Penn men’s and women’s basketball took to the court on Saturday for their Red and Blue scrimmages, giving fans their first look at newcomers and the development of returning players. Sports Editor Holden McGinnis and Associate Sports Editor Carter Coudriet are here to break down what they saw from the Quakers.
Holden McGinnis: On the men’s side, the biggest surprise for me has to be the distribution of playing time at point guard. We know coach Jerome Allen has thought long and hard about playing junior guard Tony Hicks at the point, and we saw that from the get-go. However, Hicks seemed relatively ineffective as a primary ball-handler and was better suited as a two-guard. Meanwhile, freshman guard Darnell Foreman — who many expect to take on a large role at the point — saw limited action in that regard, as senior Cam Crocker handled the offense for the Blue team in the first half. While Foreman still figures to have a significant role on this team, he wasn’t the only freshman getting minutes in the scrimmage.
Carter Coudriet: You’re right, Holden. Crocker, the senior who has never gotten his share of playing time, outplayed the promising freshman Foreman. Foreman wasn’t the only freshman overshadowed; two never touched hardwood, and neither Dan Dwyer nor Sam Jones left a huge impression in a small sample size. The one freshman that did impress, however, was at times the best player on the court. Forward Mike Auger made plays in the post offensively, and while it took a while for Auger to start finishing on these moves, he dominated the second half. The big men on the team seem to be clicking.
HM : The forwards may end up being a strength for the men’s team, especially given the return of junior Darien Nelson-Henry, who was injured last year. And that certainly also seems to be the case on the women’s side as well — one of the very few similarities between these programs at this point in time .
Likewise, dealing with injuries to key bigs sophomore Sydney Stipanovich (back) and junior Kara Bonenberger (illness), coach Mike McLaughlin’s squad showed off a wealth of depth in the frontcourt. Sophomores Sade Gibbons and Jackie Falconer were both impressive after seeing very limited action in their freshman campaigns.
CC : Not to mention that the mere presence of 6-foot-3 freshman forward Michelle Nwokedi adds even more height to the Quakers’ inside presence. Like the men’s team, the hardest adjustment for the women’s team to make will be at guard. It’s a tall order to replace graduated guards Meghan McCullough and 2013-14 Ivy Player of the Year Alyssa Baron.
The team has a ton of guards who pass extremely well, but it will be interesting to see who grabs the role of point guard. Do you think this women’s team has a chance to repeat as Ivy champions?
HM : As always, it’s hard to predict until you see the finished product on the court, but it’s easy to see how this team could be in title contention come the end of the year. As you said, guard play should play a key role in determining Penn’s fate, and freshmen Beth Brzozowski and Anna Ross are set to see serious minutes at the point.
This may not be a squad with a lead scoring guard in the mold of Baron, and it’s unreasonable to expect a guard of her caliber every season, but the Quakers have championship caliber depth and a strong group of underclassmen who should continue to develop. Princeton will be Penn’s biggest threat and certainly has to be thirsty to regain the title after falling to the Quakers in their regular season finale. The two matchups between the teams will likely be the deciding factor.Comments powered by Disqus
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