In a crowded and talented freshman class, many expected some first-years to play an important role for Penn men’s basketball — but nobody could have predicted this.
Through just two games this season, freshman guard Jordan Dingle has not just been the best player in his class, but also one of the most important players on the team, earning him DP Sports Player of the Week.
In Penn’s two games this season, an 81-80 upset win over Alabama and a 80-61 loss to Rice, the freshman has led the team in scoring. Dingle was especially impressive in the Alabama game, where his late game heroics propelled the Quakers to victory in Tuscaloosa.
Dingle, who attended Blair Academy in northern New Jersey, has basketball in his blood. His father, Dana, was a key player for UMass in its 1996 Final Four run and his uncle, Daniel, played basketball at Temple.
After a series of injuries left coach Steve Donahue with plenty of questions about his starting lineup in the first game of the season, Dingle was penciled in as a starter just minutes before tipoff, and the freshman did not disappoint. Contributing a solid seven points in the first half, Dingle really began to find his stroke in the second half, pouring in 17, including a number of memorable buckets late in the game and the eventual game-winner.
With the Red and Blue trailing by a point with just seven seconds to go, the freshman drove into the lane and drilled a contested layup to put the Red and Blue ahead for good. In all, Dingle scored seven of the Quakers' final 11 points, and his 24 total points set the record for the most scored by a freshman in their debut, breaking the record of now-senior forward AJ Brodeur.
In Penn’s loss to Rice, Dingle showed that his performance was no fluke, once again leading the team with 20 points. Beyond the volume of his scoring, Dingle has also been efficient, shooting just under 55% from the field so far.
With high expectations this season, it is clear that the Quakers will be reliant on fresh faces like Dingle if they want to return to the top of the Ivy League.