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01182014_MensBasketballvStJoe Credit: Yuzhong Qian , Yuzhong Qian

Penn basketball has a strong recruiting class for next season highlighted by a couple strong guards and small forward Jule Brown. Brown's AAU teammate — point guard Jake Silpe — looks to be one of Penn's next top ball-handlers and the Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with him last week about the recruiting process and, among other things, Zack Rosen. Here's what the New Jersey native had to say...

Daily Pennsylvanian: To start things off, you committed to Penn on the heels of Jule Brown’s commitment. What’s your relationship with Jule like and how did he factor into your decision?

Jake Silpe: Me and Jule Brown , we’ve been playing together for a while. I remember we played the summer when I was going to be a sophomore on the Jersey Shore Warriors 16 and under team, and that’s when I first met him. From there we just had great chemistry together and we became great friends on and off the court. Recently — we were playing together for the past three years — we had a really good AAU season together when we played last summer. When he committed he told me all the great things about the school and I went to visit I saw all the same things. I’m very happy to play with him. He’s a great player and a great teammate.

DP: What were you looking for in a school and what separated Penn from the other places you were looking at?

JS: What I was looking for is a school with a great basketball tradition that has high level academics. I’m looking to be a business major and you can’t get any better than the Wharton School . I was also looking for a school that’s competing to win a championship. I’m all about competing. Jule is on the team, so I know a good teammate, and we have two other good commitments in our class. And just good coaching and the tradition at Penn is like no other.

DP: When did you go on your official visit and what did you do with the coaches then?

JS: I took an unofficial visit late July and I haven’t taken my official visit yet. I believe I’m taking it next month with Jule.

DP: What’s your relationship like with the coaching staff? Did any coaches in particular help contribute to your commitment?

JS: Most of my recruiting came through coach [Mike] Lintulahti. We had a very good past. I went to the Penn camp when I was a sophomore — before he was an assistant at Penn — and he was my coach, and we developed a good relationship. He coached me for a little bit at that camp and then he was hired as an assistant coach. He’s a great guy and a great coach. I like all the coaching staff. I like coach Jerome Allen, coach [Ira] Bowman and coach [Nat] Graham.

DP: Outside of Jule, have you interacted with a lot of players in your recruiting class?

JS: I’ve played against a lot of them. I played against Colin McManus and Jackson Donahue for the past two years. They’ve both very good, and I’m excited to play with them.

DP: Have you had any interactions with players currently on the team?

JS: I played against Mike Auger and Darnell Foreman (2014 commits). Darnell played in South Jersey with me so I played against him a bunch of times and we became really close recently.

DP: Penn basketball has struggled over the past couple years and coach Allen has been under a lot of scrutiny. How did that affect you during the recruiting process?

JS: I wasn’t worried about what happened in the past. People were saying like "Penn is going downhill and everything," I was more looking towards the future. I decided on going to Penn because I believe our future is bright, and I want to be on a team that starts now, moving our way up. I’m optimistic about our future.

DP: What did the coaching staff tell you about how you’ll fit into the team?

JS: Coach basically said that nothing is given to anyone. He said they needed a true point guard for Penn and a leader, and that’s what I’m going to do for the team.

DP: How would you describe yourself as a player? Strengths and weaknesses?

JS: I’m a true point guard I believe, so my strengths are my passing ability, my defense and my leadership. Just being a floor general and controlling the game. I’m a playmaker. Something I’m working on is my pull-up shot and my three-point shot. Shooting over screens, after screens.

DP: What are some of your goals for your final high school season?

JS: Last year we won our first sectional title in 45 years. So this year, I want to do the same and make our way to the state championship.

DP: Are there any players you try to model your game after?

JS: I have a very recent close friend of mine, Zack Rosen . He’s a former Penn player, and now he’s in Israel. He took me under his wing and showed me a few things. I had a couple of workouts with him. I’m learning from him. He’s my role model right now and always will be .

DP: New Jersey or Pennsylvania?

JS: New Jersey.

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