Connect with us


NEWS: Star Penn State basketball guard makes decision on final season

After much anticipation, Mike Rhoades received a long-awaited answer from star guard Ace Baldwin regarding his future with Penn State basketball.



Penn State basketball, Ace Baldwin, Mike Rhoades, transfer portal
Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Ace Baldwin Jr. (1) calls a play as Indiana Hoosiers guard Gabe Cupps (2) defends during the second half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

As the saying goes, better late than never. On Friday, star guard Ace Baldwin confirmed what has been presumed to be official for weeks: his return to Penn State basketball for the 2024-25 season. After following Mike Rhoades from VCU to Happy Valley for his senior season, there was speculation that the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year may use his COVID year of eligibility to enter the transfer portal. But with the portal and NBA Draft deadlines now far behind us, Baldwin’s return to the Nittany Lions for one final run was viewed as a de facto certainty. 

Penn State basketball star Ace Baldwin to return for 2024-25

When Mike Rhoades brought Ace Baldwin from VCU to Penn State, he praised the Baltimore native as “the head of our snake” in terms of leadership on the court. While Rhoades was at times publicly tough on the senior guard last season, Baldwin ultimately became the leader the Nittany Lions needed.

Baldwin stepped to the forefront in the second half of the season, scoring at least 15 points in nine of the final 13 games of the year. He became an increasingly important part of the offense following Kanye Clary’s dismissal from the Penn State basketball program. 

However, his presence was better felt on the other side of the court, earning him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. It was Baldwin’s second straight year bringing home such an award; he was named the Atlantic 10’s DPOY last season.

Since the Nittany Lions’ season came to an end with a loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament on March 14, it’s been a waiting game to see if Ace Baldwin would use his COVID year of eligibility to enter the transfer portal or come back to Happy Valley. 

Officially, that waiting game lasted well over two months, with Baldwin not making his decision public until May 24.

But the news shouldn’t come as much of a shock. The NBA Draft entry deadline passed on April 27, while the NCAA transfer portal closed on May 1. With silence from Baldwin following both key dates, his return to Rhoades and the Nittany Lions was viewed as an unspoken fact.

Baldwin’s return adds a veteran presence for the Nittany Lions

Ace Baldwin finished the year averaging 14.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while amassing 88 steals. Penn State’s leading scorer after Kanye Clary’s dismissal, Baldwin joins fellow senior Puff Johnson, who announced his return on March 26.

Meanwhile, Mike Rhoades spent the spring replenishing the roster via the transfer portal, adding four new Nittany Lions since the end of the season. The highlight of the portal class was former top 50 recruit Freddie Dilione, who transferred from Tennessee.

Penn State is also set to bring in a top-25 recruiting class led by big man Miles Goodman, the No. 84 overall prospect in the country.

But with a high degree of roster turnover and still a great deal of young talent, Ace Baldwin’s veteran presence on both ends of the court will be critical for Penn State basketball in year two of the Mike Rhoades era.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation, the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlet. 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. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can proudly claim a readership of over 3.5 million in our first year of operation. 

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!