After tallying up the ballots of six IHO writers, I am happy to unveil the 3rd Annual IvyHoopsOnline.com End of Season Awards.
IHO Player of the Year: Justin Sears, Yale
No player in the Ivy this year was more critical to his team’s success than Justin Sears. The Bulldogs’ sophomore star was one of the highest usage players in the league, and never shied away from putting Yale on his back. Sears ended up tying for the league scoring title, averaging 19.5 ppg during the 14-Game Tournament. The Eli forward also led the conference in rebounding with 7.9 boards per Ivy contest. On the defensive end, he was second in the league in blocks with 2.0 per game. A physical beast, Sears got to the line more than anyone in the Ancient Eight, save for Alex Rosenberg, fighting his way to the stripe for nearly 10 FT attempts per Ivy game. He connected on 76% of those, improving upon one of the few weaknesses in his freshman campaign.
He managed to score in double-figures in 13 of 14 Ivy games and put together four double-doubles, guiding Yale to a 2nd place finish. Even once it became clear that teams were focused on stopping him, Sears continued to score efficiently, finishing the season with 25 points per game in his last four contests on 34-53 FG (64%).
Also Considered: Alex Rosenberg, TJ Bray
IHO Coach of the Year: Kyle Smith, Columbia
The Columbia Lions were picked to finish dead last in this year’s preseason poll. Smith needed to replace his floor general in Brian Barbour, as well as experienced big men in Mark Cisco and John Daniels. On one surprising November night in East Lansing, it quickly became clear that this Columbia squad might have a bit more firepower than we all expected. The Lions came within minutes of knocking off then-#2 Michigan State, garnering some early attention with a spirited nationally televised effort.
Needing a win at Princeton, Smith– master of the out-of-bounds play– used a late timeout to draw up Meiko Lyles’ game-winning 3 as Columbia earned its best win of the season.
After the Lions’ devastating double OT loss to Harvard, Smith got the troops back on track quickly, cranking out four straight Ivy wins to get Columbia securely into the top half.
In 2013-14, Columbia achieved its highest ever Pomeroy rating (#89 in January, #128 end of regular season), swept its first Ivy weekend in five years, earned its first conference winning record in 21 years, and reached its highest overall win total since 1970. Next week, Columbia will almost certainly be invited to take part in postseason play for the first time in the modern era. It takes a lot of work to turn around a program that has been so miserable for so long and Smith has the Lions moving in the right direction. Columbia returns its entire roster in 2014-15.
Also Considered: James Jones, Tommy Amaker
IHO Co-Rookies of the Year: Steven Spieth, Brown & Spencer Weisz, Princeton
Also Considered: Leland King
IHO Defensive Player of the Year: Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown
All-IHO First Team:
TJ Bray, Princeton (unanimous)
Sean McGonagill, Brown
Alex Rosenberg, Columbia (unanimous)
Wes Saunders, Harvard
Justin Sears, Yale (unanimous)
All-IHO Second Team:
Siyani Chambers, Harvard
Maodo Lo, Columbia
Fran Dougherty, Penn
Steve Moundou-Missi, Harvard
Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown
All-IHO Honorable Mention:
Tony Hicks, Penn
Nolan Cressler, Cornell
Alex Mitola, Dartmouth
Kyle Casey, Harvard
Javier Duren, Yale
Laurent Rivard, Harvard
Hans Brase, Princeton
Gabas Maldunas, Dartmouth (injured)