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New Quakers Interim Coach Jerome Allen leads the Quakers in a face-off at the Palestra with the Temple Owls led by former Penn coach Fran Dunphy. After trailing the Owls for the majority of the game, the Quakers lost 60-45. Penn interim head coach Jerome Allen Credit: Michael Chien

Tyler Bernardini has had a rough few months.

But if it’s any consolation to the 6-foot-6 junior, the basketball gods may make it up to him with another year of eligibility.

Bernardini wrote on his Facebook page last Wednesday that he is redshirting this year.

That decision would keep the injured guard off the court this season but would still enable him to suit up through 2011-12.

Interim head coach Jerome Allen said yesterday that redshirt talk is premature.

“A decision hasn’t been made yet,” he said, adding that he has “no idea” when a decision would be finalized.

Bernardini, who averaged a team-high 13.7 points per game last season, has ditched his crutches and still attends practice with the team.

While he takes pride in the oversized, basketball-dribbling Tasmanian Devil covering the cast down his right leg, he is still nowhere close to returning.

His foot is also in a boot, and he hasn’t played since suffering the injury on Nov. 16.

After a team meeting yesterday, he wheeled the players’ towels across the Palestra floor, limping as he went.

“I don’t want my kids who are out to feel pressure [to return],” Allen said. “I just want them to get healthy.”

Let them eat cake. Since taking the reigns last month, Allen has talked plenty about getting his players to buy in to the program.

“It doesn’t matter if the coach is Glen Miller, Jerome Allen — even John Wooden,” Allen reiterated yesterday. “It all starts from their commitment.”

The coach certainly does his part to encourage that commitment. Allen is definitely close with his players. While the team stretched yesterday, the interim head coach walked around the circle and shook hands or exchanged high-fives with each one.

And on Sunday, he and his wife opened their doors for hours of bonding and team feasting at their home.

“It’s a chance to not eat at Commons — I’ve been there,” Allen quipped.

“We try to get off campus. It’s about being a family.”

Shoes to lose. The Quakers, like so many other organizations across the country, are doing what they can to help earthquake victims in Haiti.

Allen is collecting old pairs of shoes — from players, coaches, Athletic Department officials and even media members — to send to those in need.

“We teach how to read coming off a screen, how to read a pick and roll, how to box out a man,” Allen said. “But we also have a responsibility to teach responsibility … We have to hold ourselves accountable to a larger community.”

Post-promotion thoughts. Roughly a month after being hired for the interim head coach position, Allen is determined to meet the difficulties of his new job with enthusiasm.

“You go from having the guys to worry about … to having to worry about compliance stuff, making sure class schedules are OK, trying to decide team meals.” Allen said. “But I’m still … so pleased with this opportunity, that I refuse to have a bad day.”

Allen initially declined to make any comments about his relationship with former coach Glen Miller following the coaching change. However he confirmed that he contacted his predecessor.

“I reached out [to Miller]”, he said, “and told him if not for him, I don’t have this opportunity.”

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