Princeton, as usual, is the conference wild card. No single star player. Several key components of last year’s CBI qualifying team gone, including T.J. Bray and Will Barrett. Few standout seniors. And today we reported that Denton Koon is out indefinitely with a MCL injury.
And yet, Princeton enjoys significant depth and a reliable frontcourt with 2013-14 Ivy Rookie of the Year Spencer Weisz and Hans Brase coming back. This doesn’t seem to be a very athletic roster, and I’m not as high on Princeton as others, especially now that Koon is out. But let’s start with the positives first. Even though Barrett made 111 treys as a junior and senior, his long-range production won’t be missed too much because, as you’ll read below, there are plenty of young guns on this team who can make up for that kind of sharpshooting.
Although Princeton’s frontcourt is very tall, the Tigers struggled to defend the perimeter throughout last season, and I don’t see that struggle ending this year either. Princeton’s willingness to rely on its outside shooting can be a liability when the Tigers aren’t filling the nets. A team like Brown, for example, is tougher in the paint and more dynamic on defense than Princeton. The Tigers are deeper, but that depth doesn’t change the fact that they are relying very heavily on Weisz and Brase. I think that Weisz will come through in a big way, but will it be enough for the Tigers to keep up with Harvard and Yale? Time will tell the Tigers’ tale.
#0 – Aaron Young – Guard – 6-0, 170 – Fr.
Mentioned by Henderson as a candidate to run the point as a rookie, but based on fellow rookie Amir Bell’s performance in Princeton’s preseason intrasquad scrimmage, Bell seems more well-positioned to take the point this season. Still, Young is a strong shooter and could contend for minutes early on as Henderson’s rotation starts to take shape.
#3 – Clay Wilson – Guard – 6-3, 170 – Sr.
Wilson ended last season on a hot streak, finishing the Ivy season with three consecutive double-digit scoring games. He’s not likely to keep up that scoring output, but he’s got an impressive shooting range and thus can provide an offensive boost off the bench.
#4 – Denton Koon – Forward – 6-8, 210 – Sr.
Koon’s MCL injury makes him a question mark for 2014-15, putting pressure on Weisz, Brase and Alec Brennan. Even just in nonconference play, his ability to drive to the hoop and be a playmaker will be greatly missed.
#5 – Amir Bell – Guard – 6-3, 160 – Fr.
Bell made a name for himself at Princeton’s intrasquad scrimmage, running the point and providing strong defense in the backcourt. The jury’s still out on Bell, of course, but don’t be surprised if he is the most impactful freshman the Tigers have this season.
#10 – Spencer Weisz – Forward – 6-4, 180 – So.
Weisz is ready to do big things. Weisz is an terrific defender and has a very high basketball IQ, which is why I predicted recently that he will make first-team All-Ivy as a sophomore. If he can sustain his momentum, Princeton will be in excellent shape.
#12 – Ben Hazel – Guard/Forward – 6-5, 191 – Sr.
Hazel will be in the mix in the backcourt and is one of many strong perimeter shooters on this roster. You’ll probably see Hazel in the starting lineup again too. If that doesn’t make you a Ben Hazel fan, check out his Twitter bio, which boasts that Hazel is #TeamRAVENS #TeamRAYLEWIS #TeamKEVINDURANT #TeamTHUNDER before he mentions that, oh yeah, he’s affiliated with Princeton.
#13 – Mike Washington – Guard – 6-3, 190 – Jr.
He’s played 30 minutes in two seasons and will lose further minutes to the promising freshmen in the backcourt Princeton has coming in.
#14 – Khyan Rayner – Guard – 5-11, 165 – So.
Not likely to make a significant impact this season.
#15 – Hashim Moore – Forward – 6-5, 220 – So.
Great athleticism but played all of 10 minutes as a freshman, likely to see more minutes this season.
#20 – Jackson Forbes – Forward – 6-6, 215 – Fr.
It’s hard to get a feel for what Forbes might contribute as a freshman, but he does provide solid versatility at the three spot.
#21 – Henry Caruso – Forward – 6-4, 190 – So.
Logged 14 minutes in eight games as a freshman, and I don’t see him getting significantly more playing time in a very deep rotation.
#23 – Mike LeBlanc – Forward – 6-6, 185 – Fr.
Another impressive long-range shooter, LeBlanc will give Henderson still more depth at forward.
#25 – Steven Cook – Forward – 6-5, 185 – So.
Cook notched 4.5 points per in 16.7 points per game as a freshman and will be an X-factor for the Tigers as a sophomore, especially at the offensive end of the floor. Like most of the Tigers, he’s dangerous from beyond the arc and a solid defender as well.
#30 – Hans Brase – Forward – 6-8, 231 – Jr.
After averaging 11.2 points per game last season, Brase will become the focal point of this offense along with Weisz following Bray’s graduation. Brase is an aggressive playmaker whose rebounding also comes at a premium for the Tigers. Can he be a first-team All-Ivy caliber, though? Despite the Tigers’ depth, he will have to be if Princeton is to seriously contend for the Ivy title this season.
#31 – Pete Miller – Forward – 6-10, 225 – So.
Watch Pete Miller at the foul line and you’ll cringe. He shot 29 percent from the charity stripe, which is just unforgivable. He’s got upside and is likely to expand upon his 10.4 minutes per game, but he has to improve his free throw shooting if he wants to be taken seriously as a threat down low.
#32 – Daniel Edwards – Forward – 6-8, 225 – Sr.
Has played a total of 37 minutes since 2010. Good for him for sticking around, though.
#35 – Alec Brennan – Forward – 6-11, 235 – Fr.
Brennan turned down Stanford, Wake Forest and Kansas State to join Princeton, easily making him the most intriguing freshman on this roster. Expect Brennan to start immediately, and how he pans out will determine whether Princeton can break into the top tier of Ivies in his rookie season.
#40 – Bobby Garbade – Center – 6-11, 234 – Sr.
Will relieve Brennan on occasion.