RG3, Eli, and the Quakers

The Ancient Quaker comforts himself and other Penn fanatics by urging perspective and looking optimistically at the improving youth on this blundering 2-11 squad.
The Ancient Quaker comforts himself and other fanatics by urging perspective and looking optimistically at the improving youth on this blundering 2-11 squad.

I understand this is a basketball article. So what then do these three seemingly disparate entities have to do with each other? Allow me to explain.

RG3, a rookie quarterback, arrives at a formerly woeful organization and, overnight, changes the culture of his team with his confidence and preternatural talent. On the other hand, there is Eli Manning: also a tremendously gifted quarterback, but during his first few years in the Meadowlands, Eli didn’t change very much. With every pass that sailed over a receiver’s head or fluttered toward their feet, the boos rained down from the tough New York crowd. Eli at times looked lost, out of control, overwhelmed, bewildered. Occasionally though, he would have a game that showed that he indeed had great potential: a flash of brilliance amidst the chaos of his first few years. Regardless, the postscript is well known by now: RG3’s career accomplishments, no matter how well he performed this year, remain to be seen, while Eli, the formerly befuddled rookie, has two Super Bowl MVP trophies and is probably on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Most people, or athletes for that matter, are not RG3. Even Eli, a #1 NFL draft pick and an extraordinarily talented athlete in his own right, needed several years to find his game on the professional level. In my mind, the youthful Quakers at this stage are akin to a young Eli Manning. They need time to find themselves at the collegiate level. Coach Allen talks often about “the process,” and just like Eli’s career, the process obviously takes time, but I see it slowly taking shape.

Ironically, the most encouraging sign for Penn was the 57-70 loss to #17 Butler on the road. The undersized, shorthanded, Quakers, without their leading scorer and a four man freshman rotation, were in it until the very end.

Sure, they were heavily outrebounded and committed far too many fouls, but any other year, a “good” Penn team probably would have lost by a similar margin to a ranked opponent. (FYI: The Daily Pennsylvanian sports blog had predicted a 30 point blowout with Butler scoring over 90. In fact, the Quakers kept the Bulldogs below their 75 point scoring average and held their leading scorer to only 6 points, 12 below his average.) A flash of “brilliance?” I think not, but still an extremely admirable showing for what is basically a freshman-centered team. In addition, because of illness, scandal, or injury, Coach Allen has no set starting five. However, this instability in the starting lineup has had a positive secondary effect. Young players who might otherwise be on the bench, like Jamal Lewis, Tony Hicks, Greg Louis and DNH are getting valuable playing time and much needed on-court experience.

So just imagine where these guys will be two or three years from now. Not only will they be seasoned, but they will also be deep at almost every position. I can’t wait.

Naturally, the 2-11 record is extremely discouraging, but the

losses, none of which were ridiculously lopsided, feel very different than the ones during Glen Miller’s years of futility. Like Eli, I believe these players have great potential, but don’t take my word for it. Take Butler’s coach and hardcore basketball junkie Brad Stevens” view of the Quakers after last week’s game.

“I knew it was gonna be hard tonight because they”re really well coached, and those guys run a lot of great

stuff. They”re getting better every game, and also they”ve been in most every game, and that”s usually the sign of a team that”s ready to break through.”

Incidentally,  Coach John Giannini said exactly the same thing after the LaSalle game.  Now with Ivy play approaching, break out time is hopefully near. Sure, I wish the Quakers were playing like RG3, but for the long run, I’d take Eli’s career any day.

Stay Red and Blue my friends.

11 thoughts on “RG3, Eli, and the Quakers”

    • It feels Like Carnegie Mellon 51-Princeton 46. However the astounding lack of defense on both sides gave the freshman, and Dau Jok, double figure points. Don’t be surprised if Penn upsets your beloved Tigers Mr. T. Sorry but they’re not that great and the Quakers are ripe to win (something). Either that or we will put your team in intensive care with our plethora of flagrant fouls. If we can’t beat’em, we will bludgeon instead.

      The 12th then.

  1. I shall me more than surprised. In fact, if you follow the team of EMT’s to Section 4, Row 6, you can help revive me! Come early to watch the women’s game.

  2. Sorry but I will be watching from the safety of my living room. (Those elbows really fly far.) Still, the pressure is on The Tigers. Do you want to be the first team to lose to a 2-12 rival ? Better keep your tails crossed.

    • Hummer gave us another impressive, all-around game, while TJ Bray recaptured his shooting touch last night. TJ’s shooting, which went from awful at the beginning of the year to fair lately, is a huge component of the Tiger offense. If he stays on track the Tigers can wear out most Ivy defenses. But to me the most impressive performance at Jadwin was turned in by Quaker rookie Tony Hicks, for whose slashing and dashing the Tigers had no reliable answer. Fortunately, Hicks did most of his damage too late to change the outcome. Nelson-Henry and Hicks will lead the Quakers out of the wilderness, maybe not soon but inevitably.

  3. A tough watch to be sure. Penn’s shooting percentage was awful but had the shots fallen, we would have had our win. The alumni are already calling for Jerome Allen’s head. (We don’t like losing to Princeton.) i think few coaches except perhaps John Calipari can rally a team full of freshman. (Naturally he is working with a far superior talent level to begin with. ) There are not many Ivy players that can make the transition either. Even Zach Rosen was a poor shooting, turnover prone neophyte his first year. Still I believe the pieces are there and more are coming. Allen has another good recruiting class. It will be a long year and I predict we will probably lose at least one game each to both Brown and Dartmouth which will enrage any remaining JA supporters

    Anyway congrats ona solid win Mr T. True the Tigers are slow and overall a decent but not outstanding team, but I will be rooting for them to dethrone Darth Amaker and his ill gotten round ball Empire.

    • Naturally I focused on the “decent but not outstanding” observation. But we are decency’s last best hope this season. Henderson has shown the courage to bench a senior three year starter, a kid with 60+ wins, in favor of a freshman. The result: 4-1 so far, and getting better game by game. Slow is not necessarily bad, as long as we control the pace of the game, as we have been able to do lately. See you in March.

  4. Although I don’t live in Phillly, I know the student body and alumni are upset. Most people don’t like Bilsky because he is the one who let Dunphy go and I think it’s more of a backlash toward him.

    But JA has a freshman team, no stars, apparently middling leadership on the floor, lost the POY, 3 seniors, 2 assistants, had a drug scandal and his best player is out with mono.Tell me, what coach is going succeed lwith that?
    People also forget he took a mostly talentless team with no size to within 10 pts of a title less than a year ago

    My breathen are douchebags.


Leave a Comment