Jule Brown (left) committed to Penn basketball. Courtesy of Philly.com
While the 2014-15 season is far away for Penn basketball, that hasn’t stopped coach Jerome Allen and his staff from peering far into the future. The staff got a commitment a few weeks ago from Lower Merion High School rising senior small forward Jule Brown, a player who many think has strong upside potential. The DP spoke with Brown about his decision to commit to Penn, his playing style and his time at Lower Merion.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What were you looking for during a school during your recruitment and how did Penn ultimately fit that criteria?
Jule Brown: Well first off, I was looking for a school with a great academic makeup and you can’t really go wrong with Penn academic tradition. I was really looking for a school that would push me academically. Second of all, from a basketball standpoint a coaching staff that would push me to be a better player and an even better person.
DP: How did you ultimately come to the decision now, how exactly did it come about?
JB: I was talking to my head coach, coach Downer and I told him that we decided we were going to wait until August to see what else was there. I talked to coach Allen and we’re so similar, we’re from similar backgrounds. I was just talking to him and thinking about all the opportunities that he could provide for me and once I graduate from Penn all the opportunities I could provide for my mother and my grandparents. It was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to wait. I knew from then that that’s where I wanted to go.
DP: What separated Penn in the process from schools like Columbia and Lafayette that offered you as well?
JB: Location. I wanted my mother and my grandparents to be close, that was a plus. Just the familiarity of it, being a local guy, being the first guy from Lower Merion to [play basketball] at Penn was a great honor. I felt like Penn needed some more local guys and I felt like I could be that guy.
DP: Penn in the past couple years has struggled to pick up wins. Did that factor in, the fact that the program has been struggling recently? And how do you think you can make an impact when you come to campus in a year?
JB: That definitely had an impact. Penn’s always been a great basketball school. I’m a little too young to fully understand it, but I know they’ve always had a great basketball tradition. They’re struggling now, but I wanted to be a part of that turnaround. I really believe in coach Allen and coach Bowman and coach Graham and I really believe they can turn it around.
DP: Which coaches were specifically involved in your recruitment early on?
JB: I’ve known coach Polykoff since I was in eighth grade. He tried to get me to go to Friend’s Central [High School] and then when he arrived at Penn he started to recruit me. I’ve been talking to him a lot. I just met coach Graham a couple weeks ago, so I’m not too familiar with him. It was really coach Polykoff who introduced me to Penn.
DP: Have you visited campus and if you have, what were your impressions of campus and the Palestra?
JB: Well the Palestra speaks for itself, you can’t get better than such a historic site. I’ve been around campus, I’ve been coming around there since I was eight, going to all the Penn basketball camps. So I kind of knew what I was going to get from Penn. I love it, everything about it.
DP: In terms of your relationship with coach Allen, what can you say is your impression of him, as well as coach Graham, coach Bowman and the other coaches?
JB: All three of them are down-to-earth guys, they’re all about family. I really believe that they have my best interests and they can really help me grow as a person and as a player. I really felt connected with them, just in the short time I was there hanging out with those guys I felt at home. I can’t say anything bad about them, they just really blew me away and really made me feel at home.
DP: Can you describe yourself as a player and what your strengths and weaknesses are?
JB: I think I’m a player who is going to play hard every single minute. If things aren’t falling for me offensively, I can help you out in other ways. I can rebound, play defense, take charges. Anything that’s in the best interest of the team, I’m ok with that. I’m a very unselfish player, really about the team growth. I play the team’s growth, sometimes ahead of my personal growth.
DP: One of your teammates also has an offer from Penn, so are you going to be trying to get him to join you?
JB: I’m going to be on him, I really think Penn is a great opportunity, that’s why I took it so early. I think he understands the magnitude of that decision and that Penn can really help him in the future for him and his family, so I’m really going to be pushing hard to get him and other local guys to really consider Penn.
DP: Can you describe Lower Merion’s season and how you performed during this past year?
JB: We came off a state championship run the year before and we lost 10 seniors, which is huge. We only had four returning guys from varsity, so we started off 2-6 and around Christmas time we started to turn it around. We won a huge game against Sanford, and I forget the numbers, but we really turned the season around. We made it to the State quarterfinals and lost to La Salle, but that turnaround during the season was huge for our program. We refused to lose, that was our motto. So we really turned the season around and it was really special.
DP: Academically, what were some of your favorite classes you took this past year?
JB: I’m a big fan of history, history’s my favorite subject so US History was really nice for me. History and English are my favorite subjects.
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