Zack Rosen has won more than his share of awards from the Big 5 and Ivy League. He has set records and continued to break milestones.
Along with Temple’s Ramone Moore and Villanova’s Maalik Wayns, Rosen is among the best players in the city. He’s also the closest thing Philly has to Linsanity.
For now, nothing would make the Penn point guard —listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds — happier than accomplishing an elusive goal: advancing to the NCAA tournament. Penn hasn’t earned an NCAA bid since 2007. If the Quakers (19-11 overall, 12-2 in Ancient Eight) can beat Princeton tomorrow (7:30 p.m.), they would earn a tie with Harvard and force a one-game playoff.
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“I said this a few days ago and I’ve said it to everyone lately — this is it,” Rosen said. “It’s all we’ve got. We’ve got to give it everything with the guys we have, and try and go out with a bang. We’ve gotten a little taste of it lately, but we haven’t completed what we came here to do.”
Without Rosen, Penn’s chances of an NCAA bid are virtually gone. Rosen led the way in two wins this past weekend, pacing the Quakers with 19 points in Friday’s 54-43 win over Brown, then scored 20 in Saturday’s 68-47 win over Yale.
Two weeks ago, Rosen scored Penn’s final 16 points in a win at Dartmouth. One night later, he scored the final nine points — including the game-winning free throws with 23.2 seconds left — in a stunning 55-54 victory at Harvard. The Quakers had trailed 49-40 with less than six minutes to play.
“The win over Harvard was a character test for us,” Rosen said. “This group has a chance to do something special. It was a really good moment. We want to make the moment last moving forward.”
Hey NBA, don’t sleep on this one
Can Zack Rosen be the next Jeremy Lin?
The point guard, who is also enrolled in Penn’s famed Wharton School, could be on a similar career path, if he can find a pro team to latch on with.
However, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb feels Rosen could go in the first round of the NBA draft.
“Tough as nails, Rosen has a chance to be a starting point guard, as his shooting and handle off ball-screens continues to improve,” Gottlieb said in December.
Penn coach Jerome Allen has no doubt about Rosen’s potential.
“Zack has the ability to play as well as any other point guard in the nation,” Allen said. “If he continues to work hard, he can play at any level.”