I have been hesitant to pile on the "Zack Rosen is good at basketball" bandwagon so far this season. Saying that would almost be like pointing out that the sky is blue or that Princeton is awful. It's just a fact. I've tried to point out some of the smaller things that have contributed to the Quakers' success, but I would be remiss if I did not talk about the night that The Captain just had.
Did you ever play Sharks and Minnows as a kid? If you didn't please call ten of your closest friends right now and set up a game because you missed out on childhood. Basically, the game ends with one last person making the vain attempt to weave across a field of opponents. When I see Zack Rosen standing near the split P at mid-court, gathering himself as the shot clock winds down, I get this image of a small kid just waiting to make that doomed run through a minefield of sharks.
Scoring 28 points in a college basketball game is no easy task. It gets even tougher when you are a two time First Team All-Ivy player who is the prime focus of the opposing team's scouting report. The degree of difficulty is magnified even further still when almost every single one of your baskets has to come from an isolation with all nine sets of eyes on the court fixed squarely on you. For virtually any other player in the country, it would be unfair how much the Penn offense expects of him. Entire possessions are spent standing around waiting for Rosen to work his magic. But time after time, the minnow finds his way through the sharks, sometimes disappearing among the big bodies, only to resurface right at the hoop and lay it in.
Of course, this game could not have been won without the big first half shots from Tyler, the tenacious defense from Rob, and the clutch threes from Steve. Watching the other players find their roles and learn how to play effectively off of Zack is definitely a positive sign for the Quakers in the final eleven games of the Ivy season. As opposing coaches come up with new and different ways to try to take Rosen out of the equation in League play, Zack will have to find ways to adjust and remain effective. My money is on the minnow.