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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Penn Basketball: Trouble in University City?

The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team went into the season with 19 players on its roster. Three players ended up missing the season due to injury (Darren Smith, Tommy McMahon and Andreas Schreiber), with Smith and McMahon missing their second consecutive years. Another, sophomore Remy Cofield, who once scored 20 points in a game for the Quakers, announced he was transferring at mid-season. Lay atop that additional injuries, and Penn's season was a mess.

And there's more bad news. Today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports that sophomore guard Harrison Gaines has announced that he'll transfer to a place where the program has better leadership at the top (scroll down to find the small blurb about Gaines). That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of Penn coach Glen Miller and perhaps not the wisest thing for a 20 year-old looking for his next and likely final men's hoops berth to say. Of course, usually when a kid transfers he doesn't agree with the coach's decisions; otherwise, he wouldn't transfer. But in this case Gaines came out and said point blank that he didn't like the leadership.

Ouch.

Penn fans are grumbling a bit. Check out this post from Philadelphia's Citypaper regarding the state of Penn basketball and the Gaines departure. All clearly is not well in University City.

Especially if you're a hoops coach. Penn announced today that it wouldn't re-up on the contract of women's hoops coach Pat Knapp.

I posted the other day about Coach Miller and offered that Penn should be patient with him and let his sophomore class become juniors and see if, with an additional year under their belt, they can amass their talent (which is considerable) and challenge for the Ivy title. I remain convinced that this is the correct course of action. That said, the Penn faithful are used to winning at the Palestra and on the road, and their patience -- and the patience of A.D. Steve Bilsky -- is what counts. Not mine.

4 Comments:

Blogger Escort81 said...

I understand Gov. Rendell also made comments about the state of the program (he attended the Penn-Princeton game at the Palestra on Tuesday). As a prominent Penn alum, he is not shy about expressing his feelings, much in the same way he does regarding the Eagles on his Post Game Live gig on CSN. It would be a shame if Miller is not given a bit more time to straighten out the team, particularly given the injuries that the Quakers had to deal with this season.

All of that said, I feel confident that the Tigers can make a meaningful run at the Ivy championship next season.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gov. Rendell lamented the play of BOTH Penn and Princeton in the season closer. The Tigers are showing some spunk, but future glory years still seem a bit murky.

Many Penn fans were concerned when Princeton went into its not so long ago coaching meltdown. The "storied rivalry" requires two great well-coached teams to be worthy of that title. It brought prominence to Ivy League basketball, helped recruiting, enhanced school spirit and was just plain fun. Most Quaker fans recognized that a strong Princeton helped everyone.

If you want to see the growing concern about Glen Miller among the Palestra faithful, read the feedback on the news story about Harrison Gaines at http://www.dailypennsylvanian.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=8bf1c128-5f04-4b73-8519-ee3f2281d51c#c814ad69-8b7f-4a68-a686-81c19ccf2479

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