On Thursday evening, Penn State sent out a press release indicating that guard Geno Thorpe had been granted his release from the program. The move comes as relatively surprising as Thorpe appeared to be in a position for increased minutes with the exit of star DJ Newbill due to graduation.
Thorpe entered the program as a member of the 2013 recruiting class, where he was rated as a 3-star recruit according to the 247Composite. He came out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was the #7 prospect in the state and the #52 point guard in the class. During the 2013-14 season, Thorpe saw limited time off the bench and ultimately only played 27.6% of the team's minutes. He saw increased time in 2014-15 and played 59.9% of the team's minutes with a 100.8 offensive rating. At the end of the season, Thorpe was getting the most minutes on the roster at the small forward position.
This is not a monumental loss for the Nittany Lions, but it does appear to be significant. Thorpe was receiving major minutes at small forward late in the season and was actually the most used bench player in the backcourt, where the team is replacing its top contributor in Newbill. Incoming prospects Josh Reaves and Delvidas Zemgulis should help address some of these concerns, but Thorpe was at least a known commodity with two seasons remaining in eligibility. Now, the team will have to replace another key contributor this offseason.
With Thorpe's exit from the program, Penn State now sits with two open scholarships heading into the 2015-16 season. There could still be movement in the coming months, but the Nittany Lions will likely need at least one addition to have adequate depth for next season.
All told, it should be an interesting rest of the offseason for Penn State and to see how the new prospects fit into the lineup and rotation next season.