Penn track gets big commitment from NJ discus thrower



Last year we at DP Sports were all blown away by the dominance of freshman high-jumper Maalik Reynolds. In his first year of collegiate competition he shattered Penn records and won the coveted gold watch at Penn Relays.

It looks like men's coach Charlie Powell may have made another big splash in the recruiting department, getting a commitment from Sam Mattis, a discus thrower from East Brunswick, N.J.


"I want to get into finance, so when I got accepted into the Wharton School of Business that sealed the deal for me at Penn,'' said Mattis. ``You can only throw the discus for so long. You have to find something you are passionate about doing in your life, and business is something I have a passion for."

Mattis was the New Balance national champion in discus last spring, and owns the NJ State records for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. This year he's aiming higher.

"Hopefully I can throw it a lot further than the state record this season,'' said Mattis. "That's my goal and I'm working hard every day to throw it as far as I can.''

It wouldn't be a recruiting story if we didn't have a youtube highlight, so here's Mattis setting the junior state record at 207 feet, 2 inches

NCAA announces major men’s basketball recruiting changes

Posting on a high schooler's facebook wall? Not okay. Sending them a private message? Go for it.

The NCAA today announced a set of changes to the recruiting guidelines that basketball coaches must follow when courting high school prospects. The rule changes essentially opened up many restricted lines of communication — including social networks — for the basketball coaches. Now coaches will be able to "send unlimited phone calls and text messages to men’s basketball recruits. The deregulation extends to social media, starting June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year," according to the NCAA's release.

Private messages on social media sites are also now allowed, while public ones will be banned so that recruiting efforts remain a private matter for institutions.

Outside of communication, the NCAA will once again allow coaches to recruit players for two weeekends in April at non-scholastic events, limiting summer recruiting to three four-day July periods.

@Pennbasketball was happy to see the NCAA make its changes:

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Other changes enacted, according to the NCAA website, include:

  • A start date for official visits beginning January 1 of the junior year, with schools able to pay travel expenses for the prospect and a parent/guardian.
  • Permitting some contact at a prospect’s educational institution during the junior year in conjunction with an evaluation, with some restrictions and requirements.
  • The July period will be limited to three four-day periods beginning Wednesday at 5 p.m. and ending Sunday at 5 p.m.
  • The April period will be limited to certified events that begin after 6 p.m. on Friday and end before 4 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Permitting staged, on-campus evaluations in conjunction with official visits, though further details will be considered.

Penn hoops feeders in ESPN national rankings



Youth will be key for Penn men's basketball this year. The team has six seniors (including a few super seniors) but no juniors on the underclassmen-heavy roster. We've seen some promise out of the sophomore class, but there are still many unknowns — the entire freshman class being the biggest.

Jack Eggleston wrote earlier this week about the hope inherent in preseason. Well here's another reason to be a little more hopeful: Penn's roster includes players from three of ESPN's top 50 preseason high-school programs.

Henry Brooks: No. 2, Miller Grove (Ga.): The freshmen is definitely high on the unknown list after tearing his ACL last year. But his pedigree is also high, coming out of the second-best ranked high school program in the country. The Wolverines went 31-2 last season and with Brooks' leadership emerged as a "national powerhouse," as ESPN called them.

Miles Cartwright: No. 26, Loyola (Ca.): The guard is not an unknown. After Game 1 last year, Penn fans knew exactly what they were getting — a bonafide star for four years. If that bodes well for the future, so does that fact that his old teammate, Loyola senior Julian Harrell, will join him at Penn next year. The swingman and leader of Loyola's team committed to play for Penn earlier this month. ESPN notes that this is the school's highest preseason ranking since 1989-90.

Greg Louis: No. 49, Dwyer (Fla.): The big man could play big minutes for Penn in a frontcourt that needs as much help as it can get. He comes out of a program that is building some basketball cred in the football-dominated state of Florida. Dwyer won the Florida 5A title last year, when Louis was called the most important player on the team and the "Glue that holds Dwyer together," by a Palm Beach Post beat writer.

Chat with Julian Harrell, Penn hoops commit [UPDATED]

Update: Check out the full story that appeared in Wednesday's issue of the DP.

I got a chance to speak with both Julian Harrell and his AAU coach Gary Franklin about the 6-foot-5 swingman's decision to commit to Penn. Harrell joins Jamal Lewis, Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry as the latest additions to the recruiting class of 2012.

Here are some nuggets that didn't make the article in full.

Harrell on his decision to come to Penn (joining his longtime friend Miles Cartwright) and forego offers to Stanford, Duquesne, and St. Mary's, his other top schools:

Number one, I have a really good relationship with coach Allen. [Also] Miles Cartwright … is like a big brother to me, I've known him since I was five years old.

And I really like the city ... and I like the players on the team. I thought it was the overall best fit.

According to Coach Franklin, Harrell's strengths include his competitiveness, winning mentality, and ability to create off dribble penetration. Harrell's weakness, according to some, is his outside shooting. Coach Franklin said he saw improvement in that aspect of Harrell's game this summer and provided some good insight:

I think the big thing honestly first is just confidence.

There were some times where Julian would have maybe opportunities to step up and take the shot, and instead he would look to create and get to the basket where maybe that was the best shot available in terms of maybe forcing the drive.

Continue reading

VIDEO: Men’s hoops recruit Julian Harrell highlights

Take a look at the newest member of Penn basketball, Julian Harrell, in his highlight reel:

Also, just for fun, here's an interview he did with Penn sophomore Miles Cartwright's younger brother Parker. Harrell is a senior at the high school where Miles played and where Parker is a sophomore.

West coast guard Julian Harrell commits to Penn



The recruiting news keeps rolling in for the Quakers. Men's basketball picked up its third recruit in the last week with the verbal commitment of Julian Harrell, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Loyola High School in Los Angeles.

If that school sounds familiar, that's because Penn sophomore standout Miles Cartwright is an alum. The two played together during Cartwright's junior and senior years.'s Josh Gershon broke the news this afternoon on twitter.

"It was tough to choose the ivy league over the PAC-12, ACC, A-10, MWC, And WCC but I picked what me and my family thought would be best for my future," Harrell told "I have a great relationship with the coaches, I loved Philly, I really liked the team, and I think that I can contribute immediately.”

Harrell is ranked an 86 by ESPN, which describes him as having "a nice frame with long arms, but he isn't a high level athlete." The site's appraisal points to his high basketball IQ and excellent decision making on the floor. put Harrell as its #19 player in a summer Top-30 list for the state, and gave an extensive description of his game:

Harrell is an adept scorer who knows how to finish at the rim. Harrell loves taking his man off the dribble with the ball and thanks to his long arms and smooth touch is tough to stop at the basket. He can score at the basket with both hands and has an array of baby hooks and floaters that he uses pretty effectively. lists Harrell as having a bevy of offers: Air Force, Duquesne, Portland, San Diego, St. Louis, St. Mary's, Stanford and UTEP.

Harrell joins guards Jamal Lewis, and Tony Hicks, and forward Darian Nelson-Henry as commits for the class of 2012.

Geographically the coaching staff is assembling a very diverse roster, with representatives from Washington, DC., Chicago, LA, and Washington state. And though it is only October 1, Penn has already put together what looks to be a formidable class.

Coach: Jamal Lewis/UConn ‘blown out of proportion’

Last night The Buzz as well as a Connecticut recruiting outlet reported on a few tweets from Penn recruit Jamal Lewis indicating that national champion UConn had called his coach asking the point guard to reopen his recruiting.

"That’s getting blown out of proportion," says Eric Singletary, Lewis' coach at Sidwell Friends high school in Washington.

Here's the real deal:

Singletary says he received a call from Connecticut's Director of Basketball Administration, Karl Hobbs, offering congratulations on choosing Penn, not inquiring about recruiting. According to Singletary, Hobbs recruited Lewis when he was the head coach at George Washington. (He was fired in April 2011.)

Hobbs told Singletary that Lewis "was a player that UConn would take a look at," Singletary said, adding that it was meant more as a compliment to Lewis' game. "It wasn’t 'come on, come to UConn.'"

But is Lewis really a Big East caliber steal for Penn? Singletary has seen him play since age nine.

"It would be a stretch," he said. "I think the world of him, he’s going to do big things at Penn. He has a lot to prove up there."

Singletary affirmed that Lewis and his family are set on the Quakers. He said he believed the senior applied to Penn early decision.

"Once he made the commitment, that’s where he wanted he be. It’s a done deal on their part for the Lewis family."

UConn targeting Penn commit Jamal Lewis

Update: Lewis' high school coach Eric Singletary explains exactly what happened, and how the situation got "blown out of proportion."

A crazy recruiting week just got a little bit crazier. Earlier this week Penn 2012 commit Jamal Lewis, a point guard out of Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C. tweeted that UConn — yes, national champion UConn — called Lewis' coach to see if he would reopen his recruiting.

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lol is right. Looks like the Huskies are looking for a replacement for star Kemba Walker. Did Penn really scoop up a guard worthy of the Big East champions? It appears so.

It's also worth noting the Penn connection to Connecticut: Former Quakers coach Glen Miller is now a Huskies' assistant coach. You might remember seeing him on the bench during their incredible postseason run.

Right now you're probably in panic mode. There goes the heir to Zack Rosen. Well, not so fast. A follower of Lewis' asked if he would in fact reopen with the interest from the big dogs. His response? Nah.

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Those have to be the three greatest words Penn coach Jerome Allen has heard this week. And that includes the verbal commitments of Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry.

Center Darien Nelson-Henry commits to Penn [UPDATED]

Update: We spoke to Darien Thursday afternoon — see more from him in this DP article.

The Penn men's basketball recruiting class of 2012 received its third commitment Thursday — and second this week — in Darien Nelson-Henry, a 6-foot-10, 265-pound center out of Kirkland, Wash.

Scout's Dave Telep tweeted the news today, noting that Washington State and Boise State were both "in the mix." Nelson-Henry is rated an 88 by ESPN, which rates him as one of top post players in the state of Washington.

While a very different build than Penn target Mike Hall (who committed to Harvard earlier this week), Nelson-Henry will add much-needed size to Penn's frontcourt.

Here's some video of the big-man in action, from Hoopscout, which describes him as having soft hands and running the floor well for a player of his size:

Penn recruit Mike Hall commits to Harvard

On the same day that Penn picked up its second recruit from the Class of 2012, a targeted big man gave a verbal commitment to Ivy rival Harvard. Mike Hall, a 6-foot-10 forward from Woodward Academy in Atlanta, picked the Crimson over high-major programs such as Florida State, California, Mississippi State, as well as Penn, according to CBS Sports.

Hall told the Havard Crimson that Penn was his third choice, behind runner-up George Mason.

The Buzz spoke with Hall last month, and the senior listed the Quakers among his top five choices, along with the Crimson, Virginia Tech and George Mason. He said that both Penn coach Jerome Allen and Harvard's Tommy Amaker had been recruiting him hard. He also told the Buzz he planned to make his decision in early November.

Hall would have added much-needed size to Penn's roster. He's the latest in a string of high-caliber recruits who have been targeted by both Penn and Harvard, as the two teams looked primed to compete for Ivy titles for the foreseeable future.

Harvard reportedly had a massive recruiting weekend, with eight prospects visiting their campus this past weekend.

Here's what the twitterverse had to say about his commitment:

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