Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 38 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 3 9 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M hands is one of his more important at- tributes. The Nittany Lions often find their offense out of rhythm when he's not on the floor, as was the case in the loss to the Buckeyes, a game in which Harrar played only 26 minutes because of foul trouble. "He does so much for us on both ends," Shrewsberry said. "That's where you start to tinker with different things about how we play and what we do. We might have to change a little bit when John goes out in terms of what's best for our team at that point in time." The numbers have brought Harrar acclaim. The way he achieves them has brought him admiration. You won't find anyone who plays harder across college athletics. Nor will you find a more enthusiastic ambassador for Penn State. Harrar re- called tearing up with a member of the coaching staff before the Nittany Lions' senior night last season — a game that could have been his last in a Penn State uniform. "I love the Bryce Jordan Center," he said. "I love this university. That's what I play for. I play for the people in the locker room, the staff. I love this place. I love everything that comes with it. I loved my four years here. That's why I play the game, all of the love that I have for my teammates and this place. I want to make Penn State go as far as it can. If I can do that with all my love I give them, then that's a plus." It was a powerful statement from Harrar, especially considering the con- text. Penn State coach Patrick Cham- bers had resigned shortly before the season began following an investiga- tion into his conduct. Nittany Lion basketball players had asked the uni- versity's administration to explain the reasons behind Chambers' ouster, and they came away feeling as though they hadn't received the detailed answers they were seeking. The result was a season fraught with tension and a mass exodus from the program in the offseason, includ- ing leading scorers Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington, as well as starting point guard Jamari Wheeler. Harrar tested the waters, too. He entered the transfer portal, open to spending his final season of eligibility elsewhere. Ultimately, after hearing Shrewsber- ry's pitch, Harrar returned, announcing his decision on April 20. "This is home for sure," Harrar said at Penn State's basketball media day. Harrar's choice meant that Shrews- berry had his building block. Already Penn State's star player, spokesman, and the unofficial king of Delaware County, as he's often called by Penn State's students, Harrar added "culture driver" to his long list of titles. " G e t t i n g h i m b a c k wa s h u ge ," Shrewsberry said. "I was really excited when he told me that he was coming back. I'm doing sprints around our of- fice because I know how important he is to this program." Penn State entered the 2021-22 sea- son with five new scholarship transfers on its roster — all of them from mid- or low-major conferences. Harrar was among those challenged with making all of the personalities fit together. "We all came from different places," said senior forward Jalanni White, a transfer from Canisius. "Everybody is new. But I feel like it's a brotherhood already, and we haven't even known each other for multiple years." Shrewsberry's arrival brought new challenges for everyone within Penn State's program, Harrar included. He's been tasked with unlearning old hab- its and replacing those tendencies with updated muscle memory wired to how Shrewsberry wants things to be done. In some ways, he finds himself in the same boat as Penn State's new arrivals. "We're all learning new ways," he said. "It doesn't matter really where you're from, because Coach Shrews is trying to teach it how he's been taught, and how he's trying to play." H i s p e rso n a l s ta ts n o tw i t h s ta n d - ing, Harrar's last season is off to an uneven start. The Nittany Lions sat at 5-5 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten before COVID-19 forced the cancel- lation of games against VCU, Quinni- piac and Delaware State in December. But you won't find Harrar — or anyone else for that matter — dropping their heads and looking toward next sea- 2 0 2 1 - 2 2 M E N ' S B A S K E T B A L L S C H E D U L E Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Nov. 10 Youngstown State W, 75-59 Nov. 15 at Massachusetts L, 81-56 Nov. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn* W, 74-59 Nov. 22 Cornell* W, 85-74 Nov. 26 LSU** L, 68-63 OT Nov. 27 Oregon State** W, 60-45 Dec. 1 Miami (Fla.) L, 63-58 Dec. 5 Ohio State L, 76-64 Dec. 8 Wagner W, 74-54 Dec. 11 at Michigan State L, 80-64 Dec. 18 at VCU Canceled Dec. 22 Quinnipiac Canceled Dec. 29 Delaware State Canceled Jan. 2 Indiana (BTN) 4 p.m. Jan. 5 at Northwestern (BTN) 9 p.m. Jan. 8 Purdue (BTN) Noon Jan. 11 Rutgers (BTN) 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Ohio State (BTN) TBA Jan. 19 Minnesota (BTN) 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Iowa (BTN) TBA Jan. 26 at Indiana (BTN) 8:30 p.m. Jan. 31 Iowa (BTN) 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Wisconsin (BTN) 6 p.m. Feb. 8 Michigan (ESPN/ESPN2) 9 p.m. Feb. 12 at Minnesota (BTN) 8:30 p.m. Feb. 15 Michigan State (BTN) 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Maryland (ESPN/ESPN2) 7 p.m. Feb. 25 Northwestern (FS1) 7 p.m. Feb. 28 Nebraska (BTN) 7 p.m. March 3 at Illinois (FS1) 7 p.m. March 6 at Rutgers (BTN) Noon March 9-13 Big Ten Tournament (BTN/CBS) TBA * Emerald Coast Classic at Bryce Jordan Center ** Emerald Coast Classic at Niceville, Fla. "I love the Bryce Jordan Center. I love this university. That's what I play for. I play for the people in the locker room, the staff. I love this place. I love everything that comes with it." H A R R A R

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