WICHITA, Kan. — This isn't the last you'll see of this team.
Penn men's basketball might be done for the year after the loss to Kansas, but the future for this team is so bright.
Think about who brought them here. Sophomores Ryan Betley and AJ Brodeur are the team's two leading scorers and the core of the team. They've now got two years of experience under their belt, form one of the most formidable one-two punches on offense, and they've got two years left.
Betley has the ability to get as hot from deep as just about anyone in the conference. We saw it earlier this year when he took over the Princeton game. As for Brodeur, his elite defense inside powers a unit that can compete with anyone.
We saw what junior center Max Rothschild can do in a starting role this year. He fits perfectly in Donahue's inside-out offense as a big with great vision and passing ability. With his frontcourt partner Brodeur, Rothschild helps the Quakers clean up on the glass and move the ball quickly.
Rothschild and guard Antonio Woods will become the elder statesmen next season. They'll step into the leadership void that Foreman is leaving and hopefully set the tone early on in the season.
Penn accomplished all that they did with two juniors and two sophomores in the starting lineup. Only two seniors averaged more than five minutes per game.
And they did all of this without going to the freshman class. Jelani Williams was hurt all year and was redshirted; he figures to slot into the rotation soon after coming back. Same with Eddie Scott, who dazzled with 21 points at Monmouth, but was shut down before conference play with a wrist injury. And while Jarrod Simmons fell out of the rotation, he can give valuable minutes and provide Broder and Rothschild with a break.
And that doesn't include three-star recruit and 6-foot-9 power forward Michael Wang, who will give the Quakers even more depth and physicality down low.
Picture this: a starting five of Betley, Brodeur, Woods, Rothschild, and Williams, with Wang, Scott, and Devon Goodman as the first three options off the bench. Is there any team in the Ivy League that can top that?
And it's not just next year that Penn is going to be back. That potential lineup has just two would-be seniors, and a host of underclassmen. The Quakers are going to be good for years to come.
“We’ll be back; that’s it," Brodeur said. "We’ll be back, Ivy League Tournament, Ivy League Championship, NCAA Tournament. We’ll be in the second round at some point; just wait on it. We got work to do.”
With the loss against Kansas, Penn men's basketball says goodbye to a senior class that saw the program go from worst to first. Among other things, the Quakers are undoubtedly going to miss the steady hand of senior guard Darnell Foreman and the sharpshooting of sixth-man Caleb Wood. Those two things are going to be tough to replace, especially early on in the year.
And with the team that remains, there are certainly holes to fix. If today's game taught us anything, the Quakers need to become a much better free-throw shooting team. They might not have a true point guard to start next year, but they can make it work.
But the future is very, very bright, and next season can't get here soon enough.
Jonathan Pollack is a College junior from Stamford, Conn., and is the Senior Sports Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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