Men's Basketball Announces Incoming Class

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Steve Donahue, has announced his recruiting class for the upcoming 2017-18 season. Five men will join the Quakers’ men’s basketball roster this season as freshmen.

“My staff and I are extremely excited for this incoming class of freshmen,” said Donahue, who enters his third season at the Quakers’ helm. “Throughout each of their recruitments, we felt that our entire coaching staff developed strong relationships with them and their families. We feel extremely confident that these five young men will have a tremendous impact over the course of their four years at Penn. We also believe they are the type of individuals who could immediately contribute to our growing success as we continue to build toward an Ivy League championship. I cannot wait until we can start working with them in the fall!”

Penn finished the 2016-17 season by advancing to the inaugural Ivy League Tournament as the fourth seed and nearly knocking off top-seeded Princeton before falling in overtime in a semifinal. The Quakers return 12 letter winners from last year’s team while losing just one.

JELANI WILLIAMS
6-5 / 195
Washington, D.C. / Sidwell Friends School
High School: Four-year letter winner, three-year captain in basketball at Sidwell Friends … Team went 22-6 and won Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) championship his senior year … All-MAC First Team as a sophomore and junior, missed much of his senior year due to injury … Honorable mention Washington Post All-Met as a junior.
Personal: Son of Alison and Kyle Williams … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

JARROD SIMMONS
6-8 / 220
Crescent, Pa. / Moon Area
High School: Lettered in basketball and football, captain of both … His basketball coach at Moon Area High School was Adam Kaufman, at Cushing Academy (Mass.) it was Michael Wolf … As a senior, helped Moon Area to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) championship with a 21-6 record … Named WPIAL Section Player of the Year and first-team WPIAL All-Section … Also earned first-team Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) All-State honors … At Cushing, named second-team All-New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) in 2015-16 as he helped lead his team to a 19-7 record and the NEPSAC Class AA championship game … Helped Cushing go 26-5 and win the NEPSAC Class AA title in 2013-14 … Michael Trella Scholarship recipient … Students Against Destructive Decisions Club member … Student Diversity Leadership Conference representative … High School Proctor … Student Faculty Senate member … Has participated in three Domestic Youth Mission trips.
Personal: Son of Tawanna and Sean Simmons … Father ran track at Seton Hall and won a title at Penn Relays with the Pirates … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

EDDIE SCOTT
6-6 / 195
Bowie, Md. / Gonzaga College HS
High School: Four-year letter winner in basketball … High school coach was Steve Turner … As a senior captain, led Gonzaga to a 32-5 record and championships in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and DC State Athletic Association … The Eagles also won tournament titles at the DC Classic in December and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament (ACIT) in March … Second-team All-WCAC and honorable mention Washington Post All-Met as a senior and earned the team’s Unsung Hero Award … Gonzaga also won the WCAC title in 2015, Scott’s sophomore year … Student Body Vice President.
Personal: Son of Deborah and Edward Scott Sr. … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

MARK JACKSON
7-3 / 245
Salt Lake City, Utah / East
High School: Graduated from East High School in 2015, spent the last two years on a Mormon Mission … Lettered four times in basketball, once in tennis … Captain of the basketball team as a senior … High school basketball coach was Skip Lowe … Earned 4A All-State and first-team All-Region in basketball as a senior … In tennis, named Academic All-Region as a senior … National Honor Society member … Honor Roll student … AP Scholar … Interact Service Club Vice President.
Personal: Son of Christine and Brian Jackson … Enrolled in the Wharton School of Business.

GRIFFIN HALPERN
5-11 / 165
Woodbury, N.Y. / Syosset
High School: Lettered three times each in basketball and soccer, two-year captain for both … High school basketball coach was Greg Cardona … In basketball, named Nassau Conference AA-1 Player of the Year … Also a two-time all-county and honorable mention all-state selection … In soccer, named all-conference and all-county … Honor roll student … National Honor Society member … Spanish Honor Society member … Scholar Athlete of the Conference in both soccer and basketball … News 12 Scholar Athlete recipient.
Personal: Son of Lauren and Jonathan Halpern … Father played basketball at Cornell from 1986-90, while mother played lacrosse at the University of Maryland … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.