10 Questions With Doug Penno

Doug Penno graduated from Miami in 2007. He would likely have been known only as solid player on some of Charlie Coles' best teams. However, he will always be a household name among Miami fans after his miracle bank shot at the title game buzzer to give Miami the MAC tournament title over the Akron Zips. Penno was kind enough to talk with RedHawk Insider after a summer league game.

Doug Penno graduated from Miami in 2007. He would likely have been known only as solid player on some of Charlie Coles' best teams. However, he will always be a household name among Miami fans after his miracle bank shot at the title game buzzer to give Miami the MAC tournament title over the Akron Zips. The win sent Miami to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.

After graduation, Penno spent much of his time over the past year preparing himself for a shot at the NFL. He also has a trip to Israel planned soon and is looking for a college basketball coaching position for this next season.

Currently this summer, Penno is playing for Brick Street in the Deveroes summer basketball league at Cincinnati Woodward High School. Brick Street, sponsored by the bar with the same name in Oxford, features players with Miami connections. Besides Penno, there are former players Nate Peavy and Danny Horace. Returning Miami players Tyler Dierkers and Carl Richburg are the team captains. In addition, incoming freshmen Julian Mavunga and Vince Legarza are playing for Brick Street. Another incoming freshman, Kramer Soderberg, would have played but for an injury. Kenny Hayes (Goodies) and Sean Mock (Stan Litz Law Office) are also playing in Deveroes for other teams.

Penno was kind enough to talk with RedHawk Insider after one of his Brick Street games.

Alright Doug, tell me what is going on with you?

I am working basketball camps. I am also trying to find a graduate assistant spot with a college basketball program. I preferred if it was Division I. But as it goes on it gets harder and harder. It looks like there is an opportunity with Clemson which is still Division I or Pace University which is Division II. So that is what I am trying to figure out right now. I am going to Israel in August for two weeks with Athletes in Action (AIA), so I am getting prepared for that. I am making a trip out to Seattle to see a former RedHawk Chad Troyer. So I am looking forward to seeing Chad. That is about it; that is all I am doing.

Tell us about the Israel trip.

It is a two week trip. During the day we are hiking and going to different sites. A lot of bible study and things like that. At night, we are playing. Two or three of us each are being put on Palestinian pro league teams and will be playing with them for two weeks. At the end there is a big tournament to round it out.

You had a dream of playing in the NFL and have been working out the past year. What is the status of that?

To be in my spot where you are a relatively unknown and to try to make it you need a lot of luck. The cards really weren't falling my way. I gave it a shot for a year and I wasn't really getting any sniffs. So I decided just to call it a wrap and move onto bigger and better things.

Were you sending videos out or trying out?

At Miami's Pro Day my numbers might have been alright for a guy that might have been playing football for four years. But since I have been out of it for five years, they just weren't good enough. So ultimately, I didn't get any looks. There was a guy from the Raiders who was supposed to come through and he didn't really help like I thought he would. Like I said, things weren't really going my way.

Other than Kent State's Antonio Gates, has anyone else gone from college basketball to the NFL without playing football in college?

There is one guy, I can't think of his name right now, played basketball for Bradley, then went to play for the Lions and then the Seahawks. I can't think of his name right now. Tony Gonzalez is a guy. Marcus Pollard, that is the guy (from Bradley) that I was trying to think of. Those three are the only three that I can really think of.

Is (your brother) Joe (Penno) looking at any schools early now?

Joe is just trying to get his life going. The last thing he is thinking about is college. He is still trying to figure out what sport he wants to play. But hey, Joe is starting to get pretty good. I coached him at Alter's (High School) camp. He's got a nice J. He's getting to the hoop really well. Yeah, he is "rising freshman Joe Penno." (laughter)

You got a chance today to play with Miami incoming freshman Julian Mavunga and Vince Legarza. What are your thoughts about them?

They are going to help a lot. With Vince, from the little that I saw, you can't tell much from five minutes of play in a game like this. This does not translate to the season as we've seen before. Vince is a guy I think will be a project. He has a big body. Looks like he just needs a little polishing. Julian is a guy I think can help right away. He is so big and a little slow of foot. But that will come. You won't notice that as much once he starts getting smarter with the ball and everything. But yeah, he's good man! I had fun playing with him today and look forward to playing with him some more.

How do you think Miami will be this year?

I think they will be tough. We say every year that we cannot see how we could not get back to the (NCAA) tournament. Each year it always seems like we are coming back with a better team than the year before. Losing Tim (Pollitz) obviously is going to be tough. I think they have got some guys who are going to fill in nice. It will be more shots for Mike (Bramos), more shots for Kenny Hayes. I think it will be good. I think as long as they get their defense back to where it needs to be, I think they will be a force.

Who will be the surprise this season?

I want to say Rodney Haddix. He had a tough time with his shoulder this year. Good guy who can come in and help a lot. I don't know how much people are expecting of Eric Pollitz, but I think he is raring for a very great senior year.

Let me ask you about the shot from a different angle. How did it feel to make it against those (University of) Akron guys who were on Lebron's team at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce)?

It felt great to hit it against those Akron kids who beat me in high school. Just in high school, they got to me my senior year, ended our high school season on a sour note. It was nice to end their college career on that note. It did not have as much to do with Lebron as much it did with Romeo and Dru. They were kind of a thorn. Well, not really a thorn, but we had some great games over our careers. It was great to hit the shot to send them out of the dance. That really felt good.


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