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Penn State guard Ace Baldwin makes decision on 2024-25 season

nate-mug-10.12.14by:Nate Bauer05/24/24


Penn State head coach Mike Rhoades year-end press conference

For the final weeks of Penn State basketball’s 2023-24 season, Mike Rhoades faced questions regarding the program’s two bonus-year-eligible players and their plans for next year. Ace Baldwin and Puff Johnson, the team’s starting point guard and a forward earning significant minutes, respectively, faced the same questions.

For weeks, no definitive answers emerged in either direction.

“We’ve had conversations throughout the year about a lot of stuff with all the players and that’s what you do,” said Rhoades before the season’s end. “I’m running a team and we got to make sure we’re doing the best to build the team in the right way. But, I’m always always going to work with our guys to do what’s best for them. That’s just me. Maybe other people have a different approach to it. And you got to have real conversations with guys when the time is (right), so yeah, we’ll get into that.”

On March 27, Johnson ended the suspense on his end, declaring that he’d return for the 2024-25 campaign. And, this week, Rhoades and the Penn State coaching staff got their second answer.

Following weeks of consideration for a future that could have included professional basketball or a transfer portal entry, Baldwin has landed on returning to play for the Nittany Lions next season. It will be his final year of eligibility, taking advantage of the COVID bonus season.

Ace Baldwin earns Big Ten honors

As a fourth-year senior at Penn State this past season, his first with the Nittany Lions, he delivered some of the best numbers of his career. In the process, he helped spur Penn State to a 15-16 regular season record with a 9-11 mark in conference play, adding another win in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to Indiana in the second round.

His 14.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game were all career bests. The same was true of his 35.6 minutes per game. Appearing in all 31 regular season contests for the Nittany Lions, he also hit a career-best 83.2 percent of his free throws while knocking down 38.9 percent of his shots and 32.9 percent of his 3-point attempts on the season.

Baldwin was selected to the All-Big Ten third-team and the All-Defensive team for his efforts. He was also tabbed as the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year.  More important than the honors or numbers, though, Rhoades pointed to Baldwin’s pure impact on the team’s competitiveness and ability to win this season.

“The dude’s a winner,” said Rhoades. “He’s been a winner everywhere he’s at. He impacts the game in so many different ways.”

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