Reports: Six Penn State men's basketball players enter transfer portal after coaching hire

ADAM BITTNER
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Penn State forward John Harrar (21) is fouled by Nebraska center Eduardo Andre (35) in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

Micah Shrewsberry's honeymoon didn't last for very long.

Six Nittany Lions have reportedly entered the transfer portal just hours after Penn State announced the former Purdue and Boston Celtics assistant as its new men's basketball coach, the culmination of six months of animosity toward administration related to the resignation of former coach Pat Chambers.

ESPN's Jeff Borzello reported that guards Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington, plus forwards John Harrar and Trent Buttrick entered first. Guard Jamari Wheeler and forward Seth Lundy have since joined them, according to the Athletic's Matt Fortuna and Brendan Quinn.

That group alone represents the bulk of the team's scoring this season, which ended with a loss to Wisconsin last Thursday at the Big Ten tournament. Others could follow them out of the program in the coming days.

The departures were largely expected after players publicly expressed frustration with the athletic department's handling of Chambers' resignation, which followed an internal report into his conduct back in October.

"We miss him. A lot," Wheeler said the following month. "We wish he was here, still battling with us through this whole season, coaching us. But unfortunately, some circumstances won't allow him to be here with us, which ... I'm still confused and don't understand how that happened."

He went on to explain how players were told "everything was good" by an athletic department staffer just hours before Chambers resigned. To this day, Penn State has still offered little in the way of public explanation for the former coach's departure.

The news leaves Shrewsberry with the tall task of rebuilding a competitive roster in the rugged Big Ten conference, which placed nine teams in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Penn State announced his hiring officially Monday night after multiple outlets reported that he was the choice during the day.

"I'm extremely humbled and excited to be the next head coach at Penn State University," Shrewsberry said in a news release. "I want to thank Dr. [ Eric] Barron, Sandy Barbour, Lynn Holleran and the rest of the search committee involved in this process. The values of this university and its commitment to excellence are the major reasons why this job was so appealing to me. I can't wait to arrive on campus to begin working with our tremendous student-athletes. My family and I are looking forward to becoming a part of the Nittany Lion family!"

He also greeted fans on Twitter, expressing excitement to join the program once Purdue's tournament run ends.

Shrewsberry ran the offense for the Boilermakers the past two seasons. Before that, he was a long-time lieutenant of Brad Stevens, the Celtics coach who also led Butler to back-to-back national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011.

His hiring, which has been well-received by experts on social media, is Sandy Barbour's first in a major revenue sport as vice president for intercollegiate athletics. Chambers and football coach James Franklin were already in place when she was hired in 2014.

"Micah was a name that immediately jumped to the top of our list with his experience in the Big Ten and the NBA," she said of the move in a news release. "He has had success at all levels and knows what it takes to develop a program into a consistent national contender. He has learned from and worked under some of the most respected coaches in the country in Brad Stevens and Matt Painter. Micah will be an exceptional leader for the young men in our basketball program and I can't wait for him to get to know our student-athletes. We know he will be a great addition to our Penn State family!"

Shrewsberry now joins Franklin to form the Big Ten's only duo of Black coaches leading basketball and football programs at the same school.