Penn guard Darnell Foreman dribbles up the court at the Palestra.
(Ilana Wurman/ The Daily Pennsylvanian)
Chris Hadfield, who was the first Canadian astronaut in space, said that “leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter.”
Penn's senior guard and team captain Darnell Foreman displayed these values with his ability to bounce back from a personally underwhelming first half in Penn's game against Toledo last Friday.
Foreman ended the first half with just 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. These numbers are especially frustrating because Foreman is one of the pillars of Penn's team. This trend of shaky first halves has, unfortunately, plagued Foreman throughout the past five games.
Since Penn's game against Howard (12/4), Foreman has scored an average of roughly 28% of his total points per game in the first half. As for assists and rebounding, the Camden native dished out an average of around 42% of his total assists and about 45% of his total rebounds within the first twenty minutes as well. The rest has come in the second halves.
Foreman's numbers don’t stack up well against other premier Ivy guards. Princeton's Devin Cannady and Brown's Brandon Anderson are two guards who have similar skill sets and styles of play as Foreman, but have played much more effectively in the first halves of their last five games.
Since Brown's game against Central Connecticut (12/2), fellow 6-foot-1 guard Brandon Anderson, has totaled an average of around 45% of his total points in the first 20 minutes of the game. In addition, Brown's sophomore guard produced roughly 57% of his total assists and snatched up approximately 53% of his total rebounds in the first half.
Even though Anderson's numbers would indicate that he is a good first half player, fellow 6-foot-1 guard Devin Cannady’s numbers reveal that he blows his competitors out of the water.
Since Princeton's game against Cal Poly (12/16), Indiana native Devin Cannady has scored an average of 54% of his total points before halftime. The former All-Ivy Honorable Mention typically passed 60% of his total assists and collected close to 65% of his total rebounds during this period of the game.
While establishing a lead in a game is important, fighting to grab the lead from behind is a feat that proves what kind of player you are. The second halves of the last five games, when the Quakers have gone 4-1, have been where Foreman has shined brightest. More importantly, he has been a spark plug for the team when the pressure has been on.
Foreman's ability to lead by example is uncanny. The former South Jersey Times Player of the Year has scored more second half points in the last five games than Dartmouth guard Miles Wright who sits nine places above Foreman in the Ivy's points per game category. Wright also measures four inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than Foreman.
However, being a leader isn't just about personal success. Foreman is more than willing to incorporate his teammates in possible scoring opportunities as well.
Foreman has been one of the best passers in the Ivy since his sophomore year. The former Ivy League Rookie of the Week has placed in the top 15 of the Ivy in assists per game in his last three years of play. This year, he placed fifth in the Ivy, averaging more than 3.5 assists per game, and fourth in assist percentage with 24%.
Looking back at his last five games, Foreman had more second half assists (9) than anyone on his team and even Brandon Anderson, who is a place above him in assists per game category in the Ivy.
Even more impressive, Foreman has more second half assists in the last five games than Boston College's star guard Ky Bowman, who has found his way into the NCAA's top 50 players in assists per game. Bowman also managed to lead his team to victory over a No. 1 ranked Duke team. Foreman's ability to be a playmaker down the stretch has proved important for head coach Steve Donahue, providing him with stability at the point guard position.
In addition to second half statistical achievements, Foreman showed what coach Donahue means when he says he “needs a certain amount of grittiness” from his players. Foreman took this into his own hands in their most recent battle against Toledo.
Down for much of the half, Foreman took charge and even put his body on the line when he flew into his bench in an effort to recover a basketball. He fought until the last possible second, scoring Penn's final point of the game. He tallied a team-high 12 second half points, along with 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists in 16 minutes. While Penn came up short, Foreman's energy was one of the few bright spots down the stretch. His aggressiveness and ability to create was a large reason why the Quakers stayed in the game even as Toledo shot the ball well from the field in the second half (72% from the field).
The bottom line is that Foreman is the floor general of the Penn Quakers, and rightfully so. He leads his team through adversity while overcoming his own struggles and seamlessly manages to incorporate his teammates into successful scoring situations. And even though Penn may have lost against Toledo, they know that they can rely on their selfless leader “especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter.”
-Penn loses to Kansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament