UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) – There’s a new look to the Penn State men’s basketball team ahead of the 2023-2024 season. Only a handful of players return from last season as Mike Rhoades enters his first season as the head coach for the Nittany Lions.
Even though there are plenty of fresh faces around the program, Rhoades’ main message to the team is to “win the day.”
“When I say winning the day (it means) setting the tone everyday of having high standards and high expectations,” Rhoades said.
In his six seasons as the head coach at VCU, Rhoades finished 94-50 and punched a bid to the NCAA Tournament three times. He has high expectations of building prolonged success for the Nittany Lions’ program.
“We don’t just want to be a flash in the pan,” the Mahanoy City, Pa. native said. “We want to build it to last. This is an everyday approach but stacking days on top of each other.”
Ace Baldwin, the reigning Atlantic 10 player of the year, has spent the past few seasons with Rhoades at VCU and knows what he brings to the table.
“He’s going to coach you hard,” Baldwin said. “He ain’t going to let you slide, he is going to get on you if you’re not going hard.”
North Carolina transfer Puff Johnson, who won an NCAA title with the Tarheels, sees the winning culture that Rhoades is trying to establish.
“I saw his reputation of being a winner. That’s something I want to be a part of,” the Moon Township, Pa. native said. “A lot of the guys on the team know how to win, and Coach Rhoades knows how to win at a really high level too.”
Rhoades and Penn State play against Robert Morris in an exhibition game on Friday at 7 p.m. in Moon Township.