Last Friday night when I glanced at the student section during halftime of the Cornell game, I couldn’t help but smile.

Why? Well, because there were actually students in the student section wearing red and blue, excited about being at the Palestra for a Penn basketball game.

Student presence at games is something that should be expected. Attendance signifies pride and togetherness, things for which this school and this basketball program are known.

When I was a junior in high school, I came down to the Palestra for the first time to see the Quakers host Villanova. I didn’t know what to expect and, to be honest, Penn wasn’t too high on my list of schools.

When I stepped foot inside the historic gymnasium, though, I was amazed. The crowd was absolutely insane! The passion, the energy, the environment — I simply couldn’t believe how enthusiastic the Penn fans were about their basketball team.

As it turned out, we lost a nail-biter, but it wasn’t the win or loss that mattered. I was sold. The environment in the Palestra that night (my introduction to and my lasting impression of Penn basketball) convinced me that Penn was the place for my college basketball experience.

This 2009-10 men’s basketball team has battled enormous adversity and has come a long way. Anyone who was at the game Friday night can attest to that. We have a new coach, a new sense of commitment and a new energy, and we are working extremely hard to restore the winning ways of Penn basketball. The support of students means more than you can imagine, and I am urging that support to continue.

Tonight, we play Princeton. Princeton is our rival and the importance of this game needs no explanation.

I know it’s the middle of the week and I know that everyone has commitments. I myself have an Accounting midterm tomorrow.

However, is there a better way to spend two hours of your time tonight than at the Palestra, taking part in one of the most historic rivalries in all of college basketball, rooting against the Tigers? I didn’t think so.

I am expecting a great crowd tonight and for future games. We will be out there giving it all that we have for a victory.

I hope you will be in the house doing the same.

ZACK ROSEN is a Wharton sophomore from Colonia, N.J. He is currently a starting point guard and co-captain of the Penn men’s basketball team.

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