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You’d be hard pressed to find a recruit in college basketball with a closer relationship with a head coach than Penn State men’s basketball’s first 2023 commit.
Three-star guard Braeden Shrewsberry announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions and head coach Micah Shrewsberry — his dad — Wednesday afternoon.
“It was just a really good fit,” Braeden told the Centre Daily Times.
Braeden is a 6-foot-3 guard who can fill it up at all three levels as a scorer, but especially from beyond the arc. The high school junior chose Penn State over offers from schools such as St. Joseph’s and Xavier.
He will play for State College this season in his first year in the area after spending his first two years of his high school career at West Lafayette High School in Indiana while his dad was the associate head coach at Purdue.
It was there that he learned under head coach David Wood, who retired following the 2020-21 season.
“He just wants to play, he wants to get better,” Wood told the CDT. “He was our unquestioned leader on our team last year. ... He wants to be good. (Today) is a big day for him as he makes this commitment. I was thrilled to death (to find out).”
This moment is one years in the making for the Shrewsberry family, and one that is well-earned by both father and son. Micah had to work his way through the ranks to earn his first head coaching job at the Division I level. Braeden had to blossom on the court and prove he could play at that type of level and reach a goal he’d been discussing since he was very young.
“We would always talk about it with my mom when we were little,” Braeden said. “Me and my brother (potentially) coming to play for my dad, but I’ve never actually had the opportunity to. So this is the first time I’ve actually had the chance to. ... It’s really special.”
Reaching this point took plenty of time and effort for Braeden. He began his high school career with Wood and played in a junior varsity game to get comfortable.
Wood said his talent didn’t translate immediately, but it didn’t take long for him to get there.
“His first game for us, we were gonna play him a couple quarters on the JV team and he was terrible,” Wood said with a laugh. “It didn’t take long for him to adjust. Before that year was over, his freshman year, he had 29 in a game toward the end of the year. He loves to play and he kept getting better and better and better every day. ... In a year’s time he went from a JV guy to easily the best player on our team.”
The hard work Braeden put in was aided by Micah’s knowledge of the sport as well, helping him learn the game and developed an advanced skill set early on in his career.
Still, despite Micah’s credentials and knowledge, he made sure that Braeden knew he wasn’t his coach.
“He tries to stay out of it as much as possible,” Braeden said. “He’s not gonna try to contradict with what the coach is saying. He says, ‘you’re playing for this coach, you listen to what he says, he’s your coach.’”
Soon enough, Micah will be Braeden’s coach and he’ll have the chance to help his son grow even more on the court. Braeden has already benefited from being around the likes of NBA stars like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but now he’ll get the same coaching they did when Micah was an assistant with the Boston Celtics.
He made the decision to get that coaching because of what it meant to play for his dad, but it wasn’t made solely based on that.
He’s ready to be the leader of the 2023 recruiting class and to help the program reach new heights under his father’s stewardship.
“I feel like we can build up to be one of the best teams in the Big Ten,” Braeden said. “... The other (2022) commits here are really good players. They’re gonna bring it up to another level that I don’t think these fans have seen yet.”