Roundtable: Who should be Penn’s starting point guard in 2013-14?

In this week’s roundtable discussion, our editors ask who should be Penn basketball’s starting point guard in 2013-14:

Associate Sports Editor Steven Tydings: This one is tough. While Tony Bagtas told me he is going to “run the team” next year, I think this is a two-man race between Miles Cartwright and Tony Hicks. When Cartwright was running the point effectively, the team played some of its best basketball, and I’d have to think that coach Allen will give the soon-to-be senior the first opportunity to win the job.

That being said, Penn’s best player in the second half of the season was clearly Tony Hicks. His performances at Cornell and at home against Harvard showed he has the potential to be one of the next great point guards in Penn history. But at the same time, I don’t think he should be the point guard to start the year. Cartwright should be given the chance at point guard to start the year. He may not stick. And that’s why it’s important that Hicks is there.

Former Sports Editor Mike Wisniewski: Jerome Allen needs to put the guy there who runs the offense best. My guess is that guy will end up being Miles, at least in the beginning of the year. But if they start the Ivy season and begin losing games, and at that point it becomes clear to the team (because it will probably already be clear to everyone else) that Penn will not win the Ivy League, it will be time to once again look to the future, something Miles will not be a part of.

In that situation, why not give Hicks or Bagtas the bulk of the work to better develop the team for 2014-15? Realistically, Penn won’t be in it next year, but with the young crop of guys they have — if developed properly — they could be in contention the year after next.

Associate Sports Editor John Phillips: I think we’re forgetting about Cam Crocker, who started every game going down the stretch at the point. He had the highest assist to turnover ratio on the team and showed the true passing skills that Cartwright and Hicks don’t naturally have.

But the reason that he should run point over Cartwright or Hicks is really due to what Cartwright and Hicks can do when they are not running the point.

Hicks thrived when he moved without the ball, and Cartwright performed better during the season when he could ease into a contest. When he has the ball in his hands from the opening tip, he tries to do things too quickly. What started to work as the season progressed is that three-guard lineup, with Cartwright, Crocker and Hicks all out on the floor at once. If Cartwright started heating up, then he would start taking the ball up as the game went along.

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The Roundtable: What Harvard’s NCAA win means for the Ivy League

Courtesy of espn.go.comSophomore All-Ivy first-team guard Wesley Saunders led the conference in scoring at 16.5 points per game.

Courtesy of espn.go.com
Sophomore All-Ivy first-team guard Wesley Saunders led the conference in scoring at 16.5 points per game.

Update: Coach Jerome Allen declined comment on Harvard's NCAA upset through Athletic Communications Director Mike Mahoney Monday.

In this edition of The Roundtable, six of our editors past and present ask what Harvard's win means for the Ancient Eight heading into the 2013-14 season, plain and simple:

Former Sports Editor Mike Wisniewski: Harvard's win is obviously good for the league. Why wouldn't it be? It's not like they ran away with the title -- the competition across the board was incredible this year, even though it was pretty certain Harvard or Princeton would end up winning it. It's a shame -- for the league, that is -- that the Crimson couldn't put in a more respectable performance against Arizona, but knocking off New Mexico was impressive enough. That would have been the upset of the tournament had Florida Gulf Coast not stolen their thunder.

Associate Sports Editor Steven Tydings: It is beneficial to the Ivy League in the sense of money since the league will get money from the victory. But it also hurts Penn in terms of image. You have a program that just six years ago was the class of the conference and getting the better players like Ibby Jaaber, Mark Zoller, Zack Rosen, etc., but is now 9-22, and hasn't won a title in six years. Now Harvard appears to be light years ahead, as they not only win a tournament game but also have a strong recruiting class and two players (likely cheaters) returning to make next year's team the favorite to run away with the conference, making it likely that Miller's final recruiting class with Cartwright/Dougherty will go without a title and leave coach Allen with little to nothing on his resume and a team full of just his players in 2014-15, for better or worse. Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

Three Up Three DownComing off back-to-back wins against Harvard last Saturday and at Brown last night, the Quakers go for their third consecutive conference victory tonight when they visit Yale. Who's up and who's down as we head into Yale?

Three Up-

Tony Hicks: The freshman guard has been outstanding of late, capturing two consecutive Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards. Hicks averaged 23.8 points per game in the four contests leading up to last night's matchup against Brown. While the Bears were able to limit Hicks to only five points, on 1-for-9 shooting no less, expect Hicks to bounce back nicely tonight against the Bulldogs. The freshman scored 11 points in the first meeting between Penn and Yale on Feb. 8. If Hicks wants to pick up his masterful play against the Ivy League, he will need to limit his turnovers and look for opportunities to get easy points at the free throw line.

Upsets: While the Ivy season developed as most expected it to in January and February, the madness of March has hit the Ancient Eight. On back-to-back weekends, the two teams leading the pack, Harvard and Princeton, were upset by Penn and Yale, respectively. Though the Quakers and Bulldogs have both been eliminated from contention for the Ivy League crown, both have stepped up lately to salvage big wins for their programs and play spoiler. Even though tonight's game may seem like a routine conference matchup, if the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.

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Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

Three Up Three DownThe past week has been full of ups and downs for the Quakers - an upset win over Columbia to a disappointing defeat to Cornell to the reemergence of Miles Cartwright to the likely season-ending injury to Fran Doughterty. Here are some predictions for the ups and downs likely to happen when Penn takes on the Yale Bulldogs on Friday at the Palestra:

Three Up-

Jerome Allen: If there was ever a time for coach Allen to step up, this weekend is it. Allen has been criticized often this season for his team’s lack of discipline and costly mistakes, but he has the chance to prove his doubters wrong if he can pull off a victory or two this weekend without Fran Dougherty and Steve Rennard.

Patrick Lucas-Perry: Over the season, the diminutive sophomore guard has slowly but surely made his claim to be a more integral piece in coach Allen’s plans. The Penn offense needs a spark from somewhere, which is exactly what PLP can provide. His fantastic three-point shooting cannot be ignored, and PLP should at the very least be the Quakers’ first option off the bench.

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This Week on 33rd Street: Feb. 8

On its opening weekend of Ivy League play, the Penn basketball team pulled off a big win against Columbia before falling to lowly Cornell the following night, losing Fran Dougherty for the season in the process. Heading into this weekend's tilt, against Yale and Brown at the Palestra, the Red and Blue will also be without Steve Rennard. Senior Sports Editor Mike Tony and Sports Editor Ian Wenik give you their lastest take on the state of the Quakers:

This Week on 33rd Street: Feb. 8 from dailypenn on Vimeo.

Game 20: Cornell — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & UglyJust a night after securing its first conference win of the season, Penn took Cornell down to the wire at the Palestra before falling in anticlimactic fashion. With 2.7 seconds remaining, the Quakers were set to inbound the ball from the baseline, down 71-69. But they never got a chance at a last shot, as they suffered a five-second violation call just as Cameron Crocker inbounded to Darien Nelson-Henry underneath the basket, and the Big Red walked away with a 71-69 victory. With the loss, Penn sinks to 4-16 and 1-2 in Ivy League play.

THE GOOD: Three-point shooting gives Penn a chance to win.
Despite entering the game dead-last among the Ancient Eight in three-point field goal percentage, the Red and Blue lit Cornell up for 12 threes and shot exactly 50 percent from distance. It's become clear that giving minutes to Dau Jok and Patrick Lucas-Perry adds marksman accuracy to Penn's offense and complements Nelson-Henry's play inside. The two sophomore guards shot a combined 7-for-12 from the field, and Lucas-Perry led the Quakers in scoring with 14 points.

THE BAD: No inbound, no overtime.
The bad of this really starts before Penn even has a chance to inbound the ball. After Cornell scores with 10.5 seconds left to make the score 71-69, Cartwright drives the ball up the floor and takes the ball left, driving toward the basket. Just as he goes into the air for a leaning, left-handed layup, Jerome Allen calls timeout, leaving the Red and Blue just 2.7 seconds left. Why Allen didn't call timeout as soon as Cartwright crossed half-court is truly a mystery. Then, the play Allen draws up is fruitless, and Crocker fails to get the ball in. The Quakers' coaching staff needs to be better in the clutch for Penn to have a chance down the stretch.

THE UGLY: Fran the Man goes down again.
After missing eight games due to mononucleosis, Fran Dougherty went down with some sort of upper body injury in his second appearance since returning. He was later spotted wearing a sling with tape reaching from his upper arm to his wrist. No word on whether the junior forward will miss any time, but his absence would be a serious blow to Penn's chances to make a run in the Ivy League.

Three Up, Three Down: Cornell Edition

Three Up Three DownWith the Quakers coming off an upset win over Columbia to open their first Ivy weekend of the season, we take a look at who's hot–and who's not–as the Big Red come to town.

Three Up-

Miles Cartwright- The junior captain stepped up as a leader when the Red and Blue needed him the most Friday, pouring in eight points in the game's final two minutes to ensure that a nine-point second half lead wouldn't go to waste. Additionally, Cartwright was able to minimize his turnovers, a positive trend that he'll need to keep up against a Cornell team that averages seven steals a game.

Steve Rennard- After seemingly being left for dead, the junior was able to revitalize his season against Columbia. In 29 minutes of action, Rennard was able to score seven points on 2-4 shooting, including his first made three-pointer since a win over NJIT on Jan. 17th. If Rennard can maybe, just maybe, recapture his shooting touch from last year, the Quakers will only benefit from having yet another outside scoring threat.

Henry Brooks- Much like Rennard, Brooks was able to reverse an early-season bad habit on Friday night. In 28 minutes of action, the sophomore forward managed to keep himself out of foul trouble against Columbia's rangy big men, hearing only two calls against him on the night. Additionally, he showed some nice range in going 2-for-4 from the field, including one shot that was just inside the three-point line.

Three Down-

Patrick Lucas Perry's minutes, again- Where was he? If people thought that PLP had turned the corner after his sterling performance against Temple, they were wrong. Lucas-Perry received 15 minutes of playing time, but it seemed like far less, as he never seemed to establish much of a presence for himself on the court. The sophomore wound up going 0-for-2 from the field, and only managed to pick up a single rebound.

Every freshman not named Darien Nelson-Henry- It was a rough night for most of the Quakers' youngsters. Jamal Lewis tallied one assist, two turnovers, and a whopping three fouls in only seven minutes of action, earning him a comfortable spot on the bench. Tony Hicks scored eight points, but went 1-for-5 from the field. And, in keeping with tradition, Julian Harrell never even had a chance to take his warm-ups off.

The rims in the Palestra whenever Fran Dougherty shoots- Playing for the first time in a month following a bout with mononucleosis, the dynamic junior wound up going 1-for-5 from the field in 18 minutes off the bench, but his stat sheet could have looked a lot better. Dougherty had shot after shot take the exact wrong bounce at the exact wrong time, spoiling some sharp inside post and isolation moves by the athletic forward.

Over/Under – Cornell Edition

OverUnder10 points for Fran Dougherty – UNDER

Fran won’t see significantly more minutes just a day after returning to the floor, which is bad news for his point totals. Doc will need to get into a rhythm as the season goes on, but he’ll also have to do it, at least for now, in limited minutes. He looked off, with a lot of the shots that were falling consistently for him in the early part of the season just rimming out on Friday.

10 minutes for Jamal Lewis – UNDER

I’m thinking with my heart more than my head here, because unless you turn in a performance like Lewis did on Friday (two turnovers, three personal fouls) in the seven minutes of playing time that he received against the Lions, it’s hard not to get at least 10 minutes on the floor when you’re the team’s starting point guard.

But Tony Hicks was passing rather effectively last night, even though some opportunities didn’t get converted, and if Jerome Allen pulls Lewis out of the starting five, he won’t get 10 minutes on the court.

10 assists for the Quakers – OVER

Last night was pretty pathetic from a passing perspective, as the Quakers only had six assists the entire night. That won’t be good enough as they go into the rest of the Ivy schedule, and I think they can amend their issues.

Darien Nelson-Henry is getting better every game, and the better that he gets, the more attention that will be focused on him, thus allowing openings around the perimeter, and space for guards to drive and dish.

FIve offensive rebounds for the Quakers – OVER

Last night’s abysmal performance on the boards won’t be repeated again. While Fran is still finding his shooting touch, his timing on the defensive end last night wasn’t terrible, and it’s bound to improve going forward.

Five blocks combined for Dougherty and Nelson-Henry – Under

Last night, Fran and DNH both had monster blocks that really helped Penn maintain momentum going forward. The chances of that happening again this season are relatively low, which is a shame for fans. While DNH has surged on the offensive end of the floor, defensively he has struggled at times, so being able to see him rise up and almost throw one out of bounds should give fans hope, but their combined five blocks last night was a fluke more than anything.

Game 19: Columbia – The Good, The Bad & the Ugly

 

Good Bad & UglyTHE GOOD– Miles Cartwright's Late Poise

With everything on the line, the Quakers' captain stepped up when they needed him the most. After a Brian Barbour three tied the game and sucked the energy out of the Palestra, the junior coolly sank a jumper from the left elbow with 25.1 seconds left to give Penn a 58-56 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. In addition Cartwright went 4-for-4 from the line after the Lions attempted to turn the game into a foul-fest to eliminate any hope of a miraculous Columbia comeback. Cartwright went a perfect 10-for-10 from the line on the night, scoring a game high 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting.

THE BAD– Darien Nelson-Henry's interior defense

Though the stat sheet may show four blocks for DNH on the night, it doesn't even begin to tell the story of the freshman's night. Going against 6-foot-9 senior Mark Cisco, Nelson-Henry got consistently torched in the second half, surrendering 12 points to the Lion on 5-for-6 shooting. It seemed as if Nelson-Henry was never able to locate the Columbia leader in space, frequently leaving-him wide open for easy baseline jump shots. Cisco wound up being the game's most efficient scorer, helping the Lions claw their way back from a nine-point second half deficit in a game that the Quakers could have put to bed early.

THE UGLY– Columbia's three-point shooting

The Lions were dreadful from distance all night long, closing out the game with a woeful 3-for-17 performance. Though Brian Barbour was able to cause some late fireworks with his game-tying trey, it was the only long-distance shot that he was able to convert, as the senior finished 1-for-5 on the night, a huge step down from his typical standards. Barbour didn't receive much support from his teammates, as freshman Grant Mullins went 1-for-7, junior Alex Rosenberg went 1-for-3 and freshman Maodo Lo went 0-for-2. If Columbia had been able to get its outside scoring at all, perhaps they would have escaped from the Palestra with a win.

 

 

30 Seconds with … Fran Dougherty

In anticipation of Fran Dougherty's return to the Penn lineup after an eight-game absence due to mononucleosis, we bring you 30 seconds with the Franimal in a rapid-fire discussion of yachts, nicknames, hypothetical biopics and more.

Do you play a musical instrument?
Yes, I do.

What instrument?
Guitar.

You've been give a yacht. What will you name it?
The Voyager.

Favorite class you've taken at Penn?
Environmental case studies.

If you could win any award, what would it be?
Probably the Nobel Peace Prize.

Best nickname you've ever been given?
I'd have to say "Fat Fran" from Tyler Bernardini.

If a biographical film was made about your life, who would you want to play the role of you?
I'd want Jim Carrey.