Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball adding Mercer transfer Michael Zanoni

Michael Zanoni (Mercer Athletics)

Penn made its first transfer portal addition of the 2024 offseason when ex-Mercer guard Michael Zanoni revealed Monday that he had committed to the Quakers.

Zanoni, a sophomore, missed most of the 2023-24 season with a fractured foot and received a medical redshirt. He entered the portal with three years of eligibility remaining. In his 2022-23 freshman campaign, Zanoni appeared in all 33 of the Bears’ games, making 13 starts. He shot 35.6% from deep for the season on 104 attempts, averaging 6.2 points per game.

There’s a lot to like about Zanoni’s game and the broader implications of his decision to come to Penn, such as how …

Zanoni’s body type and shooting form make him an ideal fit as a wing in coach Steve Donahue’s offense.

One thing is clear from Zanoni’s highlight tape: the young man knows how to get shots up.

Zanoni has a quick and high release, which lends itself to outside shooting success. The above footage also shows Zanoni curling off screens, firing off catch-and-shoots and using a nifty shot fake to create space for himself.

Standing at 6-foot-5, Zanoni also has a fair amount of height and length. That might make him a natural fit as a slightly bigger wing in Penn’s rotation. Both the soon-to-be-departed Tyler Perkins and George Smith are 6-foot-4.

It’s fairly easy to see how Zanoni would fit in as a secondary scorer for the Red and Blue.

What the reel doesn’t show, though, is how Zanoni defends or drives to the rim. Penn desperately needs help on the defensive end of the floor and is losing its best slashers through Clark Slajchert’s graduation and Perkins’ decision to transfer.

Penn is moving more aggressively in the transfer portal than any other Ivy team.

Perkins leaving Penn at the first possible opportunity was a disaster for Penn’s coaches, but the staff isn’t taking it lying down.

The Quakers have been linked to dozens of transfers at all levels of college basketball, from five-star center Dennis Evans out of Louisville to shooting guard Justin Allen out of Division III Carnegie Mellon.

By my count, Penn currently has offers out to at least three juco prospects along with Sean Elkinton, a stretch four prospect out of Division II St. Edwards who has a handful of offers from other mid-major programs.

In contrast, ThePortalReport.com’s transfer portal tracker indicates that Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth have combined to reach out to a grand total of zero players available in the portal.

More reinforcements are needed.

Penn’s transfer recruiting efforts thus far have generally focused on three pools of players: low-production players from big conferences with strong recruiting ratings (Evans, Xavier wing Reid Ducharme, Wyoming point guard Jacob Theodosiou), high-production players from lower levels of basketball (Elkinton, juco point guard Dylan Williams) and players from peer conferences who have traits that align with the team’s system (Zanoni).

The Quakers’ cupboard isn’t completely bare heading into next season. Penn has a good one-two punch in rising sophomore guard Sam Brown and rising senior forward Nick Spinoso. Those two were spotted practicing in a recent team Instagram post , so you can safely assume neither of them are going to follow Perkins into the portal.

Next year’s recruiting class looks solid, especially incoming point guard AJ Levine and forward Michelangelo Oberti.

But it doesn’t change the fact that the Red and Blue are entering 2024-25 with terrible defensive metrics and are losing their two best scorers. Ideally, Penn would add one or two more players through the current portal recruiting cycle.

Could you imagine if Evans came in and instantly became a dominant Ivy League big man? The coaching staff wouldn’t have reached out if Penn didn’t think that was at least a possibility.

5 thoughts on “Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball adding Mercer transfer Michael Zanoni”

  1. Hyp would have to change policies

    Nowhere to hide these kids academically like a Penn Cornell or even brown

  2. Penn should aim higher. Drop the bag on Danny Wolf. Get Cal’s rejects from Kentucky. Make a building-sized donation to steal Cooper Flagg from Duke.

    Anyway, enjoy this addition from Mercer. Lmao at HYP not being able to hide kids academically.

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