- Cornell’s Matt Morgan was the male recipient of the Charles H. Moore Outstanding Senior Varsity Athlete Award at the school’s annual senior athletics banquet. The two-time first team All-Ivy guard ended his career with 2,333 points, the most in program history and second best in Ivy League history, trailing only Hall of Famer Bill Bradley of Princeton (2,503).
Five months after former men’s coach Jerome Allen reportedly pled guilty to accepting a bribe from a Florida businessman, Philip Esformes, to place Esformes’s son Morris Esformes on the recruited athletes list, he testified late last week and provided more information than had been previously reported. Details of his testimony can be found at the Miami Herald, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Law360.
Among the bombshells reported by Law360:
On Tuesday afternoon, Penn’s Dr. M. Grace Calhoun, director of athletics and recreation, held a press conference to announce that Penn Athletics secured a sponsorship with Macquarie Investment Management. The multi-faceted agreement is highlighted by the group’s presenting sponsorship of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as naming rights to the Palestra’s famed court.
Calhoun refused to disclose the length and value of the deal but noted the partnership is for several years and is the largest such agreement in the history of Penn Athletics.
Typically, a presenting sponsor attaches its name to a product. With respect to the “Cathedral of Basketball”, the hardwood will now permanently be known as “Macquarie Court at the Palestra.” Calhoun noted, iin response to questions from Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com and reporters form the Daily Pennsylvanian, that having a corporate name linked directly with the fabled arena was not an option. However, she did admit that the school’s famed football stadium, Franklin Field, and the Penn Relays could be considered for a deal in the future.
As Ivy Hoops coverage dwindles across the digital world like Princeton’s winning percentage, I have returned to the dismay of many and the delight of few for yet another year of Penn Basketball coverage for IHO. Therefore, I will now channel another Philly hero, Sylvester Stallone, and pick up exactly where the team left off last season.
It is ironic that Steve Donahue has become our new head coach.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with the choice. After all, this has to be his dream job. A Philly guy with Quaker DNA who has a deep respect, if not love, for the hoop traditions of the city, returns as leader to the campus that once nurtured his coaching skills as a young assistant. In fact, he was so enamored with his new position that in his introductory press conference he said, “This place is one that has everything I ever wanted in an institution. I am a Big 5 coach. There are only five of us. To imagine that I am one of them, at this institution, is just incredible.”
The Steve Donahue era is here, and it’s almost palpable with Thursday’s release of the 2015-16 Penn basketball schedule.
And it’s interesting, though not much different from past schedules. We have the obligatory homecoming trip, this time a trip home at Washington on Sat., Nov. 21 for senior center Darien Nelson-Henry and junior guard Matt Poplawski both of whom are from the Seattle area. Good for them, and good on the program for providing that Evergreen State opportunity.
What’s not so obligatory? Playing at Drexel.
That’s right, the Daskalakis Athletic Center, where Steve Bilsky forbade the Quakers from playing during his run as athletic director, excepting one 2008 matchup.
As an outstanding people person who the Philadelphia Inquirer correctly noted that no one wanted to see fired as Penn head coach in March, Jerome Allen was likely to find a decent assistant coaching gig outside the confines of the Palestra.
But was anybody expecting this?
After the March 29 decommitment of Penn recruit Jule Brown, in a stunning reversal of fortune, the rest of the entire 2015 recruiting class for the Quakers has decided to decommit as well. Colin McManus, Jake Silpe, Tyler Hamilton, Jackson Donahue, Max Rothschild and Morris Esformes, all called new head coach Steve Donahue to inform him of their decision.
“I don’t know what to say,” a bewildered Coach Donahue told IHO. “But I made it to the Sweet Sixteen with a bunch of state-funded douchebags from Cornell, I think I can make it the Final Four with the team we got here now. This is Philly basketball. You think Kentucky can handle Darien Nelson-Henry? I wish the young guys well.”
Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun was also sanguine.
“Ah, no comment at this time,” Calhoun said.
Then, in even more stunning news, all six are now reportedly matriculating at Harvard. When reached for comment on his yacht, coach Tommy Amaker was noncommittal.
“You know, I was like just sittin’ here watchin’ Duke in the NCAAs and like, all these Penn kids start callin’ me up and said they wanted to come here,” Amaker said. “At first, I was like, ‘This is a joke, right?’, but they told me they wanted to play JV ball here. I dunno, things just come to me what can I tell ya.”
Now that Harvard has been vanquished by North Carolina, Ivy basketball is officially over for the summer. Since no one is still playing, you could say we are all equally impotent—or are we? Thus, I give you the first annual IHO Powerless Poll. Naturally, as is my custom, I will rank teams according to how I view them from most feeble to strongest.
8. Cornell: Now that Shonn Miller is headed to some Power 5 school, the natural order of the Ivy will magically be restored and the Red can return to their rightful place at the bottom. Yes, Bill Courtney did make a nice recovery from the disaster that was the 2013-14 season, but success in Ithaca is as fleeting as the four days of summer that town is allotted each year. Look out below.
It had to go off perfectly.
The hiring of Steve Donahue as Penn’s next head coach was the second major decision that M. Grace Calhoun had to make since coming on as Penn’s athletic director, and it will prove to be – for better or worse – the defining decision of her tenure. And thus, everything had to be perfect.
After all, people had their doubts. Former coach Jerome Allen had left the fan base with a bad taste in its mouth, from his questionable hiring by former athletic director Steve Bilsky, to the questionable manner in which he was dismissed by Calhoun just weeks ago.
In the same way that people surrounding the program feared that the administration had done its due diligence, those same people had a wealth of questions about Donahue. To the naysayers, the pros – his years as a Penn assistant, his three-year run of Ivy League dominance that included him leading a Cornell team to the Sweet 16 – are overshadowed by the cons.