With teams a few short weeks away from actual games, here is a collection of off-season stories to catch up on before the start of the 2018-2019 season.
Multiple publications reported Friday that former Penn head coach Jerome Allen pleaded guilty to a bribery-related money laundering charge in Miami federal court this week.
Allen admitted to accepting $18,000 in bribes in 2014 from Morris Esformes, a wealthy Miami Beach businessman who was the father of a then-prospective student, according to multiple outlets. As part of the agreement, Allen will reportedly repay the $18,000 in addition to a $200,000 fine.
Penn fired Allen in March 2015, and he has been assistant coach for the NBA’s Boston Celtics since July 2015. Allen will be suspended from his role as assistant coach by the Celtics for about two weeks, according to the Boston Herald.
Penn Athletics announced in July that it was retaining outside counsel to investigate bribery allegations against Allen, who was the head coach at Penn for six seasons, following reports that Allen took bribes at Penn.
An expanded indictment against Esformes accused him of giving Allen more than $74,000 in the form of cash, a recruiting trip to Miami and a separate ride on a private jet in 2013 and 2014, according to Bloomberg.
Penn Athletics declined comment Saturday on Allen’s guilty plea, adding that it not have any updates on outside counsel’s investigation of Allen.
While Ivy Hoops fans were still processing the disturbing allegation against former Penn men’s coach Jerome Allen, the Columbia Spectator broke the surprising news that rising senior Lukas Meisner had signed a pro contract and would be forgoing his senior year in Morningside Heights. Columbia Athletics posted its own story detailing the move a few minutes later.
Meisner, originally from Braunschweig, inked a contract to go back home to Germany and play for Medi Bayreuth of the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga. The team came in fourth place in the BBL in 2017-2018 and sixth in the German Cup. The 6′ 8″ forward started 24 of 25 games for the Lions in 2017-2018, averaging 27.5 minutes and 11.2 points per game. With his 50 percent overall and 41.7 percent three-point rates, he joined Princeton’s Myles Stephens as the only two Ivy Leaguers to shoot more than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three last year. His 7.5 total rebounds and six defensive boards per contest were tops in the conference and he became the first Columbia player to lead the Ivy League in rebounds since Jim Tubridy in 1994-1995.
Multiple news outlets reported Friday that former Penn coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes while at Penn.
The Miami Herald reported Friday that a Miami Beach businessman has been charged with paying bribes to Allen so his son could be accepted as a “recruited” player to Penn.
The bribery allegations were included in an expanded indictment against Philip Esformes accusing him of giving Allen more than $74,000 in the form of cash, a recruiting trip to Miami and a separate ride on a private jet in 2013 and 2014, according to Bloomberg.
The indictment, which per the Miami Herald expands upon a $1 billion Medicare fraud case that led to Esformes’s arrest two years ago, does not identify the university, coach or student-athlete, Bloomberg noted. But a Justice Department prosecutor, prompted by a question from a Miami federal judge, disclosed Friday that the college listed in the indictment is Penn, the basketball coach is Allen, and the student is Esformes’ son, Morris, according to the Miami Herald.
My range of emotions on Sunday swung from unadulterated joy as I rushed the Palestra floor to celebrate Penn’s 68-65 win over Harvard to mouth-agape shock as I stood in the back of Houston Hall at Penn’s selection show watch party and saw the Quakers on the 16 line against Kansas.
As fellow IHO contributor Steven Tydings and I rode the bus home to New York, I started to think of a plan for the Quakers to do the impossible and topple a No. 1 seed for the first time in men’s NCAA Tournament history.
The basic points of that plan, some of which you’ve probably already heard, are below:
Penn will win if …
Joined by Yale coach James Jones and Ivy Hoops Online’s Princeton beat writer George Clark, IHO editor Mike Tony fills in for Jill Glessner and Brett Franklin as host of Inside Ivy Hoops this week.
Mike and George look back at the Penn men’s 82-65 rout of the Tigers at Jadwin Gym Tuesday night while considering what to expect from Princeton and Penn on both the men’s and women’s sides down the stretch, touting the strength of Ivy women’s basketball and much more:
1. Penn (12-6, 3-0 Ivy)
It says a great deal that, in just his third season at the helm on 33rd Street, that Steve Donahue has turned Penn around to the point that it’s No. 1 in the Ivy Power Poll during league play.
Donahue’s predecessor’s predecessor’s predecessor Fran Dunphy and the Temple Owls still dealt Penn the 11th consecutive loss in the teams’ series Saturday, overcoming a 51-48 deficit with 4:02 to play at the Palestra. Penn went ice cold from deep (8-for-31, 25.8 percent) and notched just 0.81 points per possession against Temple’s stout defense.
Harvard 61 vs Dartmouth 51
An ugly win is still a win. Harvard fans can take comfort in that fact after the Crimson’s home win over the Big Green, a game that was very much up for grabs until Harvard pulled away with 4-for-4 three-point shooting in a 3:54 span late in the game during which Dartmouth was held scoreless, turning a 45-45 tie into a 54-45 cushion. Harvard notched the win despite Bryce Aiken missing nearly the entire game in a brief return from injury after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Harvard committed 19 turnovers, not a particularly good sign. But the Crimson were led by a career-high 12 points from Christian Juzang and 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting from Seth Towns. Harvard entered the game as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country but lit Dartmouth up from deep, going 12-for-25 (48 percent), easily besting Dartmouth’s paltry 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) clip.
Another Ivy graduate transfer
According to a March 28 tweet from Coach Shop, Cole Harrison, a 6’11” center, will graduate Dartmouth this May and seek a graduate transfer for his final season of athletic eligibility. Harrison missed the entire 2016-17 season due to injury. The Brentwood, Tenn. native notched 1.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 5.5 minutes a game over his three seasons in Hanover.
Marketing hoops in China
Sophomore forward Erika Steeves was named one of five Brown student-athletes who earned a Royce Fellowship, which will support Steeves as she works with the NBA, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), and Chinese sport officials to study the growing market for amateur and professional basketball in China.
Columbia women to go south of the border in November
The Columbia women’s basketball team has been invited to participate in the 2017 Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula. In the 10-team tournament, they will be in the 4 team Mayan Division along with Arizona State, Green Bay and 2016 national runner-up Mississippi State. Each of these teams had 20-plus victories in their 2016-17 seasons. While the schedule for the November 23-25 Challenge does not come out until June, the four teams in last year’s Mayan Division played three games in three days against each of the teams in the group. So, the Lions should get their chance to beat the team that ended UConn’s 111-game winning streak.