The Penn Quakers have had a rough six months: after completing their third straight losing season, they fired Coach Jerome Allen and replaced him with Steve Donahue. However, the future looks a bit brighter due to an incoming freshman class that they hope will restore the proud tradition of Penn basketball. CHD’s Jon Teitel recently got to chat with Penn recruit Jake Silpe about why he chose the Quakers and what he knows about his new coach.
Your Cherry Hill East team made it all the way to the Group 4 state final before losing to Paterson Eastside: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? The loss to Paterson Eastside was not really devastating. We wanted to win but we knew going in that we were the underdog. We were just happy to get to the state championship for the first time in Cherry Hill East history: I was very proud of my team.
Eastside’s Shakur Juiston had 18 rebounds and seven steals in the Ghosts’ 50-34 win: how do you think he is going to do at the next level? I only saw Juiston play once so it is hard to say, but he played really well during that game. I think if he keeps improving his game he will be great at the next level.
What other schools were on your short list, and what made you choose Penn? Colgate, Yale, Bucknell and BU. I chose Penn because I wanted to study business and play basketball close to my family, friends, and AAU/high school basketball coaches. I also picked Penn for its great basketball tradition.
Did the firing of Jerome Allen give you any second thoughts? I had no second thoughts. I picked Penn because of Wharton, its location and proximity to my home, and its basketball tradition. I am excited to play at the Palestra and have a chance to play in the Big 5.
What do you know about new coach Steve Donahue? I know that everyone has something good to say about him. He is a Philly guy so a lot of people I know have had experience with him. Tony Sagona, my AAU coach, has a lot of respect for Coach Donahue. When my parents and I met him he made us feel very comfortable, so I look forward to working hard and learning from him.
You played guard in high school: what position will you feel most comfortable at in college? I have always been a point guard: that is the position that is most natural to me.
Which of your fellow incoming Penn recruits are you closest to? I have not formally met any of the recruits yet, but I have played against Collin McManus and Jackson Donahue. My roommate next year will be Max Rothschild and I am looking forward to meeting him and the other freshman recruits.
Four of Penn’s top-eight scorers last year were freshmen: does that encourage you that players can come in and get minutes right away, or does it discourage you because there are four guys who are going to be competing with you for minutes during the next three years? It encourages me.
The Quakers were in the bottom-10 in the nation in field goals, rebounds, and points: which of these areas do you think you can help fix the most? I feel that I can help in all of those categories.
Harvard has made the NCAA tourney in each of the past four years: what will it take to knock off the champs? Harvard is a great basketball team but I am confident that we will have what it takes to beat them.