By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team will open its 2015-16 season on Friday evening as they host Robert Morris.

This will also be the first game for new head coach Steve Doanhue, who takes over for Jerome Allen. While this is Donahue’s first year as head coach at Penn, he is a very familiar face to Philadelphia basketball and Ivy League fans.

Donahue is a Delaware County native who spent a decade as an assistant at Penn under Fran Dunphy. He then took over at Cornell as a head coach and had a great run with the Big Red, winning three Ancient 8 titles. In 2010, he took Cornell to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. That success led to a four-year stint as the head coach at Boston College. Now, Donahue is back in Philadelphia and ready to get the regular season started with the Quakers.

“I’m thrilled to be back and everything’s been great,” Donahue tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s a great place, kids have worked extremely hard, I think there is a great buy-in and, like everyone else, I’m excited to get going.”

Listen to the entire interview with Penn’s Steve Donahue

 

Penn’s leading scorer last season was guard Tony Hicks (13.2 ppg) but the senior has decided to not to play basketball this season. So that leaves a void in the backcourt, but Donahue says it also opens up opportunities for some talented young guards.

“I think it does,” Donahue says. “I think the opportunities, in particular (sophomore) Antonio Woods, his opportunity not only, he was going to play, but now he’s going to lead, I think that’s what you’ll see. I think he’s one of the best guards in our league and I’m excited for him. As well as a freshman like Jake Silpe, who’s played a heck of a fall and continues to improve. (Sophomore) Darnell Foreman, Jamal Lewis, who is a senior coming back from injury and (freshman) Jackson Donahue, all guards that could see time.”

Donahue talks about what could hold the key to success for the Quakers this season.

“The consistent three-point shooting,” Donahue says. “The prep before you catch it, the finish, the discipline it takes to be a good three-point shooting team. That will probably determine how good we are offensively. And I sense that we are getting so much better, week by week, I hope that’s a strength by the end. That’s my concern, that we’re going to be inconsistent there. If we’re consistent from three, I think we’ll be a really good team.”

Penn went 9-19 last season under Allen.

The Quakers and Robert Morris on Friday will tip-off at 5:30pm.