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Newest transfer exit puts even more pressure on Penn State amid coaching search

The Nittany Lions must speed up the process when it comes to finding their new head coach.



Penn State basketball, Evan Mahaffey, transfer portal, coaching search
Feb 23, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Evan Mahaffey (12) drives to the basket as Ohio State Buckeyes guard Eugene Brown III (3) defends during the first half at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

State College, PA — Micah Shrewsberry’s exit has impacted Penn State’s program far beyond igniting a coaching search. With the transfer portal being such a prominent factor in college athletics today, a head coach departing could mean student-athletes will also head for the exits. This has been the case with Penn State basketball. Since Micah Shrewsberry accepted the Notre Dame job, Penn State’s roster has been severely depleted. In recent days, guard Dallion Johnson and forward Caleb Dorsey have decided to put their names in the transfer portal — they will now be joined by another Nittany Lion. 

Penn State basketball loses Evan Mahaffey to the transfer portal

It was reported on Monday that freshman guard Evan Mahaffey has entered the transfer portal. Mahaffey, a three-star forward from Cincinnati, OH, was the 187th-ranked player nationally in the 2022 class.

As a freshman, Mahaffey averaged 2.8 PPG and 1.7 RPG. The numbers will not blow you away. But Mahaffey averaged 9.3 minutes per game and was a critical bench piece for the Nittany Lions. Mahaffey’s 6-6 frame made him versatile as a guard and a forward. He frequently used his size to drive to the basket. Most importantly, Mahaffey was one of the best rebounders on the Penn State basketball roster. Case in point, Mahaffey’s possession-saving rebound against Northwestern in overtime helped keep Penn State basketball’s NCAA tournament bid alive.

How does this impact Penn State’s coaching search?

It’s hard to know what is next for the Nittany Lions. The roster has experienced significant turnover in the last week, with six players lost to graduation and three leaving via the transfer portal

Penn State basketball doesn’t seem to have much going for it right now. There is debate over the program’s NIL infrastructure and who should be the next head coach. It looked like the coaching search was nearing its conclusion this weekend, only to have the process continue to drag. It’s challenging to tackle these obstacles one at a time, as they’re all interrelated. The community needs AD Pat Kraft to establish a clear vision for Penn State basketball, and carry that message into the coaching search. With that foundation set, the next head coach can begin the arduous task of rebuilding the Penn State basketball roster from the ground up. 

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