Penn head coach Steve Donahue gestures during practice on Oct. 8, 2015. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Stephen Pianovich (@SPianovich)
Penn will start the Steve Donahue era near the bottom of the Ivy League, at least in the eyes of some of the conference’s media.
The Quakers were picked seventh in the eight-team league in the Preseason Ivy League media poll, which was released Wednesday. Yale topped the poll for the first time in its history and received five first-place votes. Both Columbia and Princeton garnered six first-place votes, but were picked second and third, respectively.
Penn went 9-19 last season, stumbled to a 4-10 mark in conference play and was tied for last in the league with Brown. It was the third consecutive season with fewer than 10 wins for the Quakers, historically one of the two strongest programs in the league along with Princeton.
Donahue, taking over for Jerome Allen, is taking over a team that returns nearly all of its contributors from last season and brings in a class of five freshmen. The Quakers have a deep backcourt that features senior Tony Hicks, who has averaged double figures in scoring in all three of his seasons with Penn and led the team with 13.2 ppg in 2014-15.
The preseason favorite Bulldogs return the defending Ivy League Player of the Year in senior forward Justin Sears, who averaged 14.3 ppg and 7.5 rpg. Columbia has two potential All-Ivy candidates in guard Maodo Lo (18.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and forward Alex Rosenberg, who sat last year out with an injury but averaged 16.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg two years ago as a junior.
Princeton is led by junior guard Spencer Weisz (11.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and senior forward Hans Brase (11.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), as well as sophomore guard Amir Bell (8.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
Here’s the complete preseason poll with first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Yale (5) – 117 points
2. Columbia (6) – 114
3. Princeton (6) – 108
4. Harvard – 96
5. Brown – 54
6. Dartmouth – 50
7. Penn – 48
8. Cornell - 25