Soisson | Will Penn basketball stop its downward spiral?


Quakers' suspensions probably not GPA-related but definitely devastating




The Penn men’s basketball team is on life support, and there’s no sign the Quakers are getting relief any time soon.

After suspending five players at least a week ago, and with games against Butler and La Salle on the schedule in the next few weeks, this struggling 2-8 squad is going nowhere fast.

Details regarding the indefinite suspensions of Miles Cartwright, Tony Hicks, Henry Brooks, Steve Rennard and Darien Nelson-Henry are sparse, with little information coming from the program about why or for how long. After Penn’s loss to Delaware Friday night, Penn coach Jerome Allen did not elaborate on the suspensions and no further comment was provided from Penn director of Athletic Communications Mike Mahoney Sunday afternoon.

This type of secrecy is troubling because it means Allen doesn’t think the team can handle its challenges with the added distraction of outsiders. Whatever internal issue the Quakers are dealing with — whether it be discipline, attitude, effort, focus or something else — they’ll figure it out behind closed doors.

But it’s just as troubling to fans and media, and a source close to the team said Sunday it was unknown whether or not the five would be reinstated for Saturday’s tilt at Wagner.

On Friday night, Allen said, “I play the guys that play for Penn,” which suggests that the suspensions are related to something more than academics. Finals just ended, true, but there’s no way five players had their final grades in time for them all to be suspended a week ahead of the Delaware game. The silence and unknown time of reinstatement surrounding the suspensions likely indicate something more serious than five poor GPAs.

Whatever it was that warranted the suspensions — and again, it’s unknown whether or not it stems from one incident involving the five players — time is ticking on this season. Less than 20 days remain before the Ivy season begins. At that point, the Quakers can either turn it all around or continue spiraling downward.

The team has returned home for the holidays and will return to Philadelphia Dec. 26 to prepare for what could and should be less of a challenge at a mediocre Wagner squad. But with a seven-man roster and three starters on the bench, no game is a given.

Not even close.

MEGAN SOISSON is a senior health and societies major from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and is senior sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Her e-mail address is soisson@theDP.com.

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