Men's Basketball Ready to Tip Off 2012-13 Season
PHILADELPHIA - The 2012-13 season is here! The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball fans have a lot of questions about this year's edition of the Quakers; Friday night provides their first opportunity to see what Head Coach Jerome Allen has put together in the absence of the graduated Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore. Penn and UMBC start the season with each other for the second straight year; tipoff is 7 p.m. at The Palestra.
*This is the second year in a row that Penn and UMBC have started the season by playing each other. Last year, at UMBC, Penn was up 28-25 at the break and it was still only eight (41-33) when the Quakers went on a decisive run en route to a 59-45 win. Zack Rosen had 26 points to lead the Red and Blue, while Tyler Bernardini added 10.
*UMBC will always hold a place in Penn basketball history -- as Jerome Allen's first victims as head coach. That came on Jan. 6, 2010, an 82-71 Quaker victory at UMBC's RAC Arena.
*Penn is 8-2 all-time against programs that currently compete in the America East Conference (0-2 vs. Albany, 1-0 vs. Boston University, 2-0 vs. Hartford, 2-0 vs. New Hampshire, 3-0 vs. UMBC)
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*That said, Penn also needs to fill the voids left by the graduations of Rob Belcore and Tyler Bernardini. Belcore earned honorable mention All-Ivy a year ago, while Bernardini finished his career with 1,456 points which puts him 10th on Penn's all-time scoring list.
*Overall, Penn returns just 36.3 percent of its scoring and 42.6 percent of its minutes played from a year ago.
*If you're looking for offensive leadership, a good start would be Cartwright. He finished last season as Penn's third-leading scorer, averaging 10.8 points per game. He had 16 double-figure scoring games a year ago, including three with 20 or more, and was the Quakers' leading scorer in their CBI games against Quinnipiac and Butler.
*Cartwright also played 1,063 minutes last season, which is third on Penn's single-season list. He played in 32 games last season, starting 31 of them.
*Dougherty was one of just four players to play in all 33 games a year ago, making 10 starts. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, led Penn in rebounding in five games, and hit double figures three times.
*Jok played in 14 games last season, scoring just seven points, but he has already left an indelible mark on the Penn campus for his actions off the court. In March 2011, during his freshman year, Jok was named a recipient of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects For Peace Award by the University's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). During the summer of 2011, he and Rosen traveled to Africa, and they did a daily blog for ESPN.com.
*Penn's other primary starter from a year ago was sophomore Henry Brooks, as he recovered quicker than expected from a knee injury suffered late in his high school career. Brooks averaged 4.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 32 games last year (24 starts). He hit double figures three times in 2012-13.
*Junior Steve Rennard missed the early part of last season, but came back to play in 23 contests and made seven starts. He averaged 3.7 points and 1.2 rebounds, adding 21 assists and 16 steals. He scored double figures in a pair of Ivy League games last season.
*Sophomore Camryn Crocker is another candidate to fill a role in the backcourt; he saw time in 23 games last season, averaging 0.7 points with 15 assists and seven steals.
*Another sophomore, Patrick Lucas-Perry, played in 12 games a year ago, scoring four points with an assist and two steals.
*In the frontcourt, expect junior Cameron Gunter to fight for a spot in the middle. He played in 19 games last season.
*Two sophomores will also see time up front -- Simeon Esprit and Keelan Cairns. Esprit saw time in 13 games last year, including quality minutes in Penn's CBI game with Butler, while Cairns fought a back injury last year and was able to make just six appearances.
*Looking for a darkhorse in the lineup? How about sophomore Greg Louis. Arguably the most ballyhooed member of last year's recruiting class, he missed all of 2011-12 to a preseason injury.
*Of the freshman class, Chicago-area guard Tony Hicks has to be considered the gem. After all, he holds a unique footnote in Penn's storied basketball history as the first Parade High School All-America selection.
*Freshman center Darien Nelson-Henry, from the Seattle area, was the Washington State 3A Player of the Year and King County MVP last year. He helped Lake Washington advance to quarterfinal round of Class 3A state tournament his senior year, its best finish ever.
*Freshman guard Julian Harrell was the 2010-11 CIF Player of the Year and Mission League MVP at Loyola -- the same high school that Cartwright attended -- and helped Loyola win the CIF championship last year.
*Another freshman guard, Jamal Lewis, attended Sidwell Friends in the Washington, D.C. area, where he was first-team All-D.C. and a member of three conference title teams.