Penn basketball freshmen Adam Chubb and Charlie Copp have a lot in common. They're both likely to crack Fran Dunphy's rotation in their first Penn season. They both have relatives in North Carolina who will be attendance for tonight's game at N.C. State. And come next July 5, both will turn 20. "I think we may have a little connection going on there," Chubb said. Well, there could be a connection -- if you overlook the gaping height difference between the 6'10" tower that is Chubb and the six-foot speedster that is Copp. * From a coaching perspective, recruiting by the "book" says that you should bring in three freshmen each year -- a big man, a guard and a swingman. And so, a year after going outside the lines and bringing in six freshmen, Penn followed the book with the class of 2004 -- with center Chubb, guard Copp and 6'6" shooter Jeff Schiffner joining the show this fall. Of the three, Chubb has received the most hype, and has the biggest footsteps in which to follow. Coming to Penn from the same prep school as Quakers forward Ugonna Onyekwe, the 1999-2000 Ivy Rookie of the Year, this freshman has a lot to live up to. And with a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds in an exhibition game Monday, Chubb showed that he might not disappoint anybody. "You can see so much potential in him, and potential becomes reality sometimes -- for example, Monday night," Penn center Geoff Owens said. "When he gets off his feet and you hit him on a fast break, he's up there putting the ball in the basket around his knees, throwing it down so easily." * Copp and Schiffner, on the other hand, have flown in slightly under the radar screen. With the graduation of All-Ivy backcourt stars Michael Jordan and Matt Langel, there is certainly playing time to be had at the guard position. But with four returnees to Penn's backcourt, the presence of two new guards on Penn's roster wasn't going to make a big splash. But each was an all-state honoree last year, both of them averaging over 25 points per game in their senior high school campaigns. In Monday's exhibition, both first-year men were impressive. Schiffner scored 12 points, second only to Chubb on the Quakers, and Copp dished out four assists. Their presence should be quite a luxury for Dunphy. "I think we all showed a lot of good signs. It was good to get the guys into a game-type situation," Schiffner said. "I think we learned a lot, and it's probably a good thing to catapult us into Friday night." * The trio of freshmen all have their own reasons for coming to Penn, the Palestra and Philadelphia. For Chubb, surprisingly, Onyekwe's move to Penn did not play as large of a role in his decision as might have been expected. "Ugonna's decision really didn't influence mine that much. But I did use him as a tool to figure out a lot more behind the scenes things when I came on the official visit," Chubb said. "And I asked him questions, compared to Mercersburg, so he was kind of an easy link, which did help." For Copp, who lives an hour away in Tulpehocken, Pa., location was a factor. Moving from a less-than-urban locale to Philadelphia might have presented a problem, but Copp has played in the Sonny Hill League the past four summers, and so he was familiar with the City of Brotherly Love. Ultimately, though, reputation may have decided it for Copp. "If you get the opportunity to play at Penn, you want to take it," Copp said. "You have to have competition to know that you can play, and that just makes it better. "But you can't have a bad day, because there's so many guys there ready to take your spot." * In this age of temptation and seemingly unending wrongdoing in college athletics, responsibility is a virtue held in high esteem by coaches. Dunphy, then, must be ecstatic with his freshman class. All three stressed their great focus on academics, and how they "don't really do anything" outside of basketball and school. Chubb, a Whartonite, made a freshman mistake with his classes -- he's taking five in his first semester at Penn, which has made his life a little more difficult. Copp, ever the frenetic little man on the court, even flew out of the Palestra seconds after the end of practice on Tuesday so he could get a headstart on a paper. But such actions are to be expected by the son of a minister. "He definitely keeps on top of his work and helps me stay in tune with what I need to do too, because you know I can get distracted by the video games," Penn sophomore forward and roommate Koko Archibong said. "He keeps me in check. I see him doing work, so I'm like, 'OK, now I have to do my work.'" But Copp could very well have a wild side. The Quakers fans in attendance at the exhibition game could sense it in his pair of somewhat unnecessary behind-the-back passes. And even Archibong senses the presence of a deep-rooted party animal. "Charlie's just a real chill cat," Archibong said. "He's one of those people who's not all out there doing all what-not, but he likes to have a good time as well." Also, Archibong has introduced his roommate to another integral part of the Penn basketball experience -- Fingers, Wings and Other Things. "Definitely introduced Charlie to FWOT -- if I didn't I'd be so wrong," Archibong said. "We've gone a couple of times so far this year." Proven winners. Despite the overuse that the phrase suffers, Dunphy at least hopes there is some truth behind it. Chubb -- a lanky, lean, leaping machine -- won the high school boys' high jump championship at the 1999 Penn Relays. Schiffner's high school team won a Group II North Jersey title, and advanced to the state semifinals -- in both basketball and baseball. For his efforts, Schiffner was named the New Jersey Nets Male Athlete of the Year. * How are the new guys dealing with other aspects of college life, like having roommates who might not be involved in such a time-intensive activity? For Chubb, that is not a worry.
After living in a double at Mercersburg, he now has a room of his own in the Quad. "Right now it's really working out for the best," Chubb said. "Having a single is just a lot more efficient." Efficient like his 9-for-11 shooting from the floor in Penn's exhibition on Monday night. For Schiffner, it might present problems. Considering the sparse space that the 6'6" freshman has inside of his Hill double, it's quite possible that he might unknowingly crush his roommate into a corner while standing up and stretching at his desk one day. "You know it is tight in the double, but it's not bad," Schiffner said, as he played with his humongous size 14 sneakers. "But having the dining hall downstairs is huge." But for Copp, it gets interesting. His roommates, you see, are sophomores -- and specifically, one of them is sophomore forward Archibong. And while this cross-year roommate set-up may appear odd at first, as far as all are concerned, it's turned out just fine. "[Former Penn assistant coach Steve] Donahue set that up last year when I was coming in. Koko's pretty cool, I like him a lot. And his music is good. No problems," Copp said. "It's not weird at all living with a freshman -- sometimes it seems like he's more mature than me," Archibong said. "He came in, and everything's been smooth, and we've clicked." * The three freshmen seem to have followed a typical television script: meet one another while visiting Penn, keep in contact the summer before college and end up being good friends. "I played summer ball with Adam in the Jersey Shore League. And I played a little bit with Charlie earlier this summer," Schiffner said. "It's good when you have a couple of good guys with you in college, playing basketball." And this camaraderie, just like in the script, extends off the court. There's nothing quite like kicking back, West Philadelphia style. "Jeff and Adam came by last week, I believe," said Archibong, the doorman for his and Copp's room. "And we just chilled, played video games, had some FWOT." * On the spectrum that is height, the extremes are most likely to be noticed. At an even six feet, Copp may be indistinguishable from the next frat boy on the Walk, but at 6'9", Chubb must capture the attention of everyone around him wherever he goes. "The first few weeks or so, I definitely turned some heads when I walked through the hallways," said Chubb, who has to duck occasionally to avoid hitting his head on obstacles. "But most people have seen me enough so that it's not that big of a deal anymore." * Growing boys need good nutritious diets, right? Doing their best to avoid the temptations of unhealthy eating, the Penn freshmen have found other, healthy alternative food sources that allow them to shape up for the upcoming season. Yes, food trucks. "I love the carts, especially Frita's right outside the Palestra. I hit that all the time.," Schiffner said. "Cheesesteaks galore, pizza, all that good stuff." It's not exactly the Points System from Weight Watchers, but it may be the best nutrition this side of Penn dining. But that option is heralded by another member of the Quakers freshman class. "I go to late-night at Stouffer all the time," said the rail-thin Chubb, a walking advertisement for the many minerals and vitamins contained in the mystery meat spooned out at Penn's dining halls. "At Mercersberg it was one certain thing, and there was no selection whatsoever; so here it's really not that bad." * With the graduation of three starters, Penn is clearly going to start the season a weaker squad than they ended a year ago. But with the tremendous losses suffered by Princeton, Yale and others, the Quakers remain favored to win their third straight championship in the Ancient Eight. To these three Penn freshmen who will more than likely find themselves on the court with the ball in their hands at some point in the next few weeks, this might seem daunting. But knowing the pedigree of Chubb, Copp and Schiffner, that probably isn't the case. This trio of freshmen has proven that they know what it takes to win, and are willing and able to do what it takes to win. "I think as a team, we really have progressed from the first few days of practice," Chubb said. "But we've got a long way to go, and there's a number of steps that we have to take."Comments powered by Disqus
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