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PSU’s John Harrar enters transfer portal: reports

Photo by Penn State Athletics: John Harrar

On the same day that Penn State announced the hiring of new basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry, one of the key members of the program the past few years decided to enter the transfer portal.

Center John Harrar is now in the portal, according to a pair of reports late Monday night. The basketball blog The Miller Report posted the following news about Harrar on Twitter, as well as AscensionSport1, which labels itself as a “recruiting assistance” company.

This could be the first of many dominoes to fall with PSU players deciding to transfer, which is something that’s been expected all along (more on that in a bit).

The news about Harrar had not been confirmed yet through any official transfer portal records as of early this morning. It can take a couple of days, though, for those databases to be updated at times after it’s first reported that players intend to transfer.

Harrar averaged 8.8 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Nittany Lions this season, and he led the Big Ten in offensive rebounding. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder often was undersized against centers in the Big Ten, but he outworked many of them and found a way to come down with key rebounds on both ends of the floor during his career.

Interim coach Jim Ferry, who was not retained by PSU, raved about Harrar on numerous occasions, and the young man’s relentless work ethic was recognized throughout the Big Ten season.

Harrar is a senior who played four seasons for Penn State, but like all college basketball players, he will be granted an extra year of eligibility.

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He appeared in 115 games for PSU over four years, making 65 starts, and averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds for his career. He helped the Lions win the NIT in 2018 and was a key member of last year’s team that would have made it to the NCAA Tournament had it not been canceled.

Those who follow Penn State basketball closely have known for some time that a potential mass exodus of players would be possible once the season ended. There was a lot of anger and frustration amongst the players about Patrick Chambers being forced out in October, as some players remained loyal to Chambers and were upset with the PSU administration for not providing answers about why everything occurred.

There was a belief that if the school had retained Ferry as head coach that it may be enough to keep the key players around, rather than seeing a lot of them transfer. But now with a new coach, and everyone on the team having an extra year of eligibility, the expectation has been that a good number of players would be leaving the program.

Shrewsberry will do what he can to try and convince some of the players to stay. But if he can’t, he would need to bring in a lot of new players immediately, either high school recruits or from the transfer portal.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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