Penn St. dismisses leading scorer from the program

Penn St. dismisses leading scorer from the program

Kanye Clary was dismissed from Penn State’s men’s basketball program earlier this week.

“Kanye is no longer with the team. Coach’s decision. We’re going to keep moving forward on the guys we got, the task at hand,” said PSU head coach Mike Rhoades. “It came to a point where we’re at that I made the decision as the head coach to move on. I’ll leave it at that.”

Clary was the Nittany Lions’ leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game. He was also averaging 2.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Clary had hit 46.2 percent of his field-goal attempts, 37.7 percent of his treys and 81.1 percent of his free throws.

Clary sustained a concussion in the second half of an 83-74 home loss to Minnesota after taking an elbow to the face. He subsequently missed the next two games, which saw Penn St. register upset wins at Rutgers (61-46 as a 7.5-point road underdog) and at Indiana (85-71 as a seven-point road ‘dog).

Without Clary, point guard Ace Baldwin didn’t need to defer to him. In the win at Rutgers, Baldwin had 15 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, five steals one blocked shot to lead the Nittany Lions into the win column.

Baldwin, who was the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year last season when he led Rhoades’ VCU team to the NCAA Tournament, had 22 points, eight assists and two steals in the win over the Hoosiers. His 14 shot attempts (he made eight) matched his third-highest amount for the year.

When Clary returned for a Feb. 8 game vs. Iowa, PennLive columnist David Jones described it like this:

When Clary began to freelance and indulge in a little hero-ball in his first game back – not coincidentally resulting in an Iowa rally to the lead – Rhoades benched him for virtually the remainder of the game. Penn State reeled in a 7-point deficit and mounted an 8-point lead during Clary’s absence, until only 90 seconds remained, and the result was essentially determined.”

Clary ended up logging only 18 minutes in the 89-79 win for PSU as a 1.5-point home underdog. He finished with eight points, one steal and three assists compared to two turnovers.

Baldwin’s stellar play continued against the Hawkeyes, as he produced 22 points, six assists and four steals.

In the next two games, Clary continued to come off the bench. In 14 minutes of playing time during a 68-63 loss at Northwestern, he missed all three of his FGAs and was held scoreless.

Clary played 23 minutes in an 80-72 home loss vs. Michigan St. on Valentine’s Day, contributing eight points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals.

When Baldwin and Clary were on the court at the same time, the 5-foot-11 Clary was being asked to play off the ball and go up against defenders that were often much taller than him. When Clary wasn’t on the floor, the results at Rutgers, at Indiana and vs. Iowa demonstrated that Baldwin – and the team – were playing at their best.

Clary didn’t make the trip to Lincoln for this past Saturday’s 68-49 loss at Nebraska. Rhoades had apparently decided that it was time for the program to move on without the true sophomore that’ll have plenty of suitors for his future services.

One of those potential destinations could be Notre Dame, where ex-PSU head coach Micah Shrewsberry is now running the show after leaving for South Bend after Clary’s freshman campaign.

Penn St. is back in action tonight hosting Illinois as a 7.5-point home underdog. The Nittany Lions have won three games in a row over the Fighting Illini and are 4-0 ATS in the last four head-to-head meetings.