn State or VCU rosters, as Zach Hicks, a former top 10 New Jersey recruit, is set to announce his transfer portal decision on Thursday.
Former top 10 New Jersey recruit to make transfer portal decision
Zach Hicks is a 6-7, 185-pound forward out of Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The former three-star recruit was the ninth-best player in New Jersey and a top 300 prospect in the class of 2021, as rated by 247Sports. Hicks committed to Temple in 2020, where he averaged 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds a game as a freshman in 2021. Last year in his sophomore season, Hicks averaged nearly 10 points and five boards while on the court for over 32 minutes per game for the Owls.
After entering the portal in March, Hicks’s recruitment heated up with three schools — Penn State, Georgetown, and UTEP — while he also considered staying at Temple. Hicks visited with Mike Rhoades’s staff in Happy Valley on April 7 and 8. On Tuesday, reports indicated that Hicks was ready to commit this week, and the focus has now been set on Thursday.
Temple transfer Zach Hicks tells me that he plans to make a decision later this week.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 18, 2023
Landing Zach Hicks would be a major win for Penn State basketball
Earlier this week, Hick’s father told Temple’s 247Sports affiliate that either Temple or UTEP were his parents’ top choices. Of course, this would be a huge retention for new Temple coach and former Penn State assistant Adam Fisher. However, in the last 24 hours, On3 has reported that Hicks appears to be trending toward the Nittany Lions.
Landing Hicks would be a significant milestone for Mike Rhoades’s new-look Nittany Lions. While Rhoades has retained Jameel Brown, Kanye Clary, and Demetrius Lilley from Micah Shrewsberry’s roster in addition to signing Ace Baldwin and Nick Kern, he has not brought anyone in from outside Penn State or VCU yet. Given his size, proximity to Happy Valley, and proven production in the AAC, Zach Hicks would be a significant first domino to fall for Mike Rhoades and Penn State basketball.
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