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Penn State basketball offers top-20 recruit in the 2025 class

The Nittany Lions just offered by far the biggest name under Mike Rhoades’s young tenure at Penn State.



Penn State basketball, top-20 recruit in the 2025 class
Jan 29, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Mike Watkins (24) reaches for the rebound during the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Penn State basketball offered Alier Maluk, a Pittsburgh native who is a five-star in the 2025 cycle. This is a significant offer for the Nittany Lions, as Maluk is a top-20 overall recruit in the class of 2025. The offer comes as head coach Mike Rhoades looks to build out his traditional recruiting apparatus at Penn State, with five offers across the 2024 and 2025 classes coming this week.

Lions offer budding prospect Alier Maluk

Alier Maluk is a five-star prospect with a 99 overall rating in the 247Sports Composite rankings. The 6-10, 180-pound forward is the second-ranked player in Pennsylvania and a top-20 recruit in the 2025 class. 247Sports’ own rankings list Maluk as the second-best center in the country for the 2025 cycle.

As a sophomore at Pittsburgh’s Imani Christian Academy, Maluk recorded 15 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks per game. He helped lead Imani Christian to the Pennsylvania Class A state championship in March. Maluk has become somewhat of an internet sensation for his length and athleticism. He has even been dubbed by some as the “Baby Bol Bol,” in reference to the former Denver Nuggets and current Orlando Magic center.

Announcing the offer via Instagram on Friday, Mike Rhoades and Penn State now join a long list of earlier suitors for Maluk. On3 currently has Pitt and West Virginia as the early frontrunners in Maluk’s recruitment, with Ohio State and Penn State coming in third and fourth, respectively. Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M are some of the other programs that have offered Maluk to date.

Penn State basketball building traditional recruiting structure

Two months into the job, Mike Rhoades has heavily utilized the transfer portal to build his first roster at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have brought in some of the top players from Rhoades’s VCU squad, including Ace Baldwin and Nick Kern. In addition, Penn State has targeted transfers with ties to the Keystone State, such as Puff Johnson, Zach Hicks, and Leo O’Boyle.

Now, Rhoades is also starting to build out his program’s traditional recruiting base. Maluk is the fifth offer the Nittany Lions have made to high school recruits this week. Other offers include Austin Swartz, Darrion Sutton, and Dellquan Warren in the 2024 cycle and Jordan Scott in the class of 2025.

In his first few months at Penn State, Rhoades’s actions echo his sentiments from his introductory press conference in March. The Nittany Lions have been aggressive in the portal but are now balancing that aggressiveness with traditional recruiting. “We got to go build a roster,” Rhoades said when speaking of the long-term success of the Penn State basketball program. “But I assure you this — we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it to last.”

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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.


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