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
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

Cartwright gets second-team All-Ivy, Hicks gets honorable mention

Now that the 2012-13 Ivy slate is history, it's time for the honors to start rolling in.

Penn was represented by two players in the All-Ivy teams that the Ivy League announced today - Miles Cartwright and Tony Hicks.

Cartwright finished the season ranked fifth among Ivy players with 13.5 points per game. His 4.1 assists per game were good for second in Ivy play as well. The junior guard also ranked ninth in minutes per game in Ivy play at 34.0. Cartwright was one of six players to earn a second-team All-Ivy selection.

Hicks, meanwhile, earned one of five honorable mentions. The freshman guard averaged 15.3 points per contest in Ivy play - good for third in the conference. Hicks also ranked in the top 10 in Ivy games in free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage.

Meanwhile, Princeton’s senior forward Ian Hummer was the coaches’ selection as the Ivy League Player of the Year, and Harvard freshman guard Siyani Chambers was a unanimous selection as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

This season marks the first time since 2008-09 that no Penn player was named first-team All-Ivy after Zack Rosen earned that honor for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.


Behind Enemy Lines: Temple’s Fran Dunphy

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Alvin Loke | DP File Photo

The Quakers (3-14, 0-3 Big 5) will be taking on Temple (12-5, 1-0) Wednesday night in their final Big 5 contest of the season. Though this is Fran Dunphy’s seventh year as coach of Penn's Big 5 foe, this will be the first time he takes on former player Ira Bowman, who has latched onto fellow Dunphy alum Jerome Allen as an assistant coach. Both squads have faced a lot of a changes in the past year, but the Owls have continued to dominate. I spoke with Temple coach Fran Dunphy about this familiar matchup and what his plans are heading into this local game.

After your first year as coach of Penn, you lost your top three scorers and struggled the next year.  Do you think the situation faced by Coach Allen has any parallels to what you inherited when you took the Penn job in 1989?

Dunphy: I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but as I go down Penn’s roster and I see the young guys that they have and the hope for the future that they have, I think Jerome and everybody at Penn should feel very encouraged. I think that they are on their way to building a terrific basketball program and I think the future is very bright.

After 7 years, do you still get any special feeling when you play Penn?

Dunphy: You can’t be somewhere for as long as I was — and in this case the University of Pennsylvania — and not feel a special affinity for the place and the program and everything that it is about. Of course, then you add to it a guy that played for me and who I learned so much from as a person and as a player, so that’s a very special feeling for me. And then of course now you have on staff Ira Bowman, who also played for me. They were two great guys to coach and they have become two great friends as well.

I have tremendous memories of my days at Penn. I was the luckiest guy in America then and I am just as lucky now to have an opportunity to coach another team in the city of Philadelphia, so I feel very fortunate.

We just saw a sold-out Big 5 game at the Palestra between St. Joe's and Penn. Though now some of the games have moved to campus sites, do you ever wish that the Big 5 went back to playing all of the games there?

Dunphy: Well that’s certainly how I grew up and how it was when I was a player at La Salle for three years as well.  All of the games were in the Palestra, so that’s what college basketball in Philadelphia was all about. Certainly the Palestra was college basketball’s arena. But now, times have changed, and we have all had to adapt to it. We have a very nice arena on campus. For us to go back to the Palestra to play all of our Big 5 games would be difficult for our university and athletic department at this point. Yet, I think the purist in all of us appreciates everything that went on back in the day. Would it be great to go back and do that again? Sure it would, maybe on a one year occasion or something like that if we could interrupt things. A number of years ago we tried to have all six teams play in the Palestra on a given day as a celebration of sorts, but there were too many other complications or things that got in the way to allow that to happen again.

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Mano-a-Mano: Which Quakers can be clutch?

ManoAMano11-1In this week’s Mano-a-Mano, basketball writer John Phillips and Senior Sports Editor-elect Mike Tony debate who should have stepped up with the game on the line on Tuesday night against Lafayette.

John Phillips: This is a new year for Penn basketball. Zack Rosen isn’t coming in to take that last shot, to be the clutch player that the team needs. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about seniority, and more importantly, about closing experience.

Miles Cartwright is the leader of this team. The only other player an argument could be made for is Fran Dougherty, who wasn’t on the floor Tuesday night. Cartwright has been in tough games throughout his career, especially during last year’s Ivy League run, when every game was a must-win. He watched Rosen, and more importantly, he learned from him.

And while Penn coach Jerome Allen said last night that Tony Hicks made the right call by dishing the rock to a wide open Steve Rennard, if Cartwright drove that hard to the hole, he would have finished the job himself.

Mike Tony: Unfortunately, though, Cartwright’s experience in closing games this season hasn’t been acceptable. He literally fumbled a game-winning opportunity against Drexel and has only led the Quakers in scoring in five out of 14 games this season.

You dance with who brung you, and in this case, Allen was right to ride the lineup that brought Penn back from the dead against Lafayette. You say he would have finished the job if he had drove hard to the hole, but where has that killer instinct been? Not at Wagner, where he froze up in the closing seconds and had to heave up a desperation trey at the end of regulation that had no chance.

You’re right, this is a new year for Penn basketball. So for a team that can’t buy a win, you reward those who are at least getting you close to one. Against Lafayette, that was Darien Nelson-Henry and Dau Jok, not Cartwright.

JP: After the team’s loss to La Salle, it became clear (or clearer) that this team needs a player to step up, take care of the ball and make players better.

During the first half against Lafayette, that was Cartwright. He was attacking the hole with the veracity that he lacked early in the season. Sure, Nelson-Henry’s ability to run the pick and roll effectively can’t be denied, but it takes two to tango, and Cartwright was handling the Leopards in the same fashion that Tony Johnson was picking apart the Quakers on the other side of the floor.

If it had just been on gamewinning opportunity, then allowing Hicks to have that last chance is okay. But when you have two possessions under 35 seconds remaining and Hicks has already failed to convert the first, you have to consider giving the ball to Cartwright, who has clearly learned from his previous mistakes.

MT: This offense needs to be more aggressive, so it’s great that role players like Nelson-Henry and Hicks stepped up to take a combined 19 shots from the field, and most importantly, make 11 of them.

When your go-to guy only shoots six times from the field, someone else needs to pick it up, and that tandem did. Why go to the same player that has let you down multiple times this season with the game on the line when there are other hot hands to go to?

JP: Nelson-Henry cooled off as time went on, and though Hicks shot the ball well (who didn’t?), his decision-making instinct hasn’t been honed. Choosing to pass to Rennard, who was one of only three players who shot under 50 percent for the game, was not the right choice if, as you say, the offense needs to be more aggressive. Cartwright showed he knew when to attack and when to defer last night.

MT: Rennard was wide open in that situation; it’s hard to fault Hicks there for finding the open guy. Just go with what’s working when nothing else is. At that point, it was Hicks, Nelson-Henry, Jok and Louis who were working. Cartwright will have more opportunities to shine in late-game situations, but the future is now. It’s time to embrace it.

Verdict? Mike wins this one. The Quakers came into 2012-13 eager to embrace a new identity as an ensemble rather than the Zack Rosen Show. And it’s only as an ensemble that Penn will start winning games again.


Greatest Quakers of the Last 50 Years

Jack Scheuer over at Philahoops is choosing the five best players from each of the City 6 schools over the past 50 years as part of an ongoing feature, and now he's gotten to Penn. Here's what he came up with:

1. Corky Calhoun

2. Ron Haigler

3. Keven McDonald

4. Jerome Allen

5. Zack Rosen

Interesting to see Matt Maloney left off, and Quaker fans who only remember the last 20 years or so will also have a soft spot for Ugonna Onyekwe, Matt Langel and Mark Zoller. Those who can remember a little further back may consider Tony Price or even Stan Pawlak as well, not to mention Mr. Bilsky himself. Who are your top five Quakers of the past 50 years?


This Week on 33rd Street: Nov. 9, Part I

The 2012-13 Penn basketball season is finally upon us! Friday night, Penn opens for the second straight year against UMBC (see preview), but missing will be familiar faces like Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, in addition to a completely revamped coaching staff. How will the Quakers handle the change? Senior Sports Ed. Megan Soisson sits down with her co-editors Alyssa Kress and Mike Tony to discuss what awaits Penn over the weekend and the winter:

Rosen discusses new deal with Israeli pro team

I had the chance to speak with 2012 graduate Zack Rosen today, a day after he announced that he signed a contract with Israeli team Hapoel Holon. He's very excited about playing pro ball, but he was sure to clarify that his going to Israel was not a sign that he has given up his dream to play in the NBA.

"By no means am I surrendering," he said.

Rosen didn't want to play a waiting game, and he knew that was happening with NBA teams. So before it was too late, he signed a one-year deal with Hapoel Holon. Since it's just a one-year contract, ending when the season does in May, Rosen could then opt to return to the United States to continue pursuing his ultimate goal. He can attend mini-camps and play in summer leagues, just as he did this summer, and again make a decision based on the interest.

Rosen has been to Israel only once, but it was the experience of a lifetime as he participated in the Maccabi Games for the U.S. It was also enough to make him want to return. Since the summer after his freshman year at Penn, he's wanted to go back and play professionally. Both sides expressed interest before Rosen finally signed his deal.

When Rosen arrives in Israel — Holon is a suburb of Tel Aviv — he will begin training camp for a month and a half. He will also begin making Aliyah, a process which grants citizenship to Jews and will allow his team to sign another American player. But making Aliyah is also a religious and spiritual commitment. Rosen said he won't make Aliyah for just basketball reasons: "It's a good thing and something I've wanted," he said.

He won't be alone in Israel, despite the seven-hour time difference. His dad has a half-sister who lives near Tel Aviv. Penn grad Sarah Friedman is also playing soccer in Tel Aviv and has already reached out to him.

And the fans? "Absolutely sick," he said. According to Rosen, the league is getting better and better, and he likes that his team is up-and coming. From what he knows about the fans and atmosphere, he compared it to Cameron Indoor."Part of [that fandom] is the soccer culture ... it infiltrates into basketball."

While Rosen had a lot of options once he chose to play overseas, it ultimately came down to a gut decision. "I liken it to college recruiting ... There are no perfect decisions," he said. But he liked the coach and his reputation and feels like he made the best decision. In the end, though, above all else, he's a rookie again.

"It's kind of like starting over, you have a clean slate, your reputation is sidelined."

Knowing Rosen, it shouldn't take too long to adjust and create a new reputation for himself.

Rosen signs with Israeli top division club Hapoel Holon

Former Penn guard Zack Rosen is finally a professional basketball player.

The three-time first team All-Ivy guard posted a photo of himself signing a contract on twitter at around 9 p.m. Penn's all-time leader in assists went undrafted and struggled to gain playing time while with the Philadelphia 76ers team in the Orlando Summer League.

Nevertheless, he will be playing professionally next year in one the world's most competitive basketball leagues, Ligat HaAl, Israel's premier league.

Hapoel Holon is based in Holon, Israel just south of Tel Aviv. The team, which sports yellow and purple uniforms, won the championship in 2008 defeating perennial champion Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The team finished fifth (out of 11) last year in the regular season and won their first-round playoff matchup before bowing out to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Rosen will join fellow Americans Patrick Sullivan, Ron Lewis, Tasmin Mitchell and Bryant Dunston. Dunston and Lewis, played for Fordham and Ohio State, respectively. He will leave for Israel in late August.

Tonight’s the night for Zack Rosen

When the NBA draft gets underway Thursday at 7 p.m. in Newark, N.J., the New Orleans Hornets will select Anthony Davis with the first overall pick. That won’t surprise anybody. After that, however, anything could happen.

Those watching from the Penn community may be more interested in the second round than the first to see if any team takes a chance on Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year Zack Rosen — the Quakers’ all-time leader in assists, games and minutes.

Rosen has worked out for numerous NBA teams, including the Sixers, Nets, Pistons, Suns and Kings. If selected — which is a big “if” — he would likely go in the second half of the second round.

Here are a few stories to keep you occupied on what's being written about Rosen as  the draft approaches. For those interested in watching, it will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m.

Five Quakers receive senior student-athlete awards

At the senior student-athlete banquet Monday night at the Inn at Penn, five seniors were given awards for their time and talents both on off the field.

Zack Rosen (men's hoops) and Paige Madison (track) took home the biggest honors of the night, the Class of 1915 Award and the Association of Alumnae Fathers' Award, respectively. Alek Ferro (men's lacrosse) and Meg Krasne (softball) received the Norman J. Goldring Award for having the highest GPA as male and female varsity athletes. Finally, Grant Wilson (heavyweight rowing) received the George H. Frazier Award for having the highest GPA between the basketball, crew, track, soccer, baseball and football teams.

The Class of 1915 Award, in existence since 1931, is given to a graduating male "who best exemplifies the spirit and tradition of University of Pennsylvania Athletics." The recipient must have at least a 3.0 GPA, and is voted on by men's head coaches and select athletic department administrators. Rosen is the first men's hoops recipient since Steve Danley in 2007.

Track and field captain Madison was given the Fathers' Award for her "contribution to Women's Athletics" and her "outstanding athletic, academic, and leadership qualities." Again, recipients must have a 3.0 GPA and the award is voted on by women's varsity coaches and select athletic department officials. Madison currently holds three Penn records on the track (sprint medley relay, 400-meter hurdles, outdoor 4x100m relay) and has top-10 times in four other individual events and as a part of five relays. She was the first woman in Penn history to go under 1 minute in the 400m hurdles.