Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mr. Clutch?

Only 6'1 and 170 lbs, my alma mater UPenn's Zack Rosen may not be NBA-bound....but apparently he's had a pretty impressive season:

As Penn heads to Princeton Tuesday night, trying for a share of an improbable Ivy League title and a playoff date with Harvard, Palestra regulars come up with their own ways of calibrating the sensational play they have seen from Zack Rosen all season.

"People sometimes think coaches have more control than we do. His ability to just make plays sometimes even amazes me," Penn coach Jerome Allen said of his senior point guard. "I can maybe count on both hands how many times this season he's had open looks. Not too often."

Stu Suss has sat by Penn's bench since Chuck Daly was the Quakers coach - during the Nixon administration - always coming up with numbers that don't appear on the stat sheet. Ask Suss if he has any interesting Rosen stats beyond his Ivy-leading 18.5 points per game or his 5.3 assists, and he answers, "As a matter of fact . . . "

In the last five minutes or in overtime of Ivy League games in which the score was within eight points - "in that specific clutch situation," Suss explained - Rosen had played 48 minutes, which happens to be the length of an NBA game.

Rosen's box-score line in those 48 clutch-situation minutes: 53 points, plus 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 blocked shot, 1 steal, 2 personal fouls and 2 turnovers.

Asked if he can think of a player carrying a team as Rosen has carried the 2011-12 Quakers, Phil Samko, the Quakers' basketball trainer since 1985, goes away from basketball and back to his own youth in Worcester, Mass. "Not since Yaz and the '67 Red Sox," referring to Carl Yastrzemski's Triple Crown season.
I'll pull one more little quote from that article:

"I don't believe in talent," Rosen said.
Hah! That seems to be the theme wherever I look these days...

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