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Friday, July 22, 2005

Transfer's GPA Should Help New Team More Than His PPG

This one's just too good to resist.

About three years ago, the University of Pennsylvania had recruited two hotshot post players from national HS programs. One, Steve Danley, has turned into a nice center (he'll be a junior in the fall) -- he played his HS ball at the famed DeMatha Catholic program in Hyattsville, Maryland. The other, and perhaps more highly touted, was Ryan Pettinella, a forward from one of the top five HS teams in the country, McQuaid Jesuit out of Rochester, NY. Pettinella didn't do much for most of his freshman year, came on strong at the end, and was in Penn's rotation last year (Penn's rotation consisted of a 6'8" center (Danley), a 6'6" SF and three guards (6'3" and above) and two big forwards, graduated senior Jan Fikiel and Pettinella. Pettinella showed some fire last year, but he still looked unpolished offensively.

And apparently he wasn't happy at Penn, so he announced his intention to transfer. Initial speculation was on A-10 school St. Bonaventure, which is close to his Rochester home. That might have made some sense, as would have a transfer to a school with decent hoops and a good academic reputation.

But both were not to be.

Ryan Pettinella has transferred to the University of Cincinnati.

Now, to be fair, Pettinella is entitled to his decision, Cincinnati has some good academic programs, and Bob Huggins does know how to coach hoops. But, the program has been known as a renegade program, and it isn't as though relatively slow-footed Ivy hoopsters intuitively have a place in a program that is known for having outstanding athletes. You could ask that if Pettinella had such a good game coming out of HS, why didn't he go to a good national school that played a tough schedule and featured solid academics, such as Rice, Tulane, Vanderbilt, and many others. For whatever reason, he didn't do that, and I ask the Penn cognoscenti who sometimes read this blog to weigh in on what Pettinella's choices were coming out of HS. You wouldn't think that Cincinnati was one of them (then again, when kids do transfer, frequently they transfer to schools that did recruit them hard out of HS).

I ask the Cincinnati fans who might read this post (and there are those of you out there) what Cincinnati is thinking by inking Pettinella. Is Huggins convinced that Pettinella is a player, or is he throwing a bone to University President Nancy Zimpfer, about whom I've blogged before, by bringing in a player who definitely is a "scholar-athlete?" (Reports out of Cincinnati is that Zimpfer wants Huggins out, and the two definitely are photographed together frequently -- Zimpfer, reports indicate, wants to enhance Cincinnati's image and doesn't necessarily believe that Huggins helps the school's brand name).

I wish Ryan Pettinella well at his new school. Here's to hoping that he'll find the appropriate balance between basketball and school that apparently eluded him at Penn.

It's just that when you hear of a HS kid's decisions, usually when he's considering to play for Penn he might be considering a few scholarship schools, Princeton and a couple of other Ivies. Cincinnati doesn't usually figure into the mix.

Until now.

Just don't expect that if Frank Sullivan were to leave his post coaching Harvard that Bob Huggins would make the short list (were he in need of employment). True, Harvard did lure Cincinnati's then-outstanding football coach, Tim Murphy, to Cambridge about ten years ago, with outstanding results. Then again, Murphy wasn't compared to Jackie Sherrill in the press the way Huggins occasionally draws a comparison to Jerry Tarkanian.

So watch out, Ivy League, as your top recruits might also be on Cincinnati's list.


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