This was supposed to be the year that Penn men’s basketball stopped being a one-man show.
After all, the team belonged to 2012 graduate and Ivy League Player of the Year Zack Rosen last season. He was the unquestioned floor general on offense, easily leading the team in points and assists. Everyone knew who was running the show.
So the current Quakers came into the 2012-13 season excited about being a more close-knit group that featured an ensemble of offensive weapons instead of just one focal point.
But the Zack Rosen Show has simply turned into the Fran Dougherty Show.
Dougherty is averaging 20.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the first five games of this season. He’s playing all the roles for a team that still has plenty of casting to do. From beyond the arc, he’s nailed four three-pointers. As a 6-foot-8 big man, he’s been an unstoppable force, averaging 3.2 offensive rebounds and shooting 58.0 percent from the field. As a tough defender, he has registered nine blocks and six steals.
While Miles Cartwright is having a solid start to his season as well, averaging 17.6 points per game and ably stepping up as one of this squad’s most consistent leaders, he has turned the ball over too much in the early going and disappeared against Fairfield. Penn’s ‘O’ has been all about Dougherty.
Based on Dougherty’s expectations coming into the season, that’s not something he can be very pleased with.
“I don’t think this is about one person, who’s going to shine or who’s going to break through as the leader,” Dougherty told the Daily Pennsylvanian before the season began. “I think we need to do it as a junior class because that’s who everyone is looking at right now and who the younger guys are looking up to because we’ve been around so long.”
What about that junior class? The energy and motivation that juniors Cameron Gunter and especially Dau Jok provide from the bench are always essential, but they’re not providing any offensive production. Junior Steve Rennard was a non-factor offensively against Drexel, only shooting twice in 27 minutes of play.
So let’s look at Tony Hicks, a freshman highly touted for his offensive prowess coming into the season. Despite a solid six-point, seven-minute performance versus Drexel, he has predictably experienced growing pains in his first few collegiate games. He looked out of control in both his ballhandling and shot selection in Charlottesville, Va. Hicks is one of five players who has started this season averaging at least two turnovers per start.
Such a widespread lack of offensive discipline can be expected from a team this youthful coming out of the gates. But squads as young as this one often at least have more balanced offenses.
With coach Jerome Allen at the helm and an exemplary junior class to look up to, the rest of the team can be expected to grow up fast. But the Red and Blue better mature soon, because the more that Penn’s offensive burden is put squarely on Dougherty’s shoulders, the longer the Quakers will go without winning.
Bring on the ensemble.
MIKE TONY is a junior English and history major from Uniontown, Pa., and is an associate sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.