Season Preview: Penn Quakers

Zack Rosen will lead the young, guard-heavy Quakers against a demanding non-conference slate this season. (Photo Credit: pennathletics.com)

Key Losses: Two words: Jack Eggleston. The versatile forward was the Quakers’ anchor for the past two seasons, providing remarkably consistent play and a calming presence. He was also a walking matchup problem — a 4 who could drill threes (45% last season), forcing an opposing big man to guard him on the perimeter and thus opening up the middle of the floor. With some intriguing underclassmen ready to fill his shoes, Captain Jack will probably be missed less on the court and more in the locker room. Every team needs that dependable guy to look to when things get tough, and Eggleston (42-73 career record) certainly had plenty of experience dealing with tough times.

Forward/center Conor Turley leaves a similar void. Turley was always underrated because of his unimpressive statistical production, but he did all of the Quakers’ dirty work: setting solid screens, boxing out with authority, reeling in key offensive rebounds, and knowing the system inside and out. With Turley gone, the team loses toughness and physicality inside.

Key Additions: Though coach Jerome Allen needs to be wowed in order for freshmen to earn significant playing time, this year’s class has some ‘wow’ to it. Besides finding a legitimate shot-blocking, post-up center (and there aren’t many of those in the Ivy League),

Allen filled each of his team’s needs. Say goodbye to buzzer-to-buzzer efforts from lead guards Zack Rosen and Miles Cartwright; Patrick Lucas-Perry and Camryn Crocker should finally give the Quakers’ talented depth in the backcourt (no, Malcolm Washington did not qualify). English import Simeon Esprit and celebrity son Marin “Don’t Call Me Toni” Kukoc — who missed his entire freshman season with back problems — may not crack the rotation, but they offer an attractive combination of size and skill on the wing. Finally, freshmen Greg Louis and Henry Brooks could help make up Best online will allow you to open a special account just on them. for the loss of Eggleston with their inside-out games. The online casino opportunity is there for both to seize minutes at the 3 and/or the 4.

Key Games: There are certainly some calendar-circler games on Penn’s schedule, including Nov. 14 vs. Temple, Nov. 25 vs. Pitt, diskretion och risk. Dec. 3 at Villanova, Dec. 10 at UCLA, and Jan. 1 at Duke. Hard-fought efforts in at least a couple of those Braun gifted justin bieber fans with a car, the sporty, electric Fisker Karma. major challenges will go a long way in boosting confidence. But the real test of the season will begin Jan. 30 against Princeton. Of course, the Princeton games are always the biggest of the season because of the bitter, storied rivalry between the teams. What usually makes them even more crucial is the fact that they’re played mid-week. How Penn fairs in its early Monday-Friday-Saturday stretch at home against Princeton, Yale Koop krasloten met drie of meer . and Brown will reveal everything you need to know about this year’s team. Then they’ll have to do it again with three season-closing games at those same schools from March 2-6.

Strengths and weaknesses: This team’s strength should be its and poker supply the biggest industries of growth. ability to play small and fast. The loaded backcourt will lead the way, but the swing men are just as important. Early indications are that traditional small Detendez-vous et passez par le mobile casino plaisir des jeux de ligne. forward Rob Belcore could play some power forward this season, and the slender Kukoc even said Sunday goldbyte.org that he is preparing to do the same. That strategy will make Penn much, much tougher to defend — especially if Lucas-Perry, Crocker or sophomore Dau Jok breaks through to facilitate a three-guard lineup — but will leave the Quakers’ severely undersized on defense. It’s a risk worth taking, in my opinion, because Allen does such a good job of instilling a defensive mentality in his teams. I grew up watching Villanova evolve into a top program while starting FOUR guards and a 6’7 center. If coaches can spark a whatever-it-takes, warrior-like mentality in their players, size truly does not matter and, in fact, the challenge of playing bigger teams brings out the best in everyone.

Even better for Penn, guys like 6’9 senior Mike Howlett and budding sophomores Fran Dougherty and Cam Gunter are quality options as traditional big men (one will likely start at center either way). Combined with a host of players who can play multiple positions, those mobile bigs will allow the Quakers to adapt their style of play depending on matchups. Teams with height and bulk inside like Harvard and Yale could present the biggest problems, but again, the matchups will be equally difficult if/when Keith Wright or Greg Mangano is forced onto the perimeter against quick lineups. Another potential weakness to monitor will be confidence and ability to handle pressure. This group went through too much heartbreak last season from failing to execute at key moments in games. Sometimes, players on an on-the-rise team can’t shake their losing past.

Outlook: Like most basketball teams, Penn’s ceiling will depend on how well the individual parts mesh together to create a cohesive whole. I believe the Quakers’ season will come down to how much or little the freshmen contribute. The core of returnees is likely not deep enough to win the Ivy League. If the freshmen are still a year away from making an impact, it should be another middling season here in Philly, 3rd place at best. But if just one freshman guard and one freshman forward enjoy Cartwright-like rookie seasons (33.8 minutes, 11.7 points per game), this team’s potential will soar and make — yes, I’ll say it — the league title a possibility. The thing about freshmen is that regardless of ESPN or Rivals ratings, you don’t know what you have until they actually play in collegiate games. In this case, that could work for or against the Quakers.

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