The Top 5 in 25 is a series that will run through next week chronicling the top five players since the 1987-1988 season. We will be releasing all six schools in the next few days.
Click here to read Drexel’s Top 5 in 25 by Kevin Rossi.
Penn basketball has had its fair share of ups and downs, just like any other program in the country. The ups include the 20′s, with two National Championship appearances, the 70′s, where Penn dominated Ivy League Basketball, winning eight Ivy titles, five Sweet 16 appearances, and one Final Four in 1979. Even though the program’s glory days are well behind them, many great players have put on the Red and Blue uniform over the past 25 years. Who were these great players? Here are the Top 5 players that have played for the Quakers in the past 25 years:
Guard: Jerome Allen (1991-1995):
Jerome Allen, now the Head Coach, had a combined record of 85-24 during his four-year tenure as a player for the Quakers. He is ninth on Penn’s all-time leading scorers list, with 1,488 points. He is second to only Zack Rosen on the all-time assists list at Penn, with 505.
Allen led the Quakers to 42 straight Ivy League wins (conference record) and three Ivy championships through 1992-1995. The Quakers lost only three games in ’93-’94, and defeated Nebraska in the first round of the NCAA tournament 90-80. Penn cracked the AP poll that season for the first time since 1949, and finished #25 in the USA Today poll. Jerome Allen and Mike Maloney were the force behind the magical three years, averaging a combined 30 points per game in their final two seasons (’94 and ’95).
After Penn, Allen was selected in the 2nd round of the 1995 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then played in the NBA from 1995-1997 and overseas from 1997-2009. He took the head coaching job at Penn in 2009, and has resurrected the program ever since.
Guard: Zack Rosen (2008-2012):
Zack Rosen, the latest Quaker to make the list, had a brilliant career at Pennsylvania. During his four-year career, Rosen accumulated 1,723 points, third best on Penn’s all-time leading scorers list. The two-time (2011 & 2012) Ivy League Player of the Year is also the school’s all-time leader in games started (115), minutes played (4,198), and assists (588).
His ability to handle the basketball, find teammates, and drive the lane were uncanny and exceptional. Rosen is also known for his poise and shots in the clutch. During his last two years at Penn, Rosen averaged 16.3 points and 5.3 assists per game. Zack Rosen’s signature move was his 3-point shot, shooting it at 41 percent between his junior and senior seasons. Although the Quakers didn’t make an appearance in the NCAA tournament or win the Ivy League title, Rosen led Penn to its first postseason victory since 1994 with a 74-63 win over Quinnipiac in the first round of the 2012 College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Overall, Zack Rosen helped bring Quakers Basketball back to relevance again. He recently signed with Hapoel Holon, a professional team in Israel.
Forward: Matt Langel (1997-2000):
Over the 25 years, there have been many brilliant guards that put on the Red and Blue uniform, but rarely has there been forwards with the talent and success that Matt Langel, Mark Zoeller, and Ugonna Onyekwe had.
Langel’s trademark, like Rosen, was his 3-pointer. He stands fourth in career 3-pointers made in Penn Basketball history with 201. Langel led the Quakers to Ivy League titles in his junior and senior seasons, finishing with a 27-1 Ivy record (42-14 overall) in that stretch.
Langel also shot the 3-pointer at 50 percent (45-90) in his sophomore season (’97-’98), and 43 percent (201-498) overall. His most memorable game was February 5th, 2000 against Brown, where he knocked down eight three pointers, two shy of the school record.
Currently, Matt Langel is the Head Coach at Colgate University in the Patriot League. He was an assistant coach at Penn from 2004-2006 and Temple from 2006-2011. He played overseas for three seasons before starting his coaching career.
Forward: Mark Zoller (2003-2007):
Zoller was a steady forward at Penn who could also be a big-time scorer. He averaged 18.2 points per game in his senior season and 12.4 overall. Zoller was one of the better rebounders in Penn history, averaging 6.5 in his career, ninth all-time in Quaker history. Among many more feats, Zoller had 141 career steals (fourth all-time) and 1,429 career points (10th all-time). As a senior in 2006-07, he led the Ivy League in scoring (18.2 points per game) and was second in the conference in rebounding (7.5 rpg).
Here’s a video of Penn’s 76-74 victory over Temple in 2007, where Zoller scored 19 points and hit the game winning free-throws:
Zoller never won the Ivy League Player of the Year award, mostly because of Ibby Jaaber winning it in their junior and senior seasons. However, he was named to First Team All-Ivy twice and is definitely one of the best forwards for Penn in the past 25 years.
Forward/Center: Ugonna Onyekwe (1999-2003):
Ugonna Onyekwe is second all-time on Penn’s scoring list with 1,762 points, second to the great Ernie Beck (1951-1953, 1,827 points). He is a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, and was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1999-2000. In the past 25 years, Ugonna Onyekwe is the leading rebounder in Penn history with 759. He is also second all-time in Penn history in blocked shots, with 139, and has played 118 games, tied with David Klatsky for first all-time in Quakers history.
Even though he is listed as a Small Forward in professional basketball, Onyekwe was a force in the paint during his stay in Philadelphia. Now, at age 33, he is 6’8, 228 pounds. Like any big man, Onyekwe didn’t have the jump shot that others had, but his ability to get to the basket, defend, and rebound the basketball make him one of the best in Quakers history.
Currently, Ugonna Onyekwe is playing international basketball in Spain. He has played overseas since he graduated from Penn.
- Guard: Matt Maloney (1992-1995): 20th all-time on Penn’s scoring list with 1,191 points. Maloney and Allen led Penn to 42 straight Ivy League wins, three Ivy titles and NCAA tournament Appearances. Second all-time in three pointers made in Penn Basketball history. He went on to have a solid career in the NBA, playing from 1996-2003 with the Rockets, Bulls, and Hawks. Now 41, Maloney has retired from professional basketball.
Guard: Ibrahim (Ibby) Jaaber (2003-2008): Two-Time Ivy League Player of the Year. All-time leader in steals at Penn and in the Ivy League. Averaged 13.3 points per game during his four years at Penn. Led the Quakers to three Ivy titles and NCAA tournament appearances. Played overseas from 2007-2011 and for the Bulgarian national team.
- Forward: Paul Romanczuk (1996-1999): Romanczuk took over the reins after Maloney and Allen graduated after the ’94-’95 season. He averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds per game during his four years at Penn. In 1998-1999, Romanczuk’s senior season, the Quakers advanced to the NCAA tournament, falling to Florida 75-61. After Penn, Romanczuk took the job at Archbishop Carroll, where he is now.
Latest posts by Teddy Bailey (see all)
- #17 Butler 70, Penn 57: Roosevelt’s 24 points helps Butler sneak past Quakers - January 2, 2013
- Penn State 58, Penn 47: Hicks scores 10 in loss - December 1, 2012
- Saturday preview: Quakers will be tested against Newbill, Penn State - November 30, 2012