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 Max Rothschild about why he chose the Quakers and what he knows about his new coach.
You grew up in Chicago: how did you end up at prep school in New Hampshire? My recruiting was not going the way I wanted to during high school. I got a couple of looks from some D-3 schools, but my dream is to play D-1 so I decided to go to prep school on the advice of my AAU coach. I did not agree with it at first but later realized that it was the best option for me.
One of your prep school teammates was Tyler Lydon: how do you think he is going to do at Syracuse? He is underrated right now but has the potential to be a very good player. He is one of my good friends: with his length and shooting ability I know he is going to be hard to guard.
What other schools were on your short list, and what made you choose Penn? The school that wanted me the most was New Hampshire and I really liked them because they are a good shool, but I wanted to go an elite academic school. When Penn made me an offer I knew it was exactly what I wanted. I also got some calls from Appalachian State and Furman.
Did the firing of Jerome Allen give you any second thoughts? I thought he was a great coach: he was the one who offered me a spot on the team. My current coach said it was a possibility that Coach Allen might get fired, but I knew I could find a way to play under any circumstances.
What do you know about new coach Steve Donahue? I have talked to him and his resume is great. I met him on my official visit a couple of weeks ago and he is a very knowledgeable coach. He is a Philly guy who has previously spent time at Penn and will be great for the program. His style of play will allow me to fit into the system very well.
You played forward in high school: what position will you feel most comfortable at in college? I am pretty sure I will be a four, but I think I could play the three or five if they wanted me to. I am willing to do whatever it takes and have the versatility to play any frontcourt position.
Which of your fellow incoming Penn recruits are you closest to? I did not know any of them originally but my roommate next year will be Jake Silpe. I have been texting Tyler Hamilton a lot and I think he is going to be a great player: both he and I went to prep school so we have something in common.
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? The best part about the team is that we are so young, but every year is different. I see it as an opportunity to play as a freshman, whether my contribution is through scoring or on the defensive end. It is encouraging to me to see freshmen who get to play right away.
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? It was a rough year but it will be a new beginning next year. The one area where I can help out the most is rebounding. I will also try to get my teammates fired up with hustle plays like taking a charge or blocking a shot (a la Kurt Rambis).
Harvard has made the NCAA tourney in each of the past four years: what will it take to knock off the champs? Harvard has been very good and I respect their program, but if it is the right night and we play the right way I know that we can beat anyone in the league. We are not scared of anyone and I am excited for the year ahead as we try to bring a championship back to the Palestra.