Things have changed in the world of Penn basketball.
Following the surprising career-changing move of Athletic Communications Associate Director Eric Dolan, who decided to quit his job for a chance to star on “The Halperts,” the Quakers have received some much needed publicity — so much that they will be featured on the 2013 season of “Hard Knocks.”
The popular HBO reality sports documentary television series, which is centered around a team’s summer training camp, became a major hit after featuring the New York Jets before the 2011 NFL season. And this year, viewers from all across the country will get the chance to get an in-depth look at the state of their favorite Red and Blue team.
“Penn State in Hard Knocks? I didn’t know they did college football now,” said an onlooker wearing a Nittany Lions tee. “Let’s bring out the kegs!”
“I can finally give up my dream of becoming World Sudoku Champion,” Athletic Communications Director Mike Mahoney said. “This is great for the program, great for Penn, and most of all, great for me.”
It’s one week into training camp, and producer Pat Sengenoes is struggling to find material for the second episode of this season of “Hard Knocks.”
“The last one was terrible,” Sengenoes said. “No one could hear anything, not even swearing. I changed coach [Jerome Allen]’s mic twice, but it ain’t gon’ work.”
Hoping to use the spotlight to increase awareness of Penn sports amongst the university’s student population, Penn Athletics decided to air the first episode live on the big screen at the Palestra.
“We’re really proud of our effort, despite some minor issues,” Mahoney said. “150 people, that beat our attendance record for the past six years.”
Similar records were also shattered in terms of TV ratings, as 722 homes followed the episode on HBO. An additional, undisclosed number of people enjoyed the show on their computers, as Penn Sports Network made the episode available to its subscribers.
“My daddy watched it, told me he was proud,” senior guard Miles Cartwright said. “But [my brother] Parker was too busy playing basketball for Arizona.”***
It’s already August, and Cartwright is losing his patience.
“This is bullshit,” he said, referring to coach Allen’s decision to transfer his captain status to sophomore guard Tony Hicks. “Just because he scored half of our points last year doesn’t mean he’s the boss now.”
Hoping to bounce back in his final year in order to get drafted in the NBA, Cartwright entered the offseason with the goal in mind to become a superstar.
Instead, the Caliornia native has made himself famous for a perfectly disappointing .234 field goal percentage and amazing ability to slow the game down.
“This guy … just understands the future of basketball,” former Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. “He’s coming back to the roots of the sport, probably 10 years before anyone else will — a true hoops hipster.”
Meanwhile, after eight weeks, Hicks is still responsible for 50 percent of the Quakers’ scoring. Most of it has been attributed to his exceptional shooting skills, but his performance is definitely helped by the absence of senior forward Fran Dougherty, who is fighting off his third bout with mono of the year.
“I don’t get it,” Dougherty’s girlfriend, Natalie McGurn said. “Can’t you only get it once? It’s really a tragedy.”
With TV ratings dropping in the wake of persistent problems concerning Allen’s audibility, Sengenoes is hoping to capitalize on drama to revive the show.
“We got a good storyline coming with that kid [Henry Brooks],” he said. “Even with his hands tied behind his back, and in practice, he still fouls out. And the team ain’t even mad ‘bout it — that fires up the spectators.”
We’re only a few days away from the end of the summer, and things are looking bleak for Penn basketball.
Last Friday, HBO decided to pull the plug on this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks,” as the inability to get any words out of coach Allen made the show a total flop.
“No comment,” Allen said. “I think we stuck to our defensive principles, and that’s the most important.”
Allen did not provide any additional info on the team’s lack of freshmen entering the season. All of Penn’s recruits — including Tony Bagtas, who was scheduled to “run the team” this year — decided to drop out after what they considered to be “negative publicity” surrounding the poor reception of the TV show.
The question now remains as to whether or not the team can reach its main goal this year, namely winning the next game. And more importantly, who will want to be on that team?
“I told myself for a second: ‘Dude, you’re on the bench here, you should probably go back to school and help your old buddies out,’” former Penn superstar Zack Rosen said. “But then I was like, ‘Ha, jokes. I like it too much here in Israel.’”
Disappointed after his false hopes of a “Zack Comeback” were crushed — and yet another foul by Brooks — Allen finally let his voice out.
“No, just no,” Allen exclaimed. “That’s it, I’m going back to the NBA.”
This article appeared in the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Joke Issue 2013. For more information, click here.