Connect with us


Time and Trust: Penn State basketball coach Mike Rhoades talks building roster

On Thursday, new Penn State basketball coach Mike Rhoades discussed his plans to build a roster centered on long-term success.



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

State College — Yesterday was a special day for the Nittany Lions basketball program. On Thursday, Mike Rhoades was introduced as the next Penn State basketball coach. In his introductory press conference, Rhoades outlined a vision for his Penn State basketball program: bold, different, and aggressive.”

A critical first step in this vision will be building a roster. Rhoades inherits a bare-bones roster, with most players from Penn State’s 2023 NCAA Tournament run either graduating or in the transfer portal. The new Penn State basketball coach will have to restock a depleted recruiting class as well. But despite the pressure for immediate gratification in college athletics today, Rhoades has indicated that he won’t be swayed from doing things “the right way.”

Penn State basketball coach Mike Rhoades discusses building roster

There’s no way to sugarcoat it; Penn State’s roster is in dire straights. The Nittany Lions have lost six players to graduation and only have three scholarship players not in the transfer portal. When asked how he would handle the difficult situation, Mike Rhoades stated that he plans to be aggressive in the transfer portal but that there must also be a balance with recruiting. “We owe it to the program, and we owe it to what we’re trying to do to get it right,” Rhoades said on Thursday.

But Rhoades is focused on building a sustainable roster for the long term. Rhoades indicated that doing this will require hard work, but the effort will pay dividends over time.

“It’s time to go recruit. It’s time to build relationships with the guys that are here,” Rhoades said. “…to build relationships takes two things: time and trust. I’m gonna give them my time, and hopefully, that builds trust…We got to go build a roster. But I assure you this — we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it to last.”

Part of a family

Mike Rhoades also spent considerable time in his Thursday press conference harkening back to his Pennsylvania roots. A Schuylkill County native, Rhoades said that, as the Penn State basketball coach, his teams will embrace the hard-working mentality of Pennsylvania’s coal region.

“Like the people of this commonwealth and this university, every day we’re going to go to work,” Rhoades said. “We will be blue collar. We will have dirt on our hands, and we’ll be damn proud of it. That’s who we are around here.”

Ultimately, Rhoades believes this hard work will bring his teams together. A formula that has brought success at his previous destinations, Rhoades expressed that this sacrifice bonds him to his players for life.

“If you sweat for me, invest your time, and put everything you have into this, you become part of our family… It’s going to be about more than just a game. It’s going to be about building relationships that go beyond the court and into peoples’ lives and their futures.”

He has a daunting road ahead of him as the Penn State basketball coach, but Mike Rhoades expressed the right mentality to get the job done. But now that the pleasantries are over, it’s time to go to work.

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 or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


Spinstralia Casino: online pokies real money, real fun! Get in on the action today!