In the men’s basketball season opener on Saturday night, the Quakers sported new jerseys, an injury free starting lineup and a newly revamped bench.
But we also might have gotten a look at the new Zack Rosen.
For most Penn fans, a duplicate of last year’s Rosen would be just fine. He did, after all, lead the Ivy League in scoring at 17.7 points per game and was named a unanimous All-Ivy First Team selection.
However, with a “new team,” as coach Jerome Allen has called the 2010-11 squad, will come a new role for the point guard.
According to Allen, one facet of Rosen’s role that will change will be his increased responsibility as an upperclassman and de facto leader of the team.
In just the first game of the season, that was evident. Despite being sidelined with two quick fouls in the first half, Rosen could be seen instructing Miles Cartwright, his freshman replacement, between timeouts.
Whatever Rosen said, Cartwright must have soaked it up like a sponge, because the freshman showed flashes of his current mentor in the first half, draining 18 points.
But therein lies how else Rosen’s role should change. Last year, with the team ravaged by injuries, there weren’t many go-to options for Rosen other than Jack Eggleston.
In fact, Rosen’s league-leading 17.7 points per game represented 28 percent of the team’s total points.
To put that into perspective, Harvard’s Jeremy Lin scored 22 percent of his team’s total points while Cornell’s Louis Dale accounted for 16 percent of the Big Red’s total output.
The fact that Rosen’s percentage seems relatively high is not surprising. Last year, he had to score.
In basketball, it’s great to have a point guard who can score, but not so great to have a point guard who has to score for the team to win.
Nevertheless, this year’s squad appears to have more weapons alongside Rosen. In addition to Cartwright, the team returns senior Tyler Bernardini, who missed all but two games of last season with injuries.
Now, with a deep-ball threat on the wing in Bernardini and another playmaker in Cartwright, Rosen’s assist totals should pile up.
In addition, Rosen himself should get more open looks. In the second half of Saturday’s game, there was a glimpse of that potential.
In one sequence of plays, Cartwright brought the ball up and, off a dribble-drive penetration, found Rosen open in the corner for three. On the very next possession, it was Rosen who found Cartwright open for three.
How many times last year was Rosen able to play off the ball and get a wide open three off penetration by another guard? Not many.
“That’s exciting,” he said. “[Cartwright] can break the defense down and make plays as well, so it’s another added dimension.”
Rosen’s mantra last year was that he was just taking what the defense was giving.
But with a more balanced offense, opposing teams will give him something different.
It only stands to reason, then, that we should see some new tricks out of the captain this season.
KEVIN ESTEVES is a junior communications major from the Bronx, N.Y. He can be contacted at DPSports@theDP.com.Comments powered by Disqus
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