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Ibrahim Jaaber makes a pass after bringing the ball down court. Credit: Chris Poliquin , Chris Poliquin

This summer, Penn will be using its basketball program’s illustrious history to bring some modern flair to the Palestra.

A new display will be installed in the hallway near the concession stands and feature a collage-like centerpiece of significant moments from Penn basketball history. The display marks the latest in a series of renovations to the Palestra, from new seating to an improved sound system.

Athletics Director Steve Bilsky emphasized that while the Palestra may be getting some much-needed upgrades, they have been careful to preserve its distinguishing features and historic atmosphere.

“You don’t want it to become decrepit and old,” he said. “We want it to be just as vital this century as it was last century.”

At the same time, he notes, “You want to keep the Palestra as the Palestra.”

“You walk around and it is almost like a museum,” Penn recruiting target Myles Stephens said after touring the historic arena. “And you can see the history of the building — the Big 5 and all the people who have played there in games,” he said.

“You get a feeling of how important the building is to the basketball program.”

With the historic nature of the building, it is no surprise that a key aim of the display is to immortalize iconic basketball highlights and players from the past.

Former player Ibrahim Jaaber will be one of the historic figures featured prominently on the display.

Jaaber, who played for the Quakers from 2003 to 2007, currently holds the school records in career steals, steals in a season, assists in a season and assists in a game.

He won Ivy League Player of the Year in his junior and senior years. He also led the team to three consecutive Ivy League titles between his sophomore and senior years.

Recent Penn star Zack Rosen will certainly be featured as well.

“It’s so great to go there and see fathers with their children … pointing out things and seeing the rapt attention that takes place,” Bilsky said, describing the legacy this addition will hopefully build upon.

“The whole idea was to tell the story of Philadelphia basketball as it applies to the Palestra,” Bilsky said.

Now, a new chapter will be added to the tale.

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