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Penn State star Jalen Pickett named an AP All-American, breaks 70-year streak

Finally, the All-American drought at Penn State has come to an end.

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AP All-American
Mar 11, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Tamar Bates (53) defends against Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (22) during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

STATE COLLEGE, PA — On Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s matchup against Texas A&M, the Penn State basketball team received some great news surrounding star guard Jalen Pickett. Pickett, who has been instrumental in getting his Penn State Nittany Lions to the NCAA tournament with a 22-13 record this season, was named a second team AP All-American.

Penn State’s Jalen Picket named an AP All-American (second team)

Penn State basketball fans know that Jalen Pickett is a star; finally, the rest of the nation is starting to take note as well. On Tuesday, Jalen Pickett was named a second team AP All-American — Pickett also earned All-American honors from USBWA and NABC, meaning he was named an All-American by three of the four outlets used to determine consensus All-Americans.

The last (and only) time Penn State basketball had an All-American was in the mid-1950s when former Nittany Lion legend Jesse Arnelle received this honor. Now, nearly 70 years after the fact, Jalen Pickett has become the second-ever Penn State basketball player to be named an All-American. Additionally, he is the only Nittany Lion to ever earn USBWA District Player of the Year honors.

Pickett is one of the best players in the nation

Right now, Penn State’s Jalen Pickett is the only player in the country averaging at least 17 points (17.9) per game, seven rebounds (7.3) per game and six assists (6.7) per game. In a mere 66 games with Micah Shrewsberry and the Nittany Lions, Pickett has tallied 1,038 points, 390 rebounds, and 369 assists.

Ahead of Penn State’s first NCAA tournament berth in over a decade, more great news came the Nittany Lions’ way with some massive honors, including Pickett breaking Penn State’s long All-American drought.



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Penn State legend Michael Mauti takes shot at Jay Paterno, defends Penn State fans

One of the best to ever wear the Blue and White took a shot at Jay Paterno this afternoon.

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Penn State legend Michael Mauti Jay Paterno
October 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti (42) during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Since former Penn State basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry left the program on Wednesday, there have been more rumors and suspected reasons for his departure than one can count. One of the leading rumors is that Shrewsberry left due to the Nittany Lions’ failing NIL program, which he cited as an issue back in December. Today, Jay Paterno — a PSU trustee and the son of legendary football coach Joe Paterno — fired back at fans, insisting that Penn State University met every NIL demand that Shrewsberry asked for. Penn State legend Michael Mauti thinks otherwise.

Not long after Jay Paterno made his public statement on Penn State’s NIL funding, one of the greatest to ever wear the Blue and White came in to defend Penn State fans and alumni. Here is what the two notable Nittany Lion names had to say to one another.

Penn State lagend Michael Mauti defends Nittany Lion fans, takes shot at Jay Paterno

Early this morning, Jay Paterno had this to say about the rumors surrounding Penn State University’s NIL funding:

Fact: Dedicated Penn State fans/community & met every basketball NIL request. The latest increase exceeded in just 2 days. That’s how Penn State Alumni responded. Those spreading any counter-narrative only hurt the program’s coaching search & future.”

This was likely in direct response to Penn State fans making public calls against the school’s NIL funding, which was largely sparked by Micah Shrewsberry’s statements in late 2022.

“It’s about what you want as a program and what you’re happy with,” Shrewsberry said. “If we have a little bit more that we’re offering to our guys, or that we’re doing for our team in NIL, that top 30 class is probably top 15 in the country. Just one or two more guys.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I would say of 14 teams in the Big Ten, we’re probably 14. Maybe 13,” Shrewsberry said. “So it’s just about who we want to be as a program. What are we willing to say is going to be our standard?”

Jay Paterno’s words were not received kindly by Nittany Lion fans, or Penn State legend Michael Mauti, who publicly fired back at Paterno, stating that, “The response from dedicated alumni is the result of you and your cronies’ definition of ‘meeting every basketball’s NIL request.’ How can continue to spit this garbage? You continue to undermine the progress and efforts being made to genuinely align and unify PSU.”

He followed up by saying, “@PennStateAlums and @GoPSUsports community deserve the best. We need all hands on deck, not a few guys brokering behind closed doors using words without deeds. Your input on this matter is toxic and your relevancy has expired in this era of collegiate athletics.”

Jay Paterno is yet to respond, but so far, Mauti’s statements have been met with thunderous applause from the Penn State community.



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Jay Paterno fires back at NIL rumors sparked by Micah Shrewsberry’s comments

Jay Paterno, a Penn State trustee, fired back at the rumors being spread surrounding Penn State’s NIL funding and the basketball team.

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Jay Paterno Penn State basketball

STATE COLLEGE, PA — The Penn State basketball team lost its head coach, Micah Shrewsberry, earlier this week when he opted to take the Notre Dame job. Since then, there has been a whirlwind of rumors surrounding his reasons for leaving — one of the top ones being that Penn State lacked NIL funding. On Saturday, Penn State trustee Jay Paterno — son of legendary football coach Joe Paterno — fired back at these rumors, stating that they are untrue and hurt the program.

Jay Paterno fires back at NIL rumors following Shrewsberry’s departure

The rumors surrounding Penn State’s issues with NIL are nothing new; however, after Micah Shrewsberry left for Notre Dame, his warning about NIL at Penn State became the talk of the town.

“It’s about what you want as a program and what you’re happy with,” Shrewsberry said. “If we have a little bit more that we’re offering to our guys, or that we’re doing for our team in NIL, that top 30 class is probably top 15 in the country. Just one or two more guys.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I would say of 14 teams in the Big Ten, we’re probably 14. Maybe 13,” Shrewsberry said. “So it’s just about who we want to be as a program. What are we willing to say is going to be our standard?”

This morning, Jay Paterno had his own thoughts on the matter, stating, “Fact: Dedicated Penn State fans/community & met every basketball NIL request. The latest increase exceeded in just 2 days. That’s how Penn State Alumni responded. Those spreading any counter-narrative only hurt the program’s coaching search & future.”

This is the first time that we have seen anyone really push back against the narrative that Penn State has lacking NIL funding. We will see how this shakes out, though it is good to see someone confirm that the basketball team was given the NIL that it asked for to compete — hopefully, this attracts a solid new head coach for 2023-24.



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FAU to Elite 8: is Dusty May too good for Penn State Basketball?

FAU has gone on a historic run to the Elite 8 this season. But does the Owls’ on-court success put Dusty May out of reach for the Penn State basketball coaching job?

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Penn State basketball, Dusty May, FAU, Elite 8
Mar 23, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Dusty May watches from the sideline in the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

State College — Penn State faces a crossroads as it searches for its new basketball coach. Should it make an internal hire, shoot for a savvy veteran, or snag an up-and-comer from the mid-major level? Ultimately, the decision will shape the course of Penn State basketball for years to come. Already a hot name in coaching circles, Dusty May has shot up short lists as his FAU Owls have made a historic run to the Elite 8 this season. But as FAU continues to have on-court success, does this now make May unattainable in the Penn State coaching search?

Dusty May is already one of the most accomplished coaches in FAU history

Dusty May has experienced remarkable success in his first five years as a head coach. Previously serving as an assistant at Florida and Louisiana Tech, among other stops, May was hired to run the FAU program in 2018. Admittedly a tough challenge, May has already made the Owls a consistent winner. He recorded 30 D-1 wins by his second season on campus, becoming the fastest coach in program history to attain that milestone. May is also the only FAU coach to have four consecutive winning seasons.

This season has been the most successful year in FAU history by far. The Owls finished the regular season 28-3 and won a regular season conference title for the first time in nearly 15 years. At 20 games, FAU had the third-longest winning streak in Conference USA (C-USA) history. With a C-USA record 18 conference wins, FAU was ranked for the first time ever this year. Not surprisingly, Dusty May was named C-USA Coach of the Year earlier this month.

Has FAU’s Elite 8 run put May out of reach for Penn State basketball?

Tougher competition in post-season play has not stifled May’s success. FAU made the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history this season. A No. 9 seed in the East Region, the Owls have defeated Memphis, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Tennessee en route to the school’s first-ever Elite 8 berth. FAU will play No. 3 seed Kansas State Saturday night for the right to go to the Final 4.

As FAU keeps winning, the nation has now taken note of May. May has been a rumored candidate for several other head coaching positions. This includes Notre Dame before Micah Shrewsberry accepted the opening. In addition to Penn State, May has recently been tied to the Texas Tech coaching search.

But if FAU keeps winning, will Penn State basketball still be able to make a viable pitch to Dusty May? While he reportedly swung for the fences to keep Shrewsberry, we still don’t know how committed AD Pat Kraft is to turning Penn State basketball into a consistent winner moving forward. In his departing message to Shrewsberry, Kraft noted that Penn State is “already moving forward in a search for a new head coach and will identify and appoint a tremendous coach, teacher, and person who will take us to unprecedented heights.”

While the sentiment is there, it now comes down to brass tax. Penn State must invest in recruiting resources, facilities, and NIL opportunities to make the basketball program a consistent winner. Fans have shown that they will support basketball wholeheartedly when given the chance. 

It’ll take investment for any coach with a proven history of success to commit to the Nittany Lions long-term. It will require some upfront costs. But it’s an investment that will see a return in due time.

So, no, I don’t think Penn State basketball should be out of the running to court Dusty May, even if FAU continues its historic March Madness run. In my mind, only one thing can prevent Penn State from getting the coach it wants — itself.



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 basicbluesnation@gmail.com 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!

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