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Mikes Rhoades calls Ace Baldwin ‘the head of our snake’

Mike Rhoades has his star player, now must build the roster around him.

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Penn State basketball, Ace Baldwin
Mar 17, 2023; Albany, NY, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Adrian Baldwin Jr. (1) dribbles the ball against St. Mary's Gaels guard Augustas Marciulionis (3) during the first half at MVP Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Mikes Rhoades and his Nittany Lions added the first key piece to its 2023-24 transfer portal recruiting class. Former A-10 Player of the Year Ace Baldwin is now committed to playing for PSU, and according to the Nittany Lions’ new head coach, Baldwin is going to be a key player in his scheme. The Lions’ newest addition is undeniably a massive move for the Penn State basketball transfer portal recruiting class.

Mike Rhoades lands Ace Baldwin from transfer portal

On Saturday night, Ace Baldwin announced that he would commit to his new school in the morning, though he did not end up announcing late in the evening. When the suspense had finally ended, Penn State had its top guy, and according to new head coach Mikes Rhoades, Baldwin is a crucial piece to the puzzle.

As a high school recruit, Ace Baldwin was rated as a three-star recruit by most outlets (four-star by ESPN) and generally ranked as a top 30-40 point guard in the class of 2020. Since arriving in Richmond to play for the VCU Rams, Baldwin shinned under Mikes Rhoades, eventually leading VCU to an A-10 title and tournament berth in 2022-23. Additionally, Baldwin won the A-10 Player of the Year Award and the Defensive Player of the Year Award for his stellar performance a season ago.

As a transfer recruit, Baldwin ranked as the No. 11 player in the portal by 247 Sports and was the Nittany Lions’ top target in the portal to kickstart the Mikes Rhoades-led rebuild of the program.

Baldwin is the key to Penn State’s future

If you want to know what kind of player Penn State is getting with Baldwin, look no further than what Rhoades had to say about him when the duo was still at VCU.

“He’s the head of our snake. He’s the competitive leader in our program. He’s that type of point guard that he makes an impact,” Rhoades said before VCU’s first-round game against Saint Mary’s. “I’ve always said that, from a long time ago, the best players, not because of their stat line, are the ones that impact winning in so many ways. The greatest compliment you can get in a team sport is you make those around you better. That’s Ace on a daily basis.”

The future of Penn State basketball is in good hands; now, Mike Rhoades must go grab more talent from the transfer portal to surround his star player with.



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Chris, a Penn State University student, founded Basic Blues Nation in 2022. He remains a co-owner of the website today. Throughout a six-year writing career, Chris has been a beat writer, a staff writer, an Editor-In Chief, and more, serving as a member of the credentialed media for a number of Big Ten schools. He has covered everything from non-revenue sports to CFP National Championship matchups, as well as some professional and high school sports.

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