Game 8: Penn State — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

On the road in State College, Pa., the Quakers fell to the Nittany Lions of Penn State, 58-47. The Red and Blue entered halftime with a nine-point deficit, largely due to an abysmal offensive effort in the first half that yielded just 22 points. Though Penn rallied late in the second half behind an energetic performance from freshman Tony Hicks, pulling to within four points at one time, the Lions put together a few runs of their own, putting the game out of reach for good.

THE GOOD: Tony Hicks dunks on a Penn State big man.
Posterizing someone while losing is always less glamorous, but that said, Hicks' throwdown gave the Quakers a much-needed spark in the second half. Here's the breakdown of the play: Camryn Crocker caught the ball on the left wing and faked a pass, which created room for him to drive. As he penetrates he slings a one-handed pass to Hicks in the right corner. Hicks takes the ball baseline, virtually uncontested, until he takes off one foot and finishes with a two-handed dunk over a Penn State big man.

THE BETTER: He's only a freshman.
And it's going to be fun to watch him the next three years.

THE BAD: Take your pick.
It's difficult to decide where to start after this game. Of course, 16 turnovers is an eyesore, but then again, so is 22 first-half points. What's worse, the Red and Blue shot even more poorly from three-point range in the second half, when they converted just 2-of-13 from distance. Or what about team leaders Fran Dougherty and Miles Cartwright combining for 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting? Take your pick for the "bad" of this game.

THE UGLY: Foul play.
The Quakers racked up 26 personal fouls in the game, and many of them were concentrated among a few players who didn't even play significant minutes. For instance, Steven Rennard and Darien Nelson-Henry (somehow) combined for nine fouls in just 17 minutes of play. Similarly, Greg Louis picked up three fouls in seven minutes, and Henry Brooks fouled out in 20 minutes. Overall, the Quakers rank 10th out of 347 teams in the nation in terms of personal fouls per contest. The fouls not only put Penn in the bonus early and often, but they also make the game a painful experience for the few spectators that showed up to the Bryce Jordan Center.

37 thoughts on “Game 8: Penn State — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

  1. Way too much BAD and UGLY:
    Lack of scoring punch early
    Defensive mismatches
    "Small line up" rotations

    Jok is on a roll. He made another 3 pointer
    Very little about this team is good.

  2. What does everyone think the point-spread for the Villanova game will be? They arent that great this year, but should be a double-digit favorite over this rag tag bunch of Quakers.

  3. rag tag i guess that's your POV...

    I'll give the alternate, we have a freshman point gard that the coaching staff and the team has a lot of confidence in and he's going to be one of the pest PGs in the IVYs for a while.

    contrary to what many believe Miles and Doc are doing about what should be expected of them neither was very highly ranked recruits, Doc works his tail of and is performing really well this season. Miles is playing ok before Jamal was inserted as PG, we had miles playing out of position.

    Tony Hicks will be the star of this team, he had early turnover and defensive issues which he seems to have remedied but he along with Greg Louis and jamal are our most physically ready to compete at D1 level athletes.

    Darien's progress has be slow but he's getting valuable minutes and is improving.

    to me I see the team improving the rotations are getting tighter we are starting to see who can play. I'm encouraged!

  4. Jamie - Thank you for your latest contribution. There are some bright spots on the squad, especially Hicks, Cartwright, and Dougherty who appear to be the best of the lot. The others are still a work in progress and hopfeully show progress. The results to date have been poor, and we are about to learn if Allen really is the right man for the job. Many times he has been in over his head. On a few ocassions, he met the challenge (Harvard last year). Lets see what happens.

  5. what are your facts that support the notion that he's in over his head.

    And what made you convert to thinking that hicks is the especially a bright spot? I hope you aren't basing it on one dunk? Hicks will be the star of this team for the next 4 yrs but I remember earlier you didn't think any of Jerome's recruits were very good. Jamal has had a better start to the season than hicks so i would have thought that you would like him more based on performance, you seem to be wary of projecting on potential...

  6. FOJL Please tell me what website you use to get your point spreads. I had it last year on an old computer and need to update. Thanks

  7. Jamie - I had planned to hold off posting till after the Villanova game, but your 10:36am post above struck a nerve. However unintended, it contains an element of revisionism vis Miles and Doc as not being "highly ranked" recruits. I'll leave the recruiting assessments to you, but Miles was touted as a big get (2nd best in that class to the chap who went off to Vegas or wherever), and I recall it was feared he might de-commit due to the program's instability. In his freshman year the DP sports editor was promoting him as ROY, going so far as to tabulate comparable stats vis Harvard's Rivard (neither won).

    As for Doc, the DP sent out a caravan to his campus to interview the big get immediately after he announced for Penn. And that class was touted as loaded and one that would immediately challenge for the title. During the following Fall as more recruits were lost to Harvard, someone went so far as to post maybe they did so because they feared Penn was too loaded for them to get playing time. Perhaps you read it?

    Speaking of Harvard, recall that their two Senior co-captains are absent this year, and an amazing recruit is doing a prep school year to qualify academically. Meanwhile, they beat Fordham and BC, last week their Freshman Siyani Chambers was ROW, and last night scored 21 points against BC. I point this out for several reasons:

    1) How is it that Harvard's Freshman and Sophomores are making immediate contributions to victories against comparable opponents (Fordham) and tougher (BC), while our #1 ranked incoming class and the previous 2nd ranked class require patience to develop, eliminate turnovers, rebound, and hit shots?

    2) Recruiting is my major concern, and with no disrespect meant to you, I see that as a huge program shortcoming. As you know, I haven't seen any evidence of those #1 & #2 recruiting classes on the court, while I've seen some very talented Harvard Freshman and Sophomores making great impact. If as many of us believe Harvard is recruiting at another level: a) How will we ever reach the top again? b) Who is ultimately responsible for recruiting? Not JA?

    I fear your constant calls for patience may be setting the bar lower for yet another once-great Penn team, albeit the program's crown jewel.

  8. The problem with this team isn't talent. To say Miles wasn't a big time recruit is blatantly false, and Miles' talent is his not his problem. This team's problems are turnovers, fouling, and rebounding. Those problems are largely about sloppiness. At the end of the day, a lot of that has to fall on the coach.

  9. Wynnie - To be clear it wasn't I who belittled Miles talent. Big picture question re talent - and it's not a trick one - are there rebounders on this team who are rebounding? Equal or more importantly, is there a reliable go-to shooter to make the open shot on a regular basis (as opposed to a player having a hot night)? These have been consistent Penn BB shortcomings since Tyler's ROY year from my perspective. Is that wrong?

  10. Ernie, I can tell you this that nationally miles and doc were not high recruits even for Ivy League. Tell me who else was recruiting them? they weren't highly recruited thats facts. and if you look at their games you can tell. Miles is a good player but look at his physique against Hicks and lewis. Hicks and lewis have D1 college bodies they won't be pushed off their spot by higher level talent. Miles need to gain weight and strength after his freshman year but he didn't put in the work necessary. He has come back a little stronger this year but you can see that he is still thinner than both freshman.

    you don't have to be patient on my account I could careless but sometimes the analysis on this blog lack some basic basketball player eval skills, to says miles and fran were high recruits is false. I'm pretty aware of whats happening on the aau circuit and neither were very prominent in it and when they were there they didn't fair well. Doc has made some huge strides he added significan weight and worked on his game. Go back and look at him freshman year its obvious. Just because the DP says its a highly rated class doesn't make it so. I by the coaches (ours and other coaches around the league say it ain't my evaluations although I know enough to see talent and potential when I see it.)

    As for your argument about Harvard its a little naive to say that harvard and Penn are in the same place stage in program building. but their freshman are playing better than ours I'll agree to that.

    I just see a lot of critics who don't give have much facts to back it or basketball background to know what your looking at. take how you want but thats how some of these opinions come off...

  11. My own (2 cents worth) recollection is that Cartwright and Dougherty WERE pretty highly touted recruits, although they may have been originally recruited by Miller ??).

    Agree with your assessment that we've been missing consistent, night after night shooters and rebounders for the past several years (just one of each would have been nice). There may be such within the current freshmen, (Hicks and Nelson maybe?), but they have not emerged yet. The "patience clock" is ticking....

  12. Ernie, my comments about Miles' talents were directed towards Jamie. As for the rebounders and spot-up shooters, I think we need to see who develops. Jerome has been testing a deep lineup out, but at some point, people have to fill roles.

  13. Jamie,
    I just saw your most recent post. Just to clarify, I'm not qualified to say whether or not Cartwright and Dougherty were considered top prospects, nationally or otherwise. I was just saying that when they committed to Penn, we were led to believe by the DP and some others that their doing so was a big deal. This goes right ti Ernie's point, that Penn recruits have been over-hyped, at least by some, in recent years, and those 2 are examples of that. I agree with you that this this year's crop does at least LOOK bigger and stronger, so that's a start.
    Can you clarify for me whether the 2010-11 freshman class (cartwright, Dougherty, etc.) was recruited by Miller or Allen (or both)? Thanks.

  14. I can understand how the Penn inner circle can promote players that they recruit as being better than what they probably are or will be i can completely understand that. but what I don't understand is when you look at a player and evaluate what they are I think most people that know basketball could see that Miles was a lot thinner than most guards that we recruit. On Penn's better teams Miles would not have played his first 2 years but we didn't have great talent so he found himself in the lineup no know on him it's just how it is he wouldn't have found minutes on our good teams. There is pretty good talent on this team we have some guys that are underachieving right now for sure, like Brooks he was low ACC recruited before he blew out his knew but he's healthy now but a lot like Miles he didn't have a Fran type of off season after his freshman year he came back and he physically looks the same as he did the last game of last year. I though greg louis would be further along, athletically he's one of the top 5 in the Ivy's but he looks lost out there like he's not sure what he's doing. jamal, hicks and darien despite their errors overall i like what I've seen from them. My issue here is use your own eyes if you know basketball you know what a good player looks like you cant say that jamal and hicks don't look like they are going to be one of the better backcourts we have had from what we have seen so far. I know they both make a ton of mistakes but you can see what thier games will become and both have great work ethics they won't come back with the same game next year that they have now. actually they won't have the same game in 45 days that they have now. darien is a hard worker too i expect him to develop a lot as well in the next 45 days.

  15. @All - Re Recruiting Hype & DP Reporting: I'm hardly a DP apologist, and while they have had a role in the over-hyping process, it's very likely been an unwitting one. They get their recruit signing info directly from Penn Athletics Comm., and other than mouse clicking to polls Jamie refers to, they have little by way of independent input from what I've observed. Draw your own conclusions as to where the over-hyping starts, and what it's done for Penn sports and DP credibility.

    Re DP credibility, this year has seen a marked shift by reporters willing to objectively report the results they've witnessed. Yet another outstanding example is today's Mike Tony's front page turnovers article. Though not a blanket endorsement, it creates DP credibility.

    @Jamie - I'm confused as to where you are coming from; and if you really couldn't care less, then there may be little reason to take your posts seriously. On the assumption that you still do, and there is mutual respect, here's a chronology of my misunderstanding:

    1) You detect an anti JA strain in these BB postings and ask for facts re his coaching.
    2) FOJL mentions team preparedness, Wynnie mentions sloppy play, and you do little by way of addressing them.
    3) I mention recruiting and give comparisons vis Harvard recruiting, and your "...Harvard its a little naive to say that harvard and Penn are in the same place stage in program building..." I believe you are making my point that based on recruiting Penn BB program is not closing the gap vis Harvard. Why shouldn't that be a concern?
    4) Somewhere along the way you have us competing for the Ivy title this season; really? From your mouth to...
    5) You are denigrating the documented opinions of others, while arrogating to yourself the standard for evaluating talent, which seems to be based on AAU and other performances everywhere else but in Penn uniforms; really?

    Recruiting is important to me, not only as a sign of future team success, but also as a sign of Penn's commitment to Penn sports - in this case BB excellence within the Ivies. I'm no longer as assured as I once assumed. In fact I fear the commitment is to do just enough to put on a good show to be "competitive".

    If Penn BB were to become the equivalent of a club sport - as most other Penn teams - I'd bet there would be a collective sigh and "so what" by AG et al. That's certainly beyond JA's control, but meanwhile he is responsible for recruiting and team performance thus far.

  16. I do "arrogate" because I don't agree with what I hear and what I have seen. You taking my post seriously isn't a requirement for me to post or not post it has no affect on it. My position is that I don't see the program as a sinking ship as you and some others do, not everyone but a fair amount. So I'll address your points to clarify my arrogance, which may still appear be it.

    1. I did ask for facts and really haven't gotten much other than wynnie

    2. FOJL had these are his points:
    1) Slow starts ( i have no answer for that but i'm also not sure i agree with in only 3 of our games have we been down by more than 5 at the half)
    2) Defensive transition is a problem. (at times yes we have defensive transitions lapse like every other team its clearly not an epidemic or else we would be getting be by 20 in every loss)
    3) In game adjustments. ( i need some examples of this his explanation was too general)

    Wynnie (who i never had issue with is opinion) said
    turnovers, fouling, and rebounding. and overall Sloppiness. to a certain point i agree. turnovers are definitely sloppy play, that stat has been coming down down a bit recently or TOs from game 1 until now are (21,18,17,18,11,17,16,15) this has to get better and it will we have a PG now. The 1st 4 games we ran Miles at PG which he is not so i guess you can say that was bad coaching decision. Jamal was sick for the 1st 2 games and started in game 5. Rebounding is effort that can be pinned on the coach. I do think he is putting guys in to see who wants to give that effort. so far he hasn't been able to get anyone to do it. fouling is a direct result of thier team defense not being very good. Which you can only get from practicing and playing together, they are going thru that now.

    3. comparison to harvard players. its the nature of the beast when you're on top you can get the better kids until something changes in the dynamic. That something for us was allen. Saunders is a legit mid majore low major player we never had a shot at him because harvard was peaking he never even considered us. At this point they are a better team than us so all of their players are playing better than our guys not just sophs and fresh. I think we can catch them this year. thats what i believe off what i see.

    4. I do think we will compete for the Ivy title this year.

    5. I don't denigrate anyones opinon. I will dispute anything that I don't agree with or that i have fact that support that are not correct. and yes Really, i use AAU to evaluate recruiting classes thats what EVERY coach uses that's why in June is the month that recruiting is the highest because the AAU tournaments in vegas, SC and FL have the most teams their. if you take it as arrogant there's nothing i can do about that but AAU is how you can find out about kids. You don't view tony, jamal and darien as good recruits. There's nothing i can do about that either is just wait for you to see it barring injury or academic stuff (like will mccalister) they will be really good players. As to your statement about penn's recruiting is to just be "competitive"?? that's crazy hicks is was the chicago catholic league POY, 2nd team all-state Illinois (Illinois is a strong basketball state) and parage all-american, jamal played in the toughest league in DC metro area. you don't go after those two kids if you just want to be competitive. I understand what you have seen so far hasn't been impressive but you will be impressed and we will win a lot of games with those two and darien.

    btw which other Penn sports are club sports? football? wrestling? field hockey? track?

  17. Jamie - Please don't put words in my mouth. A clear reading will show I've not offered an opinion on any specific recruits (other than Miles & Doc), both of whom I view favorably. I simply don't accept your assurance (based on your self-proclaimed ability to assess talent) that we now have it in sufficient quantity to challenge for the Ivy title. Nor that we are now gaining ground on Harvard.

    Nor have I stated definitively that Penn is recruiting just to be competitive. Here's what I said, "Recruiting is important to me, not only as a sign of future team success, but also as a sign of Penn's commitment to Penn sports - in this case BB excellence within the Ivies. I'm no longer AS ASSURED as I once assumed. In fact I FEAR the commitment is to do just enough to put on a good show to be "competitive"."

    Please don't create strawman arguments, and please also keep in mind the differences between "arrogate" and "arrogance"; "affect" and "effect"; and "there" and "their".

    The above said, post or don't post to your heart's content.

  18. what does the last sentence mean because granted i'm not as word wise as your are but "In fact I FEAR the commitment is to do just enough to put on a good show to be "competitive"." i think that mean that your are concerned that they are not recruiting to win the title but they may be recruiting to be competitive. Again I'm not as word wise as you so break it down for me.

  19. You got it right! I am "concerned" and do "fear", both which imply a conditionality, and are not definitive.

    BTW - My preference is to post and exchange with mutual respect on sports, not word smithing.

  20. Wow. Ernie? Jamie?
    Great thread. Really great thread.
    I have season tickets again this year but have had the poor luck of being able to get to only one game. That's why I've been so reserved in my feedback. A second game I trekked down to Philly to see, and genius that i'm not, I arrived after the game, mistaking the game for 7pm, instead of 4pm.
    Anyway, your posts are spirited and passionate.
    Jamie, I have been following your posts for a while, and I respect them a lot. You obviously have strong views and you seem to me clearly to have intelligent, detailed, incisive takes on the personnel.
    On my end, I will wait till I see more play up-close to weigh in with my own characteristically strong takes on the personnel, and direction this team is heading.
    Ernie, always love your Socratic-ally intelligent posts, always enjoy them, and how cogently you express your concerns.
    Regarding Miles and own take is that Miles, skinny as he was (and is), has just not fulfilled the promise of his early, precocious production. Regardless of how legitimately well-thought of he was at the time of his recruiting, he showed early signs of real precocity but clearly hasn't developed his game significantly since then. He never became, and will never be, the dependable long-range shooter one initially hoped he'd be; he's just a scrappy, hard-nosed kid with some pretty versatile skills who, especially given his slight frame, is a darned good finisher.
    Dougherty, conversely, has developed into exactly what you hoped he'd develop into. That bodes very well for this and next season.
    I look forward to seeing more games soon and offering some of my own independent takes.
    But Jamie...whoever the hell you are, keep the posts coming. They are strong, loaded with conviction and knowledge.
    And Ernie...I always said "you was the man" and Ernie, "you is still the man."

  21. ernie, i thought you wanted to wordsmith since you corrected all the words i assume i got wrong. Obviously some of my views got you annoyed but I'm just telling you my POV what am supposed to do just accept opinions when i think there is additional info thats missing that might change the perception? either way the last part of this thread is getting away from the team. Point is I see the program and team one way you see it another way, which is fine...

  22. Jamie - It wasn't your views on team talent, but rather the "care less" what I or others think that got to me. Hence the wordsmith bit, which is not my preferred mode, and which lets put behind. Be aware I accept and enjoy disagreement, not as an opportunity to duel, but rather to learn.

    I've already acceded to Winnie, Steve B (No, it's you, you, you...*) et al, and yourself the eval of the finer points of BB talent. I only recognize when shots go in, rebounds, by whom, and frequency. It may be simplistic and not nuanced, but it's tended to correlate with Ws & Ls, which I also understand. I also recognize excuses.

    I admittedly bridle at accusations or even implications of an anti JA bias. Meanwhile, your different take on Penn BB is fine by me. That Jamie Talent Meter with the definitive readings may take some getting used to, but I'll work on it.

    * Mr. Steve B, I assume you saw "Analyze This".

  23. ernie, I'm past it man, if you still feel some kind of way or sensative about stuff i said, go ahead keep going. Give me a title and all that sillyness it has no affect/effect/das efx on me i'm cool.... i'll still voice my opinion in the same way. you have your opinion i'ma have mine...

  24. Honestly at this point I'm not sure "who's zooming who?" or "who's busting whom?"

    Differentiating sincerity from sarcasm, schtick from earnestness, is getting a bit tougher to navigate? That doesn't mean the entertainment level is decreasing. :)

  25. I'd add, possibly gratuitously, that through all of this discussion about the team's current state one thing is very clear--the value Zack Rosen contributed to the squad, and his loss, can't be overstated.

    We can quickly forget, now that he's gone and we are already looking past him, that he was the best point guard in Penn's history, and that it was inevitable that no one, individually or collectively, was going to be able to step in and, any time soon, replace or compensate what he produced--outrageous, rare leadership and skills.

    So we knew he'd leave a gigantic chasm in the team, skill-wise and leadership-wise, at the most important position on the floor, however much we hoped the upperclassmen and newer recruits would, sooner than later, find ways to coalesce in his absence.

    We are discovering, not surprisingly, that this will be a "later" rather than "sooner" process of recovery. Of course, the "recovery" must occur, and as Penn basketball fans, we expect the program to survive and flourish against these adverse events--such as the loss of a seminal senior.

  26. Mr B - Your 1.02pm post prompted me to reread mine, especially the 7:56 post. Rereading that one I can see how it could have come out provocative, notwithstanding my intent (as stated in the first sentence to "...let's put behind". So to Jamie, I apologize for the any unintended provocation. I had intended the following interpretations:

    1) You, Winnie et al are far more knowledgeable than I re BB subtlety. This isn't false modesty but something I periodically admit to provide context for my views on talent. I understand only the simple stuff, shooting and rebounding, and that these skills correlate with Ws & Ls. I'd have to say that if at this point we are waiting for shooters and rebounders to answer JA's call, then logic says the talent may not be what it's cracked up to be. It's a simplistic take, and not intended to denigrate other's evals.

    2) Reference to the "Jamie Talent Meter" was made in the same spirit with in which I coined the "Seifter Smell Test" named after a former DP editor who used the smell test in his observation (ironically) re the talent level of a Florida recruit touted by his DP colleague. (FOJL reduced it to "SST") Again, the intent was to acknowledge that Jamie clearly sees more BB than most of us do, and I will work on digesting those talent assessments. BTW - I can't say it more clearly, please continue to post those assessments, as we can always learn.

    3) I am unapologetic in rebutting any anti JA bias in my comments, and until proven, those of others posting critiques of his coaching and recruiting. Hopefully that shouldn't be provocative.

    4) It is hard to to be around Penn sports without recognizing excuses for results. I've heard swimming results being blamed on our pool, rowing blamed on among other things our boathouse, fencing on having to practice at Hutchinson etc. etc. All of these arguably have an element of truth, but when year in and year out little gets done about them, that contributes to my fears and concerns re commitment to Penn sports. Jamie, my reference to excuses was not directed at you, but I can see how you may have interpreted it that way.

    Enough said. Tonight I plan to see Harvard-UConn and tomorrow Penn-Villanova, after which let's see where we are. Go Penn!

  27. Steve Becker,
    Ernie and I had a somewhat similar discussion on this subject last year, so it is with some trepidation that I bring it up again:
    I don't necessarily disagree with your statement that Zack Rosen was "the best point guard in Penn's history," but what are your reasons/arguments for stating that? If none were better, was anyone his equal, in your opinion? One who quickly comes to my mind is Matt Maloney, whose teams went 42-0 in the Ivy League during his 3 seasons with the Quakers, and who ended up playing in the NBA finals at least once. Granted, he had a much better supporting cast than Zack, but was Zack really more talented than MM, or even some others?

  28. Wonderful dialogue and passion.

    I always enjoy seeing these words in writing


    Hopefully this team will be prepared to play against a down Villanova team. Plus the week of practice should help too.

    I will try and post lines and spreads in the morning


  29. How was Zack better than Jerome? Tend to think Zack appeared better because of his supporting cast, although I love Zack to death. He was strongly helped by the fact that we ran almost no offense his senior year and let him bomb away at the end of the clock. Jerome has titles, awards, and the NBA. Love Zack but I think it's a bit of an overreaction.

  30. Lines for Villanova

    I see the spread anywhere from -5 to -6. A few places show -5.5 . Villanova is the favorite

    O/U 132.5

    ML Villanova -220, Penn +190.

    If anything this line tells me that Vegas has little confidence in Villanova anymore. Penn has a shot....Hopefully they dont get worn out against a stronger bigger team.

  31. Jamie - I'll save my impressions of Harvard-UConn and Harvard vs Penn talent till after tonight's Villanova game. Meanwhile, do you know what gives re Kennyatta Smith, who has been listed on the Harvard roster, but didn't suit up last night nor most of last season?

    BTW - Any thoughts on Ted's question re Zack Rosen to Mr. Becker? I'd agree with"Greatest Point Guard Ever" that vis Jerome Allen, JA had more natural talent, played with an incomparable Penn cast, and had more personal, team and professional achievements. My $.02: If ZR could make a talent challenged team competitive (under JA coaching), it's a testament to his greatestness. (No such word, but it conveys my meaning.)

  32. From the words of Jonothon Tannenwald today:

    "It is one of the signature rivalries in college sports and one of the signature days on the Philadelphia sports calendar"

    Really? Is this really the best that he can do? This is right out of the 8th grade school paper cliche lists.

    For such a smart and talented writer, he has really marginalised himself with these sort of lame references.

    This is NOT "Raising the Bar" (as per the Plotnick Manifesto) and he can certainly do better than this.

    He and his alter ego 'PRETZEL' will be on-hand tonight for Villanova @ Penn.

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