More from Allen, Dunphy and recruits

 

In an exciting event for me as an aspiring journalist, the New York Times used some quotes from my preview of tonight's Penn-Temple matchup in a post about the game on their college sports blog. Given the apparent popularity of some of the comments these guys made, I figured I'd share some other worthwhile items from my interviews that weren't in the story. Also after the jump, an update on two of Penn's recruits.

Quotes from Fran Dunphy that didn't make it into my story:

On whether he has proactively mentored Allen since he became Penn head coach: No. “We’re good friends and whatever help I can be he knows that I’ll be there for him. I think Jerome is a tremendous person, he was a great player. He absolutely has a plan and a style and an attack that he will be using, so he doesn’t need my help. I think he needs my support and my friendship but after that he’ll be great absolutely on his own. He’ll figure everything out that he needs to do.” He added that they still talk all the time, about once a month since Allen got back from playing professionally in Italy, and as much as once a week since he started working at Penn.

On the strengths he thinks Allen will bring as a coach: “He was as good a competitor as I’ve ever coached. He obviously was a talented guy but more than that was a very competitive guy, and I think that’s the biggest thing that he brings to the table in terms of the basketball part. And then all the off-the-court that we are asked to do, Jerome is terrific in that as well. I think politically he’s very astute, very aware of all of his surroundings and all the things he has to do. Whether it’s alumni, media, community service, whatever it happens to be, he has a really great feel for all of those things.”

On whether he is sad that Penn has struggled so much this season: “Every coach, every university, every program has gone through some difficult times on occasion, and this is just one of those times. I don’t think it will be long before Penn basketball returns to its excellence.”

Quotes from Jerome Allen that didn't make it into my story:

On his relationship with Fran Dunphy as a player: "He was a number of things. He was a disciplinarian, a father, a mentor, a coach, a friend. He taught me how to be a man in terms of treating the people the right way, doing the right things, covering all the details, and just letting people know that you care and letting people know that when people do things do for you, make sure people know that you appreciate it. I pride myself on the fact that I haven’t played for him in almost 15 years and over the past 15 years we’ve spoken on the telephone at least once a month. He’s just an awesome human being and an unbelievable basketball coach. If my son could be half the man that Fran Dunphy is, he’s gonna be fine. I just owe him so much. I walked in here [the Palestra] and I didn’t always get it. But he made sure he stayed on top of us. He said this is a game, but it’s bigger than basketball, and I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s been so successful, because he genuinely cares about people. A lot of people talk about Fran Dunphy, what a nice guy is, he’s so respectful and well-mannered, but he’s also an unbelievable coach, and you put those two in the mix together, being a great human being and excelling at your profession, you’re gonna be loved by so many."

On what he's doing as a coach that he learned from Dunphy: After lumping Dunphy in with his high school coach at Episcopal Academy (I didn't catch the name) along with Larry Brown back when he coached the Indiana Pacers, Allen said: “Between those three alone, if you can’t learn aynthing about the process of building programs and doing things the right way, then you’ll never learn anything at all. The biggest thing with coach Dunph was that he left no stones unturned. He’s a stickler for details. He always used to say ‘Pay attention to the little things. Act like you’ve been there before.’ Someone was asking me about my first win against UMBC, if i was smiling, if i was happy, if i was jumping up and down. One of the things I learned from him was that when you have success, expect it, because you’ve worked hard to produce results. You never really want to show your true emotions in your face. We walked across the floor as a staff and I don't want to say I looked like I was . One of the things he did was always respect the opponent and carry yourself a certain way.”

It's also worth noting that I really appreciated Coach Allen allowing me stay and watch practice after our interview. I've always valued that experience and how it can help my reporting and writing. I used to do it when I covered volleyball, and I always tried to do so during Glen Miller's tenure, but he never let me. He had his reasons, and I don't hold them against him, but I wanted to publicly state my appreciation for Allen's openness.

And now, a few items on the M. Hoops recruits:

1. I previously wrote that local product Cameron Gunter of Ridley H.S. was unsure of his status with Penn after Glen Miller's departure, but it seems he's once again firmly committed to becoming a member of the Quakers. As he told the Delaware County Time, "I know with the whole coaching staff thing, that's been tough for them. I mean, getting off to a bad start and then the coach being fired, that's tough. But we'll bounce back."
2. Blogger Jared Todd, who I referred to in my first post about Penn recruit Dau Jok, did a nice video interview with Jok and posted it on YouTube. It's not all about Penn or basketball, but it's well worth the seven minutes. Among the highlights are some kind words for Miller and an expression of disappointment at his firing, but also a vote of confidence for the rest of the coaching staff. Another very interesting tidbit is that his dad was apparently a general in the Sudanese army and was killed, and that's part of the reason why he moved to the states in 2003 after being born in Sudan and also living in Uganda. He could make a subject of a great profile once he hits campus. Stay tuned.

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