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aj-brodeur-ernie-beck-mbb-all-time-starting-5
Credit: Chase Sutton

As a part of the Daily Pennsylvanian's look backs into the history of Penn sports, we compiled men's basketball's all-time starting five.

Point Guard — Zack Rosen (2009-12)

Rosen leads the program in minutes played, assists, and — prior to AJ Brodeur's career — games started. His diverse skill set allowed him to place fourth in all-time scoring and third in most three pointers made in team history. During his time at Penn, his ball-handling ability, coupled with prolific passing and three-point shooting made him a lock for first team All-Ivy three of his four years.

In the 2011-12 season, Rosen led the Quakers to a 20-13 record, and Penn finished second in the Ivy League. Rosen was an honorable mention for the AP All-American Team and unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year. After graduating in 2012, he played for three teams in the Israeli Basketball Super League until 2015. During his time overseas, Rosen won the All-Star three-point shooting contest in 2014 and 2015.

Shooting Guard — Ernie Beck (1951-53)

Beck’s statistics speak for themselves. He is second in all-time Penn scoring with 1,827 points, holds the highest career-scoring average (22.3 points per game), and has the most rebounds in team history with 1,557 — over 500 more than the next closest player — averaging a staggering 19 rebounds per game. He still holds the NCAA Division I record for most rebounds in a season, when he grabbed 556 in 1950-51.

With these historic numbers, Beck was drafted to the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1953 NBA Draft where he would go on to win a championship in 1956.

Beck was inducted into the   inaugural class.

Small Forward — Keven McDonald (1976-78)

McDonald played for Penn during its most dominant period in history. He won two Ivy League titles with the Quakers in 1977 and 1978, as he led the team to a narrow 84-80 loss against Duke in the Sweet 16 of the 1978 NCAA Tournament. During their playoff run, he scorched St. Bonaventure with 37 points, en route to setting a Penn record for most points in an NCAA Tournament.

During his time at Penn, McDonald was a prolific scorer. He graduated second on Penn’s all-time scoring list, and he currently sits at number five despite having played one year fewer than the other players above him. 

After his senior year, he was selected in the 1978 NBA Draft 42nd overall by the Seattle SuperSonics. McDonald was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Power Forward — AJ Brodeur (2016-20)

Over his four seasons with the team, Brodeur demonstrated himself as arguably the most well-rounded power forward Penn has seen in its history. He holds Penn’s all-time records for points scored (1,832), field goals made (752),  games played and started (both 119), and blocked shots (196). He also ranks third for most rebounds in Penn basketball history.

Brodeur helped lead the Quakers to an Ivy League Tournament win and March Madness bid in 2018 following a 68-65 victory over Harvard. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after accounting for a double-double in the final with 16 points and 10 rebounds. In the 2017-18 season, Brodeur was named unanimous first team All-Ivy and led Penn in rebounding and blocked shots, in addition to finishing the year second in scoring.

He is currently playing in the German Basketball Bundesliga for Mitteldeutscher.

Center — Ugonna Onyekwe (1999-2003)

Despite primarily playing power forward during his career, Onyekwe’s skill set makes him an ideal center for our small-ball lineup. His iconic dunks and ability to block and score set him apart early on in his Penn career. 

In his freshman year, he won Ivy League Rookie of the Year and made an impressive debut in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 17 points against Illinois. He also won Ivy League Player of the Year two years in a row when he accomplished the feat in 2002 and 2003.

Onyekwe currently sits fourth in all-time scoring for the Red and Blue. He also ranks third in all-time field goals made and most career blocks.

After graduating, he played professionally in Israel and Spain until 2011.

Honorable Mention: Guard — Jerome Allen (1992-95)

Allen is one of three players in Penn history to win Ivy League Player of the Year twice in his career. He is the most recent Penn player to be drafted into the NBA, where he played for the Timberwolves, the Pacers, and the Nuggets.

During his time at Penn, Allen led the team to an Ivy League title in each of his last three seasons, where the Quakers held a perfect 14-0 conference record each year.

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