M. Hoops picks up fourth commitment

As the early signing period comes to a close, Penn picked up its fourth commitment in the Class of 2013 in Dylan Jones.

Jones, the son of former NFL defensive end Sean Jones, is a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward from Houston. He committed to Pepperdine at the end of August, but shortly reopened his recruiting and announced his decision Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

In his second recruiting period, he chose Penn over Tulsa, Sam Houston and Holy Cross. He also initially had offers from Columbia and Rice. ESPN wrote that one of his strengths is rebounding, which the Quakers will benefit from greatly. He needs to bulk up, however, and "extend his shooting range," according to ESPN. He is ranked No. 29 in the state.

Penn hoops picks up its first commit

On the same day Penn basketball announced its captains (Miles Cartwright, Fran Dougherty and Dau Jok), FOX Sports's Josh Gershon is reporting that the men's basketball team picked up its first commit of the 2013 class in center Dave Winfield II. 

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound center from southern California is a student at Harvard-Westlake in North Hollywood. His father, Dave Winfield, is a hall-of-fame baseball outfielder who played in the MLB for 23 seasons. He went to the All-Stars 12 straight times from 1977-1988 as a San Diego Padre and New York Yankee.

Here's a quick 30-minute YouTube clip of Winfield at Harvard-Westlake (#35). Link if video embed doesn't work.

This one is 51 minutes if you have more time — 

W. Hoops Lands Long Island Forward

The New York Post has reported that Sade Gibbons, a rising senior at Long Island Lutheran High School, has verbally committed to play women’s basketball at Penn.

The 6-foot-1 forward chose Penn over Delaware, Davidson, Fairfield and Manhattan.

Gibbons helped the Crusaders win a state Federation Class B title two years ago and reach the finals last season. Gibbons played in 20 of the 23 games for LuHi last season.

Gibbons will be an interesting addition to the Quakers. The Post reports that though she is naturally right-handed, she goes to the hoop as a lefty.

After a 13-15 season last year, the strength of Penn's past two recruiting classes has been one of the hallmarks of coach Mike McLaughlin's tenure thus far. Gibbons will now be an addition to that legacy.

St. Rita’s Max Kurucar commits to Penn

We've known since Sept. 27 that St. Rita of Cascia's Tony Hicks would be playing for Jerome Allen next year. But now, we also know he will be joined by a classmate who intends to play for Al Bagnoli.

Max Kurucar, a 6-foot, 165-pound defensive back and punter, was one of the best players for the Mustangs' football team while recording six interceptions and 29 tackles last season.

He was a recipient of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and was named to the 2011 first team All-Conference in the Chicago Catholic League in both positions.

“The coaches are a lot fun,” Kurucar told the Southtown Star, a subsidiary of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s a nice campus. You can see the Philadelphia skyline from campus. It’s everything I was looking for. I’m excited for the challenges. It felt like the place for me.”


Penn football adds linebacker to class of 2016

Senior Lukas Nossem of Munster High School in Munster, Ind, has committed to play football for the Quakers.

Nossem was a first team All-State linebacker and a two-time all-Northwest Crossroads Conference player.

He will study finance at Wharton.

“Penn was a perfect fit,” Nossem said in a release. “I love the location, atmosphere, and tradition. I’m looking forward to the combination of academic and athletic challenges.”

Check out some highlights of the future member of the Red and Blue, where he shows his versatility, playing tight end, fullback, special teams and linebacker:

More good stuff from Penn basketball recruit Jamal Lewis

Perhaps I'm only posting this because Penn basketball recruit Jamal Lewis scored 20 points in a win over Georgetown Day School, my roommates alma mater.

Maybe, but this Washington Post article on Lewis' most recent game has some more good press and interesting insight about the recruit, who is in his final year at Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C.

For example: we've known that he would be coming in to likely play point guard for the Red and Blue (though Rob Belcore can attest, that doesn't always work out). However, according to the Post, Lewis often plays forward — even center — at Sidwell.

And this:

Lewis plans to play point guard at Penn, but his versatility was attractive to college recruiters. Other colleges with more prominent basketball programs tried to recruit him, but Lewis had his mind set on the Ivy League school.

“I knew that whatever [scholarship offers] that would have come after summer, I would have been their second or third choice,” he said. “I was Penn’s first choice from the start.”

In the win over Georgetown Day, he was 8-for-10 with 11 rebounds, three assits and two blocks.

Penn football grabs a tight end

After taking an official visit to Penn last weekend, class of 2012 tight end Ryan Kelly committed to the Quakers.

Kelly, who stands at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, chose the Red and Blue over Brown, Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell, as well as Lehigh, Davidson and Bucknell. Though the senior could stand to add a few more pounds — Penn's TEs tend to weigh around 240 pounds, and All-Ivy Luke Nawrocki comes in at 250 pounds. But his height certainly fits well with tight ends coach Mark Fabish's group.

The Harriton High School (located in Bryn Mawr) star will graduate with his team's record for career reception, touchdown receptions (19) and yards.

Kelly's family has come a long way since his grandfather's days of being a trash man. "My grandfather was a trash man, and my family has gone from being a trash man to an Ivy Leaguer," Kelly told the Bryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch. "When my father told me that, I never thought of things that way. It’s where the roots of hard work came from, first my grandfather and now my father, and now me."

Hoops recruit Julian Harrell talks to ESPNLA.com about choosing Penn

Quakers recruit and Southern California native Julian Harrell spoke with ESPNLA.com about the reasons he chose Penn — one of which was his relationship with Miles Cartwright, whom Harrell said he calls his "older brother." Harrell currently plays for Cartwright's alma mater, Loyola High School, in Los Angeles.

The 6-foot-5 guard committed to Penn in October, and drew interest form top programs like Stanford, California, Duquesne and Boston College, among others, but ultimately decided upon Penn. "I have a really good relationship with the coaching staff, the history at the Palestra — it just felt like a really good fit for me," Harrell said.

Basketball recruits Jamal Lewis, Tony Hicks face off in tournament

It was a serendipitous but fun matchup in Washington, D.C., last night as Sidwell Friends' (D.C.) point guard Jamal Lewis played against Tony Hicks of St. Rita's (Chicago) in the opening round of the Gonzaga DC Classic. The two seniors will be teammates next year on the Penn basketball team.

The Sidwell Quakers came away with a 63-46 win, as Lewis scored 17 on 6-for-14 shooting, 0-for-3 from deep. Hicks led St. Rita's with 16 points (he hit four 3-pointers on the night). Sidwell recovered from an early 18-7 hole, but built a 14-point lead by halftime and never looked back.

While Lewis got the win, Hicks is getting a little more attention. Last night, ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep tweeted this:

And CSNChicago.com published a solid feature on Hicks yesterday, asking whether he is Illinois' most underrated player:

"He is one of the most underrated players in the state," [coach Gary] DeCesare said. "He is a hard worker. He has improved every year. He is as good as anybody in the state. His work ethic separates him from other players."

The quote is from his coach, so take it for what it's worth. The article also talks a little about his recruitment to Penn:

Penn was impressed. They recruited Hicks harder than anyone else. In the end, he chose Penn over Loyola, South Florida, Tennessee, Dayton, Ohio, George Mason and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


"They showed me they really wanted me," Hicks said. "I was hesitant at first because I felt it would be too learny and book-smart. But they were down-to-earth and genuine, cool people. They showed up at all my games and showed they really wanted me."

Basketball recruit Tony Hicks drops 38 in season opener

High school hoops is underway across the nation, and while the four Penn commits don't necessarily have college coaches to impress anymore, they're still putting in some work. Two future Quakers tipped off their senior seasons last night:

  • Tony Hicks, a guard out of St. Rita's in Chicago, scored an insane 38 points in his season opener last night, as St. Rita's beat Lake Forest Academy 79-61.
  • Julian Harrell and Loyola also won their season opener 81-42, as Harrell scored 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He also had four assists and six steals.
  • Big man Darian Nelson-Henry doesn't kick off his season until Friday, and point guard Jamal Lewis of Sidwell Friends plays tonight. Interestingly, Lewis will face Hicks and St. Rita's at the Gonzaga DC Classic in Washington on Dec. 9.