Video from the Ms. and Mr. Penn Bodybuilding Contest

In case you missed it, here are a couple of videos from Wednesday night's Ms. and Mr. Penn Bodybuilding Contest. The first is of the Men's Short Class  posing as a group. Note women's track coach and organizer Tony Tenisci saying as he calls out the poses, "Let's show them what a diet can do."

Mr. Penn Short Class

The second video features the top three women of the Ms. Penn Tall Class, including the winner of the Tall Class title, Stephanie Green.

Ms. Penn Tall Class Top 3

Robert Pless and Erin Beck took home the titles of Mr. and Ms. Penn at the end of the night.

For more on the competition and the winners, check out my article in today's paper.

Cartwright and Belcore: Good to Go for season opener at UMBC

After sitting out Saturday's scrimmage against Carleton, guards Rob Belcore and Miles Cartwright will play in Penn's first game of the season against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Both guards had been nursing ankle injuries, and their defensive presences were sorely missed in the open scrimmage.

But both said they are definitely ready to go. Although Cartwright expressed that it was taking a while to get his ankle loosened up, he looked sharp in the practice's early-going.

Belcore dealt with some excruciating migraines early last year and another ankle injury at the end of the season.

Andreas Schreiber: Professional Ballplayer

It's been a busy summer for former Penn basketball player Andreas Schreiber.

After working out in Houston for the first part of the summer, Schreiber lent his talents to the Swedish national team as he awaited a possible European professional contract.  With Schreiber's help, the Swedish men, ranked #67 in the world according to FIBA, were victorious in European qualifier games against Romania, Albania, Azerbaijan, and Belarus.  The wins came without the help of Sweden's lone NBA player, Pistons forward Jonas Jerekbo.

"Personally I felt like I really grew as a player over the summer," Schreiber wrote in an email.  "A lot of my role was just being overly physical, bringing energy and making sure the big guy didn't get the ball, and I feel that UPenn prepared me very well for this. They allow a lot more contact here, so I don't get the fouls I use to in America. I've realized that it is a totally different game over here; something that has actually benefited me. But the intensity, grit and hustle of the college game has really allowed me to grow as a role player on the national team."

Then, at the end of a successful yet stressful summer of wondering where he would land, Schreiber got exactly what he was hoping for: a professional contract to play basketball in Spain.  "Spain was my dream country," Schreiber wrote. "What excites me is the culture, the food, the people, the weather, but most of all the great basketball of course."

The club with which he'll start his professional career is CB Tarragona, located in the city of, you guessed it, Tarragona, a coastal town about 60 miles from Barcelona.  The team plays in the LEB Oro, Spain's second division.  A couple of interesting facts: Schreiber will room with California native and former Memphis guard, Roburt Sallie and one of Schreiber's new teammates is former Temple Owl and Spaniard, Sergio Olmos, who Schreiber played against during his sophomore year at Penn.

For his basketball services, Schreiber said his contract will pay him a net salary with agent costs and taxes being footed by the team, as well as the majority of his living expenses.

He joins two classmates already playing professionally: Jack Eggleston, now with Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, and Conor Turley, with Pioneros de Quintana Roo in Cancun, Mexico.

Eggleston and Schreiber: Europe-Bound

If all goes according to plan, Jack Eggleston and Andreas Schreiber will be getting paid to hoop it up in Europe next year.

Some more info on their plans and current situations:

Eggleston is working out in Indianapolis while interning with Indiana Sports Corp, a non-profit sporting event promotion and planning company. He has signed with the agency Pro One Sports Management. The link to his online profile is here. In early July, he'll attend a camp in Atlanta run by Michael Curry, an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers. Eggleston said that there will be European coaches there. He expects to be signed either in late July or early August.

Schreiber has been working out in Houston. Starting July 19th, he'll play and train with the Swedish national team for a couple of months. He'll treat this stint as a sort of summer showcase for him. He has also signed a one year contract with an agent, though his profile is not yet online. He expects to be signed sometime in September. He'll likely start off in LEB Oro or LEB Plata, Spain's second and third division leagues respectively. Spain's top league is called the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto, or the ACB.

Eggleston told me he sees two different models for going abroad to play: the Jeff Schiffner/Mark Zoller model and the Adam Chubb/Jerome Allen model. On which model was best for him, Eggleston still isn't sure.

"The former, they kind of went over, played for a couple of years, got their fill and it was a fun experience to kind of travel and experience the world and make a little money while playing basketball instead of sitting at the desk," he said. "It was more about the experience.  Versus Coach Allen and Adam Chubb who is still over there, they just want to play basketball as long as possible. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know which one is more suited to me right now."

Another interesting tidbit: Jerome Allen advised both men to work on their shot. When Eggleston walked in Allen's office to ask which areas to focus on improving, the coach stressed the importance of a consistent outside shot. Eggleston largely credits the improvement in his shooting percentage the subsequent year to Allen's advice.  Schreiber recalls Allen, who played until he was 35, offering some sage words about longevity.

"Coach Allen said, when he first came in, if you want to play as long as you can, you’ve gotta learn how to shoot. Just because you can’t be banging inside for 6 or 7 years and expect to be healthy."

"I guess I gotta learn how to shoot sometime," Schreiber admitted.

While Schreiber and Eggleston plan on western Europe, their classmate Danny Monckton is headed west to Tulane University where he will use his final year of eligibility to play basketball while earning a masters in sustainable real estate development.

"Unfortunately with Ivy league rules, I was not granted a 5th year of eligibility and no grad students can play varsity sports in the ivy league as well so I had to go elsewhere and Tulane was a great fit," Monckton wrote in an email. After a breakout campaign during the second half of his junior season, Monckton sat his entire senior year after having microfracture surgery on his knee.

In the Huddle, Continued

Aside from actually playing in the games, I lived the life of a women’s basketball player this past weekend.  Pre-game speeches, team meals, team meetings, long bus rides: I experienced it all.

My article about the trip ran on Tuesday in the DP, but there was no way I could fit everything I wanted to in the article.  The following are observations, tidbits, and anecdotes that I couldn’t fit into the story but also couldn’t keep to myself.  In addition, I want to extend a “thank you” to the entire Penn women’s basketball program for giving me this amazing opportunity and putting up with me over the course of the weekend.

Before the bus left for Columbia, the skies opened up and soaked everyone walking outside.  It also soaked Jess Knapp's bag, which was in the luggage compartment under the bus.  She took this unfortunate development in stride, and transferred her clothes to a different bag in hopes they would be somewhat more dry by the time we arrived at Columbia.

Senior Erin Power, who loves roadtrips, was sad about her last one: “I’m just gonna stay in Philly and be a practice player next year,” she jokes during a team meal.  Coach McLaughlin immediately responds, “You’re hired!”

Starters Megan McCullough and Power both came into the weekend hurting.  Erin’s wrist had been bothering her to the point where she had to miss practice earlier in the week.  For Megan, it was her ribs giving her trouble.  During warmups before the Columbia game, Erin walked up to Megan and asked, “You alright?”  Megan nodded and the two players high fived.  Erin’s wrist was visibly bothering her during the passing drills, but she did her best to hide it. Both Erin and Megan took the floor as starters and went on to play 36 and 30 minutes respectively.

Many players on the team have Pillow Pets, a cross between a stuffed animal and a pillow.  The person most fond of her pillow pet, a unicorn, is Kelsey McLaughlin, the coach’s 11-year-old daughter.

At the beginning of the trip, the bus is stocked with a varied snack array, with everything from chips to Pop Tarts to fruit snacks.  Nearly all of it is gone by the time the trip ends.

Lastly, as far as I could tell, there is not one unfriendly person associated with this program.  From Robin (the bus driver), to coach McLaughlin, to the assistant coaches, to the trainer, to the players.  Everyone played a part in making this reporter feel welcome and even appreciated.

Football recruiting: Brion Wood headed to Penn

Linebacker Brion Wood from Lincolnshire, Illinois has committed to play football for Penn starting in the fall.  Wood, whose brother  is currently a sophomore in Wharton, was featured in this ESPN Chicago article after being named a Player of the Week.

In his senior year at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Wood led his team with 130 tackles, 17 of them for a loss, and eight sacks.  The Stevenson Patriots finished the year at 11-1.  He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All State Team.  Wood was also named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Academic All State, among other recognitions.

The idea of Penn as a college destination initially came from Henry, his Whartonite brother.  "I've heard a bunch of stories," Wood said.  "It's an amazing school.  I'm looking to go into business and what better place to [study] business than Wharton.  The winning program...is a huge positive," he added about coach Al Bagnoli's back-to-back championship team.

John McLaughlin, the offensive line coach, was Wood's main contact during the recruiting process. Of head coach Al Bagnoli, Wood said, "Coming in to play for a coach who knows what he's doing, I'm really excited.  I'm going to be honored to be on his team."

Though Wood understands that starting as a freshman will be a tough task, his goal is to contribute to the team any way he can, as soon as he can.

As for the strongest aspect of his game, Wood credits his intelligence on the field.  "I've always been able to read offensive plays," Wood said.  That ability has often put Wood on a collision course with the ball-carrier.

Check out his highlight video here.