In an event a few weeks in the making, Micah Shrewsberry was officially introduced as the next head coach of Penn State men's basketball on Tuesday.
Shrewsberry discussed a wide range of topics, including the transfer portal situation facing Penn State, learning under Brad Stevens and Matt Painter, and more.
"Everything that you could dream of, Penn State is for me," Shrewsberry said to open up his press conference. "I'm honored to be standing here and I'm honored to be the next head coach."
Here are three takeaways from his press conference, which you can watch here.
The Transfer Portal
One of the more important challenges facing Shrewsberry at the beginning of his tenure is the core of the Penn State roster entering the transfer portal.
While rising senior Izaiah Brockington announced his intention to come back to Penn State after testing the portal, Jamari Wheeler is Ohio State-bound and top-scorer Myreon Jones appears to be heading elsewhere also. The futures of Seth Lundy, John Harrar, and Trent Buttrick remain in question.
Shrewsberry acknowledged that the current structure of the transfer portal -- which allows players to transfer and play immediatley -- makes it a unique time in college basketball, and that he's been in constant discussions with Penn State players who entered the portal.
"I've talked to every single one of them. We are actively trying to get them back. We're having conversations face to face, over zoom and on facetime."
Shrewsberry said the Nittany Lions are also active in recruiting players from other programs who are in the portal.
"My goal is to have a great team in place when it's time to tip-off next season...There are a lot of talented guys out there. We obviously want our own to come back, but we also want guys who are two feet in for Penn State, that bleed for Penn State and believe in our vision. When we have that group together, we're going to do something special."
Learning From Stevens and Painter
Shrewsberry has spent the better part of the past 13 years coaching under two of the more successful and respected coaches at their respective levels in Brad Stevens and Matt Painter.
"I couldn't say enough about those two guys as friends and as people before bosses. They never treated our relationship as boss and employee," Shrewsberry said. "They taught me how to run a successful program. I'm appreciative for what they did for me every step of the way. They are two of the best coaches you could ever be around and work for."
Talking specifically about Stevens, Shrewsberry said the most important lesson he learned in working with the Boston Celtics' head coach was attention to detail.
Whether preparing for practice or preparing for a game, every little detail matters.
"Working with him, there’s questions that come up in a film session and you would think it’s the oddest thing, and then it happens in the game. It’s almost like he has this sixth sense of what situations are going to come up," Shrewsberry said. "But his preparation, being able to go through everything and not leave anything, any stone unturned to prepare your team for any situation that comes up as well I learned from him.”
On Painter, Shrewsberry noted that he learned a lot about what it takes to build a program in your way.
Before Painter began in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers had losing records in three of their previous four seasons in the final years under legendary head coach Gene Keady.
In Painter's first seven seasons on the job, Purdue had just one losing season -- his first -- and made the NCAA Tournament in the six seasons after that, including back-to-back Sweet 16 berths in 2009 and 2010.
Shrewsberry will be in a similar "program building" situation at Penn State, where the Nittany Lions haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
"He’s had ups, he’s had downs, but he’s stayed the same and who he is as a person. When he started winning he got back to the things that he was always successful with, and he doesn’t doubt who he takes as a player, he trusts his gut," Shrewsberry said.
"He knows who it is and may not be the player that everybody across the country thinks is going to get it done. But he wins, he wins in that way and with his own special player. So that’s what I’ve learned with him is trust your gut. Be yourself. Be confident in your values, and learn that way.”
Taking Pride In Being An African-American Head Coach In The Big Ten
At the time of his hire, Shrewsberry was just the second African-American head coach in the Big Ten, along with Michigan's Juwan Howard, who Shrewsberry said was one of the first people to reach out to him when he got the job.
Since Shrewsberry's hire, Indiana has hired longtime NBA coach Mike Woodson and Minnesota hired Xavier assistant Ben Johnson. Bumping that number up to four black coaches in the Big Ten.
Howard and Shrewsberry's coaching careers intertwined quite a bit in the NBA, as both served as top assistants for the Celtics and Miami Heat, and their paths crossed often. Like Michigan took a chance on Howard who had no major head coaching experience, Penn State has done the same with Shrewsberry.
"I think this is a special time in our profession for people getting opportunities," Shrewsberry said. "I told Juwan in our conversation, I probably don't get this job without him doing the things he's doing at Michigan, and doing them in a first-class way."
Shrewsberry also credited the likes of Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, St. John's head coach Mike Anderson and Georgetown's Patrick Ewing as other African-American coaches who have not only earned opportunities at major programs but who have also had success.
"It's my responsibility to now do right by them. It's my responsibility to do every thing that I can do here to both elevate this program and also provide opportunities for the next generation of coaches to get their chance. That's the weight I have on my shoulders, but I take on that responsibility with a lot of pride."
We'll have more from Shrewsberry's first presser later this week.