It is no secret that Penn will have a terrific backcourt next season — with seniors Zack Rosen and Tyler Bernardini along with sophomore Miles Cartwright. That group is good enough to win an Ivy League championship. It is also no secret that Penn had to get bigger and more athletic in the frontcourt to have a chance to challenge Harvard and Princeton for the title.
Nobody will really know until the games begin in November and the Ivy games start in 2012, but there is a real confidence around the program that Penn’s seven-player recruiting class is terrific, with several frontcourt players ready to start and make a difference.
Tennessee and North Carolina State were recruiting Henry Brooks, a 6-7 power forward from three-time state champ Miller Grove in Atlanta. He tore his ACL during the playoffs this year, which might have caused some schools to back off. A terrific student who loves defense, he might have gone to Penn anyway. When he recovers from his injury, the hope is that he will be an immediate factor.
It is also expected that 6-7 forward Greg Louis, from prep school power W.T. Dwyer (West Palm Beach, Fla.) also could be ready to contribute quickly. His team upset prep power Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) in ESPN Rise’s National High School Invitational before losing a close game to Oak Hill, another prep power.
Late in the recruiting process, Penn got commitments from a pair of foreign players, one from Ireland and one from England. Keelan Cairns, a 6-10 center from Ireland, and 6-6 wing Simeon Esprit played together at Barking Abbey in London. Each could get on the court quickly next season.
Forward Xavier Harris, from Constitution High by way of North Catholic, is yet another player who will help bolster the frontcourt.
Penn is set in the backcourt for next season, but reinforcements are on the way. Point guard Patrick Lucas-Perry from Flint (Mich.) Powers Catholic and Camryn Crocker, from Los Alamitos (Calif.) High, have also made commitments.
Rosen, Bernardini and Cartwright are championship-level players. Whether they get one might be determined by how good and how ready some of the new big players are in their first Palestra season and during those seven visits to Ivy road venues.