As Penn State officially announced its hire of former Purdue assistant Micah Shrewberry on Tuesday, a new culture for the Nittany Lion program was defined.
Shrewsberry, who defines himself by his character, has always been about “treating people the right way.”
That same mantra will apply to his new program, which he has been handed the keys to — and he’ll recruit players based on whether or not they fit into that label.
“It starts with the guys in your locker room first,” Shrewsberry said. “Building the character and culture of a program, they’re your best recruiters, and if you're giving them everything that you have every single day, they're going to attract more people like that.”
While the 44-year-old head coach was able to contribute to the success of the Boilermakers by helping bring in high-character players to the program, Penn State may need that and more in the coming months.
Multiple Nittany Lions entered the transfer portal after the announcement of Shrewsberry’s hiring earlier this month, with just one player in Izaiah Brockington electing to return after his initial entrance into the portal.
But in addition to the persona of the recruits he’ll hunt down, Shrewsberry feels the program will be more than capable of bringing the right blend of talented players to Happy Valley.
In fact, he believes that while the Nittany Lions have been notorious for trying to recruit out of Philadelphia and will continue to do so, he frankly doesn’t care where he has to go.
If the fit is there, he will seek it out.
“We want to find the right fits for us,” Shrewsberry said. “Wherever that kid may come from, if he fits my values, if he fits the values of Penn State and he fits the guys in our locker room, then we're going to recruit him whether he's from Philadelphia or whether he's from Hawaii.”
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After another pair of wins, Penn State's stock continues to rise.
Getting those fits in a Penn State uniform will likely be critical to the success of the recently hired head coach, but what exactly will he provide other than his known people skills?
He brings a diversified basketball mind that has observed and coached the game on both a college level with Butler and Purdue and on a professional level with the Boston Celtics.
The two people that helped mold Shrewsberry into the basketball mind he has become are Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Purdue head coach Matt Painter, both of whom are very well respected within the game and to Shrewsberry himself.
“Brad Stevens and Matt Painter, I couldn't say enough about those two guys as friends and as people before bosses,” Shrewsberry said. “They never treated me as an employee, it was always as a great man. How you run a successful program, I learned so much from them.
“I worked for two of the best coaches you could ever be around.”
The former offensive coordinator of the Boilermakers also provided insight on what his plan is for the immediate future, citing that he learned a great deal from his mentors about the necessary preparation that comes with coaching day in and day out.
“One thing I learned from Brad Stevens is his detail in his approach to preparation,” Shrewsberry said. “He's one of the best I've been around, there's no stone unturned when he is preparing for a game, when he is preparing for practice or when he's preparing for a season.”
To say that Shrewsberry is going to take a thing or two from both of his former head coaches is probably an understatement.
Not only will he take the philosophies of Painter and Stevens with him, he plans on implementing some of the sets he ran with Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in Boston just a few short years ago.
“It’ll be similar to how we played in Boston,” Shrewsberry said. “With me, everybody needs to touch the ball. Everybody needs to share the ball. The ball needs to move from side to side. If you're doing that offensively, I think guys feel good about that, they feel good about the offense, they feel good about each other and making the right plays — which leads to them being more connected on the defensive end.”
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