2010-11 Penn Quakers Welcome New Recruits

    
August 22nd, 2010

The 2009-10 season was a tough one for the Penn Quakers and their fans, as the 25-time Ivy League champions lost their first ten games (and 14 of their first 15) on the way to a disappointing record of 6-22 (5-9 Ivy). But a season with few highlights included Zack Rosen, Jack Eggleston and company handing eventual league champion (and Sweet 16 member) Cornell their first conference loss of the season, and with Jerome Allen beginning his first full season as head coach hope springs eternal.

Along with two assistants (former Hartford head coach Dan Leibovitz (now an assistant at Penn) and Rudy Wise) the Quakers welcome an incoming class of eight players, with the hope being that they'll lend a helping hand in grabbing Ivy crown number twenty-six. CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with four of the eight recruits: Miles Cartwright, Fran Dougherty, Chris Hatfield and Dau Jok. 

Miles Cartwright

JT: You went to Loyola HS in Los Angeles, where you led your team in scoring. What position do you feel most comfortable at, and what is the secret to being a great scorer?

MC: My whole life growing up I played SG, but then my coach needed me to play PG during my junior year. I feel most comfortable on the wing where I can create my own shot. The secret to being a great scorer is just always being ready, because you do not know where the passes are coming from. It is also important to read the defense.

JT: One of your HS opponents was fellow Penn recruit Austin Kelly of Harvard-Westlake. What was it like to play against Austin, and what do you think it will be like to switch from being opponents to being teammates?

MC: Austin has always been a great friend of mine off the court, as we have played against each other since we were 9 years old on the AAU circuit. We have had some tough battles in the past, but I think being teammates will just make our friendship better.

JT: You played on an AAU team (California Supreme) with several big-time recruits (Gary Franklin, Dwayne Polee, Tyler Lamb, etc.). Who is the best guy you have ever played with, and who is the best guy you have ever played against?

MC: The best guy I ever played with was Hollis Thompson, who is now at Georgetown. He taught me a lot, as I watched how he carried himself. The best guy I ever played against has got to be Austin Rivers. He is a big-time player who is going to be a huge star in the pros someday.

JT: You are one of several guards in Penn's recruiting class of 2014. Are you concerned that there might not be enough playing time for all of you?

MC: Not at all. The great thing about our class is that we just want to win, no matter what it takes or what the best formula is. We are already good friends through emails/texts/etc., so we are not worried about playing the same position. All we care about is wins and losses.

JT: ESPN/Scouts Inc. gave you the highest rating of any of Penn's recruits with a 90. What other schools did you consider, and why did you choose Penn?

MC: I was looking at Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Washington State, and some other mid-major schools out west. I ended up choosing Penn for the academics as well as the basketball tradition, even though it has been down the past couple of years.

JT: What do you know about Coach Jerome Allen, and why do you want to play for him?

MC: I built a great relationship with former Coach Glenn Miller, and I was let down when Penn let him go. However, I am excited to play for Jerome, as he is someone who has been through it all and knows what it takes to win in the Ivy League.

JT: What do you think will be the easiest part about making the jump from high school to college, and what do you think will be the hardest part?

MC: I do not know if this will make sense, but the easiest part will be just playing. The talent level will go up from high school, but we just have to play. The toughest part will be the speed of the game. I played pickup games in LA against guys who are going to Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga, and I was impressed by how fast everyone was.

JT: You had a 3.7 GPA in HS. What role do academics play in your life, and what subject do you look forward to studying most at Penn?

MC: My parents always told me that while basketball was a tool, academics was the key that would get me somewhere. They would not let me play ball until my homework was done. I want to be a broadcaster, so I would like to study sports journalism at Annenberg.

JT: Your younger brother Parker will follow in your footsteps as a freshman at Loyola in the fall. How good a player is he, and will you urge him to go to Penn if you enjoy your own time there?

MC: He has been written about as the top PG in the Class of 2014, and has already heard from most of the Pac-10 schools and been to a bunch of All-American camps. I will try to put something in his ear about my new team, but if he continues to progress, then I do not think I can get him to Penn.

JT: Your mother worked on the Judge Joe Brown TV show while your sister worked on the Judge Judy TV show. To you feel like you have a career in legal entertainment as a fall-back plan if basketball does not work out for you, and do they make you watch their shows all the time?

MC: My mom was one of the main producers for Joe Brown, and just started a new show with Nancy Grace. I am not a big fan of those programs, and I always tell my mom that, so I do not think I will end up working for any of those shows.

Fran Dougherty

JT: You went to Archbishop Wood HS in Warminster, PA, about 20 miles north of Philly. How important was it for you to stay close to home, and how special will it be to have your family be able to attend all of your home games at the Palestra?

FD: It was a big factor in my decision, and it helps that I can go home whenever I want to. It will be awesome to have my family come to games, and also my friends, as a lot of my friends live in or near Philly.

JT: You were team captain for 2 years in high school. What position do you feel most comfortable at, and what is the secret to being a great leader?

FD: I was most comfortable at the 4 spot in high school. The key to being a leader is to be vocal and be a good teammate.

JT: In addition to high school basketball you also played varsity tennis. How big an advantage was your size on the tennis court, and which sport do you enjoy more?

FD: I definitely like basketball better. The other sport was just a hobby, as a lot of my friends played tennis. My size definitely helped me on the court, especially with my serve.

JT: You are one of eight players in Penn's recruiting class of 2014. Are you concerned that there might not be enough playing time for all of you?

FD: Yes, but you just have to work hard every day. Everyone has an equal chance with a new coach coming in, so everyone has a shot at proving that they deserve some playing time.

JT: You played a great game against Roman Catholic HS earlier this year (22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks) despite a stress fracture in your foot. How were you able to play so well despite being injured, and how important is toughness in your own style of play?

FD: It was hard, but I did not think anything was wrong with my foot, so I did not let it affect me. I am not oversized for a college big man, so I have to play tough and get physical in the paint.

JT: What do you know about Coach Jerome Allen, and why do you want to play for him?

FD: I know that he was a great player and a big part of the program at Penn. When I talked to the guys before Coach Allen even got hired, they told me how he would work hard to make you a better player by the end of your four years.

JT: What do you think will be the easiest part about making the jump from high school to college, and what do you think will be the hardest part?

FD: I would not say there is an easy part from what I have seen so far. You are going up against experienced players who are stronger and faster, so that is tough.

JT: What role do academics play in your life, and what subject do you look forward to studying most at Penn?

FD: Academics have always been a big part of my life, as my parents always pushed me, which was another reason I came to Penn. I want to study environmental management or marketing.

JT: At 6'8" you will be one of the tallest players on the Penn roster. Do you think you are done growing, and how do you use your size to your advantage on the court?

FD: I am pretty sure that I am done growing, at least according to my doctor. There are other tall guys on the team, so I will also need to have the ability to shoot the ball and put it on the floor.

JT: You have spent this summer playing for team Trad Jazz with Jack Eggleston and several of your fellow incoming freshman. What has impressed you the most about Eggleston, and how do you think that playing with your future teammates this summer will help you during the season?

FD: Playing with Jack gave me a preview of what it takes to compete in the Ivy League, as he is one of the best big men in the conference and a good team leader. Playing with the other recruits should also help us in the fall.

Chris Hatfield

JT: You went to Miramonte HS in Orinda, CA, where you graduated as the school's all-time leading scorer. What is the secret to being a great scorer, and has it sunk in how prolific a player you were?

CH: Part of the key to being my school's top scorer was the fact that I played varsity all four years, so by my senior season I was very comfortable on the court and had already found my style of play. As for any "secret" to scoring, I had none; I simply did whatever I could to make the ball go through the basket. This often meant a lot of ugly, scrappy plays and scoring by sheer hustle rather than finesse, but it helped our team so I kept doing it. I would not say that my school has ever had the reputation of being a basketball "powerhouse" (no Miramonte team had gone further in the state bracket than we did my senior season), so I have to put the record into perspective. However, I am still proud to hold such a record.

JT: You were team captain for two years in high school. What is the secret to being a great leader?

CH: All I can say is that leaders can only lead because they have the respect of others. The reason I was voted captain in my opinion was because the other players respected my work ethic.

JT: What position do you feel most comfortable at on the court?

CH: I was somewhat obligated to play the 4/5 position because our team did not have anyone else who could guard a big man in the paint. While I could certainly play the 5 spot in HS, it is not my most comfortable position. During the playoffs I returned to my more familiar position of a shooting/small forward, which is where I am most comfortable. In college, however, I am going to have to move away from a big man position and work more on my shooting and wing play.

JT: Who is the best guy you have ever played with?

CH: That is hard to say. One of my favorite guys to play with was Brian Barbour on the Lakeshow AAU team. He is now at Columbia and can pass dimes like it is nobody's business.

JT: Who is the best guy you have ever played against?

CH: It was probably Desmond Simmons, a lanky 6'7" forward at Salesian HS who is now playing at Washington.

JT: You are one of eight players in Penn's recruiting class of 2014, and there are reports that you will start off on the JV team. Are you concerned that there might not be enough playing time for everyone, and how long do you expect to stay on the JV squad?

CH: I have not really had that concern, nor do I really have an expectation as to how long I will be on the JV team. I have never played with any of the other players, so I cannot really gauge my skill level relative to the rest of the players. I am just happy to be on the team, and if the coaches do decide to move me up at some time in my career, I will be honored to play on the varsity squad.

JT: What do you know about Coach Jerome Allen, and why do you want to play for him?

CH: I know very little about Coach Allen, as I have never met him or exchanged an email with him. I have only seen interviews with him, but I have a lot of respect for him as the head coach of an Ivy League and Division I program.

JT: What do you think will be the easiest part about making the jump from high school to college?

CH: I do not really expect any part of the jump to be easy, especially seeing as how I am going to have an incredible academic workload on top of basketball.

JT: What do you think will be the hardest part about making the jump from high school to college?

CH: I am going to have to work most on my ball-handling and shooting as I transition from the 4-spot to a wing player.

JT: You are enrolled at Wharton (Penn's prestigious business school). What role do academics play in your life, and what subject do you look forward to studying most at Penn?

CH: Academics play a huge part in my life, as my choice to attend Penn was based primarily on its academic reputation and Wharton. The chance to play on the JV team was just icing on the cake. I am still open to different business subjects, but right now I am really interested in the actuarial science/risk management concentration in the business school.

Dau Jok

JT: You were born in the Sudan, where your dad passed away when you were 6 years old and you were raised by your mother before moving to the U.S. in 2003. How has growing up in a single parent household impacted your life, and what is the biggest difference between Africa and the U.S.?

DJ: It was hard having only one parent, but it made me stronger as it forced me to grow up quickly and adjust to different things. It also developed my work ethic, as it means you have to do a lot more than most kids your age. It taught me a lot of communication skills as well. My mom faced a big challenge in trying to raise us, but she is a tough individual and her struggle motivated me. Growing up in Africa everything was solved through violence, and in America you can solve more things peacefully, and there are more opportunities here as well.

JT: You went to Roosevelt HS in Des Moines, Iowa, where you had a 3.89 GPA. What made you choose Penn, and how important are academics in your life?

DJ: I chose Penn for the education, as a degree from here will make me better off in the future. There is so much diversity here and so many people to learn from. I think everything happens for a reason, and the coaching staff is made up of great people from top to bottom, so I think we are set up for a great 4-year run.

JT: You also lettered in cross country while in high school. How much of an advantage is your stamina on the court?

DJ: I think stamina is all in your head in terms of whether you let it affect you. I ran with a bunch of teammates who are now at Division I schools, so we had a great team.

JT: You are one of several guards in Penn's recruiting class of 2014. Are you concerned that there might not be enough playing time for all of you?

DJ: I am not worried about playing time; my biggest concern is just about what I can do right now to get better. Coach John Wooden said, "Make each day your masterpiece", so I am just worried about what I can control: going to class, making progress on the court, etc. The more powerful a team we have, the better, so it is not a bad thing to have a lot of good guards.

JT: You have been described as a three-point specialist. What position do you feel most comfortable at, and what is the secret to three-point shooting?

DJ: Two words: Ray Allen! I feel comfortable coming off of screens and running the break. I shoot a lot on my own all the time, especially this summer; that is the whole secret, so to answer your question, shoot. Another key is to be your own critic, in terms of footwork, motivation, etc.

JT: Your uncle is former NBA center Manute Bol and your cousin is current Bulls forward Luol Deng. How did you feel about Manute passing away earlier this summer, and what advice has Luol given you about how to succeed on the court?

DJ: I was not as close with Luol; I am closer to Longar Longar, who is at Oklahoma. He keeps telling me to understand why I am here; I did not come all the way from Sudan to screw around, so I just have to stay true to who I am. My biggest regret is that I was supposed to call Manute the week that he passed away, but I never got to do that. He will be missed, as he was a great humanitarian who tried to make the Sudan a better place for people who had nothing. He was a hero and we need more people like that. He motivates me to try to have the same effect on my people.

JT: Your brother Peter is a high school sophomore who is listed as one of the top talents in the Class of 2013. Which of you is going to end up as the better player, and any chance you can convince him to join you at Penn?

DJ: He is going to be WAY better than I am; it is not even a question! He got bigger and stronger over the summer and is doing stuff athletically that I cannot do. He has to take care of his academics and work on his people skills, and I hope he gets a chance to play at the highest level. I pray that he always does well, and hope he ends up as the best player to ever come out of Iowa.

JT: This past summer you played summer league ball with upperclassmen Jack Eggleston/Zack Rosen and freshmen Fran Dougherty/Steve Rennard on team Trad Jazz. What impressed you the most about Rosen, and how do you think that playing with your future teammates over the summer will help you during the season?

DJ: Zack has strengthened my values, as he respects everyone and works his butt off. If you get a chance to be around Zack, what you learn is priceless. He is Coach Allen's coach on the court. Everyone knows him around campus, and he is very engaging. The kind of person he is off the court impresses me more than the player he is on the court. I have never seen anyone work as hard as him; the dude works his ass off! He is not the tallest or the fastest, but he plays with heart and works the hardest. Summer league was a nice chance to get to know each other, but now is the time when we can really start to gel.

JT: What do you know about Coach Jerome Allen and why do you want to play for him?

DJ: I know that he cares about the person you are more than the player you are. The first thing he asks you is not how your shot is coming along, but how you are doing. His work in the community is well known, and I want to learn from the best. If I can only pick up 10% from each of our coaches, I will have picked up a lot.

JT: What do you think will be the easiest part about making the jump from high school to college, and what will be the hardest part?

DJ: I do not think anything will be easy. The hardest part is just being patient with the learning curve. Zack always says to move on and live in the now. I am willing to learn every day, even if it is a day when I struggle so that I can come back and be even better the next day. The college game is much quicker, and there is a lot of thought that goes into everything, but I am not too worried because I am in the right hands.