Allen, Ivy coaches talk basketball on preseason teleconference

It's time to start looking ahead to basketball season.

In his ten-minute slot on the annual Ivy League preseason basketball teleconference, Jerome Allen talked impressive freshman, major senior losses and coaching staff changes, but the buzzword of the day was "depth."

"We'll be a much deeper team coming off the bench this year," Allen said. "We have size, athleticism and drive that I haven't seen since my first year here."

Allen cited the four freshman as a major part of that depth and drive.

"All four of them are proud to wear the Penn jersey," he said.

Allen didn't dwell on the loss of impact seniors like Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, but instead stressed the opportunities for players like Miles Cartwright to step up and make a statement for themselves.

"I'm not asking Miles to step up and be the next Zack. I'm asking him to step up and be the next Miles," Allen said.

Finally, Allen talked coaching staff changes, wishing former Penn assistant Mike Martin all the best at Brown and expressing his excitement about his new assistants Ira Bowman, Scott Pera and Jason Polykoff.

The Quakers, according to Allen, have everything going for them this year--they'll just need to "put it all together, and let the chips fall where they may."

2 Minutes with Ed Rendell

At the Butler game last week, I caught up with Penn alum, former PA governor, and avid sports fan Ed Rendell for an interview on Penn sports, the all-time Quaker greats, and what you should do when you've moved to Philly, and still have to root for a terrible home team. We published an abbreviated version of the interview in the paper. Here is the full transcript:

How many years have you been a fan of Penn athletics?

Well, since my freshman year in the fall of '61. I remember on December 22 - I think it was - I was supposed to go home for Christmas to New York and we were playing St. Joe's on a Friday night. It went to a triple overtime and I missed my train. And we won in triple overtime.

Do you have a list of your top five Quaker athletes?

Oh gosh. I think they'd be all basketball. And it would be that great '71 team - Dave Wohl, Steve Bilsky, Corky Calhoun and Bob Morse, and maybe I'd throw in Keven McDonald or Ron Haigler. The later years.

Where does Zack Rosen rank in there?

I'd say Zack is one of the top five guards to ever play for Penn. But Butler's doing a great job tonight. A great job.

You're a native New Yorker, right?

Yes.

How long did it take you to start rooting for Philadelphia teams?

 Well, it depends on the sport. I lasted longer on the football Giants. Didn't become an Eagles fan until the early seventies.

For a long suffering Redskins fans or Mets or Wizards fans, what do you say?

Some day it will turn around. [laughing] For the Redskins, hopefully not too soon.

NPR examines Financial Aid and rise of the Ivies

In an article published three days ago, NPR examined the increasing financial aid offered at many Ivy schools and the rise of Ivy basketball that has resulted.

The article - citing Harvard coach Tommy Amaker and Crimson forward Kyle Casey - discusses the implications of the eliminating loans from financial aid. These loans that have that have largely been replaced by grants, which according to the article many football and basketball players receive, could help the Ivy become more competitive with schools that offer full or partial athletic scholarships.

The recent success of Jeremy Lin and Harvard's rise to the AP Top 25 for a large part of the season has catapulted the Ancient Eight into the daily conversation of college basketball.The NPR story follows a string of articles to unearth the truth about Ivy League athletics and the success of Ivy basketball. On Sunday, The New York Times published an article about Ivy Hoops as a long-time flag bearer for the college game. Two months earlier, the NYT also published an article to try and demystify the sensitive issue of Academic Index.

Here is the audio from the story on NPR:

Midseason Report: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

With 16 games down and 15 to go (and hopefully more), the DP Sports staff has compiled a collective Good, Bad & Ugly for the season thus far. Penn (7-9, 0-3 Big 5) got off to a quick 3-1 start, but since then the Quakers have dropped eight of 12. The Red and Blue are 4-5 at the Palestra and 3-4 on the road. They begin their quest for their first Ivy Title since 2007 tonight against Columbia.

THE GOOD

Zack Rosen becomes program’s all-time assists leader
With his 506th career assist in a 78-73 win over Lafayette, Rosen passed his coach Jerome Allen as Penn’s career leader.

Zack Rosen named a finalist for 2012 Bob Cousy Award
The senior guard is the last Ivy League and Big 5 guard in contention. The current field of 20 players will be narrowed to 10 in February and five in March. The award winner will be announced on April 2nd as part of the Final Four in New Orleans.

Tyler Bernardini’s back-to-back monster games
The fifth-year senior notched a career-high 29 points in his home state of California against UCLA, and in Penn’s next game he topped that with 30 points against Marist. On both nights, Bernardini was 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.

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Homecoming Saturday quick hits

Lots of activity on campus today for homecoming — here's what has shaken out so far:

  • Football got its must-win over Princeton in convincing fashion, 37-9 at Franklin Field. It didn't start too well, but Penn scored 25 second-half points and gave up none after the break.
    • Brown beat Yale today to remain on pace with the Quakers in second, Harvard beat Columbia to remain at the top, setting up another must-win Saturday for Penn in Cambridge next weekend.
    • The Quaker mascot had a stuffed Tiger that he swung around on a string for much of the football game. At some point, its head became disembodied and was thrown into the crowd, which threw it back to the Quaker, who proceeded to stomp on the bodiless tiger head.
  • Penn women's soccer had a convincing 3-1 win over Princeton to close out the regular season. League-leading Harvard plays Columbia tonight. A Crimson loss would put Penn in a tie for first place with Harvard. Regardless, the Quakers win today will help their shot at an at-large bid into the NCAA tourney.
    • UPDATE: Harvard beat Columbia 1-0, clinching the outright title.
  • Volleyball beat Brown 3-1 in Providence, R.I., after falling to Yale last night.
  • The Mac 'n' cheese at the homecoming lunch event on College Green was quite tasty.
  • Men's basketball scrimmaged Canadian Carleton University at the Palestra. The Quakers pulled out a 74-72 win, as Zack Rosen sunk two free throws with 0.3 seconds left to seal the game. Tyler Bernardini was deadly from three, scoring 21 points (7-for-8). Rosen and sophomore Fran Dougherty were also in double digits.
    • Of the freshmen, Cam Crocker and Simeon Esprit both made some nice plays on offense. The team's defense, however, needs much work. Carleton frequently worked the ball inside and kicked it back out to open guards who basically had free rein from the outside. And they took advantage.
    • Eight players did not make it into the game. Seniors Rob Belcore, Larry Loughery and Mike Howlett all sat out, and 5th-year senior Zack Gordon was absent. Sophomore Miles Cartwright did not play, nor did Steve Rennard. Freshmen Greg Louis and Henry Brooks both sat as well.
    • The Palestra video board looks great. Except it spelled Zack Rosen's name "Zach," which is wrong.

Date set for NBA star-studded expo at Palestra

pg2_a_palestra_300 espnThe news that sounded almost too good to be true is now official — well, sort of. Rahim Thompson, founder of the Philly-based "The Chosen League," has been tweeting away all kinds of info about a Team Philly-Team Baltimore exhibition at Penn's own Palestra. According to Thompson's twitter handle, @RTchosenleague, the game will be held Sunday, September 25th at 6 p.m. Tickets will go on sale beginning next Tuesday and will be sold at the Palestra box office and online (though I'm not sure what that site would be). Tix in Section 100 will be sold for $50, while those in Section 200 will be sold for $35 (also no word on whether there will be any tickets reserved for Penn students, though that is an important thing Penn AD Steve Bilsky has been trying to accomplish).

And now, drumroll...the players, according to Thompson, who, by the look of his feed, is probably one of the event's planners:

Team Baltimore: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies), Gary Neal (San Antonio Spurs), Eric Bledsoe (L.A. Clippers), Donte Greene (Sacramento Kings) and "more surprise guests" (fingers-crossed for Kevin Durant).

Team Philly: Hakim Warrick (Phoenix Suns), Lou Williams (Philadelphia 76ers), Kyle Lowry (Houston Rockets), John Salmons (Sacramento Kings), Jason Thompson (Sacramento Kings), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets), Wayne Ellington (Minnesota T'Wolves), former NBA player Ronald "Flip" Murray, and Philly streetball legend of And1 Mixtape fame, "A.O."

Whew. This should be quite a game.

Do you remember: Zack Rosen’s 30 point performance

It seems like we just can't get enough of last night's game. Noah, Jennifer and Kevin pretty much covered everything, but I want to take a look back and compare Zack Rosen's performance with the first time he scored 30. Do you remember?

It was almost a year ago (January 3), and the Quakers lost to Lafayette, 77-62 — their tenth straight. And the final score was not the only difference between the two performances.

Aside from Rosen's career high, Jack Eggleston also notched a then-career high 19 points and 11 rebounds. But other than that, the duo didn't get much help. Darren Smith scored eight, and Conor Turley and Danny Monckton scored three and two, respectively. That's it. Rob Belcore played 35 minutes and failed to put any points on the board, though he did grab eight rebounds (Penn out-rebounded the Leopards, 37-31).

While the Quakers were handily outscored off the bench by both opponents (22-2 by Lafayette and 20-2 by Delaware), that didn't matter so much last night. Instead of Rosen carrying his team, he led it. Miles Cartwright scored 20, Conor Turley posted 14 and Eggleston had eight points and 10 rebounds.

In the words of Cartwright:

[Rosen's] our leader, and when he can get it going, we want to be there to support him any way we can. That’s what I was trying to do today, just trying to play off of him. And once he got it going, I think it lifted all of our play up.

Penn vs. Delaware 2nd half Game Notes

After dividing my time between watching the second half of last night's Penn-Delaware game and the Knicks-Thunder game, I wanted to follow up on Noah's post with some other game notes.

First off, since I only watched the second half, I did not witness Penn's poor shooting – 10-for-29 from the field — in the opening stanza. However, I did get to see Zack Rosen put the team on his back during what turned out to be an amazing second half for the junior point guard. Rosen scored 26 of Penn's 52 points after halftime and showed off his whole offensive repertoire — step-backs, three-pointers and a number of double-clutched layups.

Some things I noticed:

1) Rosen's confidence.

Just wow. After shooting 1-for-7 in the first half, Rosen apparently just flipped a switch and turned it up offensively in the second period without regard to his poor shooting in the opening frame. He hit 7-for-11 from the field after halftime, but more importantly, he shot 9-for-12 from the charity stripe (11-for-15 on the game — could have eclipsed his career-high if he were even better from the line, but that's just nitpicking).

To anyone who was watching the first half: Did Rosen show this same aggressiveness in the first half and the shots were just not falling, or did it seem like he made a conscious effort to take it to the cup? Because from what I saw, it looked like Rosen and the Penn coaching staff quickly determined that, um... NOBODY on Delaware could stop him.

Anyway, I remember watching one sequence when he was around the corner three-point line and all he did was give a jab step to his left and dribbled hard baseline (leaving his defender in the dust) until he was at the rim —  I believe he drew a foul there, maybe even an And1. He also was able to take his man off the dribble at the top of the key with one of his go-to moves, a spin move, followed by another spin move if necessary, and he seemed like he could get to the rim anytime he wanted. What's interesting to note is that Rosen actually seems to slow up once he gets to the rim (usually by contorting his body or doing a double-clutch) which isn't always great because his shots often get blocked, but it certainly can be effective: it can allow the defenders to catch up and inevitably foul him. But whatever he did, it worked, and Penn seemed content to ride it out to a victory.

2) Eggleston's intangibles

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Game 9- Delaware: The Good, Bad & Ugly

The Quakers played probably their best game of the season last night, beating Delaware on the road and scoring a season-high 78 points. As always, the full game recap is here. I’m taking over for Cal on this one, since he was airborne for the game. My thoughts:

The good: There are too many things I could put here, but it’s best summarized by Penn’s 52-point explosion in the second stanza. Zack Rosen scored half of those with a ridiculous second-half stat line (7-for-11, 3-for-4 3pt, 9-12 FT) and tied his career high with 30 points. Honorable mentions: Miles Cartwright’s first start; Penn committing just four turnovers; Jack Eggleston scoring his 1,000th point; Mike Howlett returning; two consecutive decisive road wins.

The Bad: For all their offensive prowess, the Quakers notched just six assists in the game. It was a lot of one-man shows and not a lot of ball movement and teamwork. But it’s been a while since they could win that way, so you can’t really complain. Dishonorable mention: The referees, who called 45 fouls in the game (28 on the Blue Hens), many of which were pretty questionable. To be fair, eight of those came in the final two minutes when Penn already had a double-digit lead.

The Ugly: Tyler Bernardini’s facemask. One of the players told me afterwards that Bernardini caught a nasty elbow to the nose in practice this week. Let’s hope it’s not affecting his vision, because he can’t afford another reason to keep shooting so poorly (0-3 3pt Wednesday). Not quite as ugly: Rob Belcore sporting some sunglasses during warmups. We know he likes to roll with some funky styles (read: frohawk), but indoor shades are only for poker tables. We’ll give him be the benefit of the doubt and assume he had a good reason.

Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston out for season

The Quakers now have one less thing to worry about for Wednesday night's showdown against No. 12 Villanova.

Freshman phenom and McDonald's All-American JayVaughn Pinkston was suspended by the university for the spring semester and is off the Wildcats' lineup for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN. Last month, the frosh was charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment at an off-campus apartment. While the incident occurred before Pinkston saw any game-time action, the power forward was "expected to contribute immediately." Pinkston, who hasn't played yet this season, will likely return to Villanova in June as a redshirt freshman.

What does this mean for the Quakers? They couldn't take advantage of a similar situation in this season's loss to Drexel, despite the suspension of Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip, who are facing charges from a summer robbery incident. Can the Red and Blue take advantage Wednesday?