Penn State Basketball Staff Update

Penn State Peter and Ann Tombros Endowed Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Rhoades has officially announced five members of his coaching staff. Jamal BruntJ.D. ByersBrent Scott and Jimmy Martelli will join Rhoades in Happy Valley after serving on his staff at VCU, while Rhoades has also added Penn State alumni and all-time great Joe Crispin.

Brunt will serve as associate head coach, Byers and Scott will be assistant coaches, Martelli will hold the title of chief of staff and Joe Crispin will serve as assistant to the head coach.

Jamal Brunt – Associate Head Coach
Brunt has served on head coach Mike Rhoades‘ staff at both VCU (2018-23) and Randolph-Macon (2003-05), in addition to playing for Rhoades at Randolph-Macon. Brunt, a Baltimore native, also owns coaching experience at Miami (Fla.) and Richmond.

Brunt engineered one of the nation’s top defenses throughout his time at VCU as associate head coach and defensive coordinator, helping the Rams to three NCAA Tournament appearances, four national postseason appearances and a pair of Atlantic 10 titles during his five seasons on Rhoades’ VCU staff. Under Brunt’s guidance, the Rams ranked top 15 in the nation in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric in four of the last five seasons.

Brunt has proven to be an elite recruiter at multiple stops. He played an integral role in signing the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class in three of the last four years while at VCU, in addition to landing the best recruiting classes in program history at Miami in back-to-back seasons during his time in Coral Gables.

Brunt was the offensive coordinator during his three seasons at Miami, in which the Hurricanes reached the NCAA Tournament three times, including a Sweet 16 appearance, and won 20 or more games each season. Brunt also had success on staff at Richmond (2005-15) and Randolph-Macon (2003-05).

Brunt played four seasons as a guard for Rhoades from 1999-2003 at Randolph-Macon and helped lift the Yellow Jackets to NCAA Division III Sweet 16 appearances in 2002 and 2003. He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations with a concentration in business economics from Randolph-Macon in 2003.

He is married to the former Erica Glasper. The couple has two daughters, Peyton and Price, and a son, Jalen.

J.D. Byers – Assistant Coach
Byers has served on Rhoades’ staff at VCU (2017-23), Rice (2014-17) and Randolph-Macon (2007-09).

As assistant coach at VCU, Byers helped the Rams go 129-61 over the last six seasons with three NCAA Tournament appearances, four national postseason appearances, a pair of Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and one A10 Tournament championship. He played an integral role in signing the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class in three of the last four years and signing three of the program’s top six highest-ranked recruits in program history. Byers helped mentor a pair of NBA draft picks in Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland (2021 NBA draft pick) and Vince Williams Jr. (2022 NBA draft pick).

Byers was named one of 50 Impactful Mid-Major Assistant Coaches by Silver Waves Media in 2020. Byers was also among a select group of assistants chosen to participate in the 2020 TopConnect Virtual Seminar.

Byers previously helped Rhoades engineer a stunning turnaround at. The Owls improved by 18 wins in three seasons (2014-17) and that success culminated in a 23-12 campaign in 2016-17. It was Rice’s first 20-win season since 2003-04 and tie for the second winningest season in program history. During his Rice tenure, Byers also aided the development of two-time first-team all-conference guard Marcus Evans.

As a player, Byers put together a stellar collegiate career at Lebanon Valley College in which he was named a 2005 NABC All-American, CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year and winner of the Jostens Trophy that is given annually to the top Division III basketball student-athlete. Along with Rhoades, Byers is one of five men’s basketball players to have his jersey (No. 23) retired by Lebanon Valley.

Byers graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lebanon Valley in 2005 with a degree in accounting and business administration and earned his master’s from Fairleigh Dickinson in 2008.

Byers and his wife, Marci, the head volleyball coach at Virginia Tech, have a daughter, Kamryn.

Brent Scott – Assistant Coach
Scott has served on Rhoades’ staff at VCU (2017-23) and Rice (2016-17). The former professional player also owns Power Five coaching experience at TCU (2012-16) and LSU (2008-12).

Scott was responsible for post player development as an assistant coach at VCU in addition to serving as the recruiting coordinator for the last four seasons. Scott engineered the signing of the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class in three of the last four years. With Scott on the bench, the Rams went 129-61 over the last six seasons with three NCAA Tournament appearances, four national postseason appearances, a pair of Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and one A10 Tournament championship.

Scott’s tenure on Rhoades’ staff began in 2016-17 at Rice as he helped lead the Owls to a 23-win campaign and a national postseason berth.

Scott previously spent four seasons (2012-16) at TCU and aided the Horned Frogs’ transition to the Big 12 Conference in 2012-13. During the 2014-15 season, Scott helped the Horned Frogs to a 13-0 start and a No. 25 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25, their first Top 25 ranking in more than 10 years. Prior to TCU, Scott spent four years at LSU (2008-12), helping the squad to a pair of postseason appearances, including an appearance in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

After a standout collegiate career at Rice, Scott played professionally for 14 years, including a 16-game stint in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers in 1997. He won the 2000 Spanish National Championship with Real Madrid. He spent 13 years with First Division-level European teams while playing in the 1994 Greek, 1997 Spanish and 1998 and 2001 Italian All-Star Games. He was also a first-team USBL member in 1997.

Scott was inducted to the Rice Hall of Fame in 2015. He was a three-time all-conference selection for the Owls and the 1990 Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in points (1,906) and rebounds (1,049) and currently sits second in both categories.

Scott and his wife, Brooke, have two daughters, Brekayla and Berklee.

Jimmy Martelli – Chief of Staff
Martelli will hold the title of chief of staff at Penn State after serving as director of basketball operations on Rhoades’ staff at VCU from 2017-23.  

The son of longtime and legendary Division I basketball coach Phil Martelli, Jimmy Martelli grew up around basketball and has logged eight years on the sidelines as a college assistant coach, including the 2006-07 season at Randolph-Macon under Rhoades.

Martelli played two seasons as an undergraduate at the University of Scranton before finishing his collegiate career at Dickinson College.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson in 2005.

Martelli is married to the former Julie Lambi, who is the all-time scoring leader in Towson field hockey history. They have three daughters, twins Brynley and Avery, and Callan Claire.

Joe Crispin – Assistant to the Head Coach
One of Penn State’s all-time great players and longtime professional player, Crispin returns home to his alma mater to serve as assistant to the head coach on Rhoades’ staff.

Crispin spent the last seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey where he guided the Profs to a 114-54 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two conference titles and the 2023 Sweet 16. He collected the fourth-most wins by a head coach in school history through his seven years on the sideline.

Crispin engineered one of the most prolific offenses in the country at Rowan, as the Profs averaged more than 80 points per game in each of his final six seasons including 90+ points per game in each of the last two years.

A longtime professional player, Crispin joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 as a free agent and enjoyed a highly successful career in Europe for more than a decade.

A four-year starter and 2001 team captain, Crispin starred for Penn State during one of the program’s best periods as the team made three postseason appearances during his career, including trips to the 2001 NCAA Sweet 16, 1998 NIT final and 2000 NIT semifinals. Crispin scored 21 points in an upset victory of No. 6-ranked and No. 2-seeded North Carolina in the 2001 NCAA Tournament to help Penn State reach the Sweet 16, widely considered one of the greatest games in Penn State history.

Crispin’s name is all over the Penn State record books. He stands fourth in school history in career scoring (1,986 points), fourth in career 3-pointers (308), fifth in career assists (485), sixth in career free throws made (448) and seventh in career field goals made (615). Crispin earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2001 (coaches), and second-team accolades in 2000 (coaches and media) and 2001 (media).

Crispin and his wife Erin, who played soccer at Penn State, have five children.

Further additions to the Penn State men’s basketball staff will be announced in the coming weeks.

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