Jerome Allen and his staff bring in a talented four-man recruiting class this season and also return sophomore Greg Louis, who had hip surgery and missed the entirety of last season. With the loss of key seniors Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, these five players will have plenty of opportunity this season to show what they can do.
Winning is the only thing that matters for freshman Julian Harrell. The 6-foot-5 guard was a three-time team MVP and two-time captain in high school.
He likes to “slash to the basket” and brings “intensity” to the team. “It doesn’t matter what my contribution is to the team,” Harrell said. “I like to create for my teammates and play defense.”
This defensive mindset will be key for Harrell to achieve his wish for this season. “I just really want to win the games,” he said.
The ESPN Illinois Player of the Year, Tony Hicks brings an up-tempo style to the Penn backcourt. His athleticism, speed and passing ability should be great assets on the offensive side of the ball.
“We expect to win the conference,” Hicks said of the team’s goals this season. Hicks should see minutes this year and create some offense for the Quakers. But scoring points isn’t the only thing on Tony Hicks’ mind.
“I like to pick it up defensively,” he said of his style of play.
Also a three-time letterwinner in track, Jamal Lewis will get up and down the court for the Red and Blue this year.
“I think I’m a pretty good player,” Lewis said of his own abilities. “I like to get to the rim,” he added with a smile.
This confident freshman has the team-first attitude the Quakers will need to contend in the Ivy League this season. “[I will do] whatever coach needs me to do,” he said of his role on the team.
The 3A Washington Player of the Year is the newest member of the Penn frontcourt. Nelson-Henry should have the tools to compete for a starting position or at least to contribute significantly in his first year for Penn.
He knows exactly what coach Allen wants from his team. The towering center highlighted defense as his focus heading into the season. “We did some things well but we have to get better on defense,” Nelson-Henry said after the preseason scrimmage.
The sophomore — who missed last season due to a hip injury — is ready to get back to the game he loves.
Louis said his game is defined by “rebounding, energy and passion.”
That passion will be on display when Louis gets his first taste of game action this season. After playing on a high school team that finished eighth in the USA Today rankings with a 33-2 record, Louis will look to bring some of that caliber of play to Penn. “I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” he said.
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