Top 10 Ivy players of the past five years

The past five years have been incredible for the Ivy League. Two forever memorable Ivy playoff games, two NCAA Tournament wins, nine top 100 KenPom finishes and a clear uptick in athleticism throughout the conference.

But who have been the greatest players in the league in that timespan? A countdown, with the caveat that only players who played at least two seasons from 2010-15 were considered.

10. Siyani Chambers, Harvard guard

Chambers was AWOL for too much of 2014-15, but he showed up when it mattered most, securing a late-season win over Columbia with a game-winning jumper and completing a four-point play that gave Harvard a brief lead over North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament with 75 seconds remaining. Chambers made a memorable splash as a freshman, posting 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game (the latter was more than any other frosh in the country). Chambers can be deadly from deep and is a solid defender, and with Wesley Saunders gone next year, he’ll have a chance to show what he can do with a team that belongs to him.

9. Shonn Miller, Cornell forward

Even though Miller’s a Husky now, his legacy at Cornell is secure: He was a guy who could do it all. A prolific shot-blocker, a relentless rebounder and a scorer from anywhere on the court, Miller was a program linchpin for the Big Red. His absence due to injury in 2013-14 showed just how reliant the team was on his many talents – the Big Red went 2-26 with Miller out. Miller averaged 16.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest in 2014-15, his finest season in Ithaca. Though Cornell never made the postseason with Miller, it didn’t matter – Miller’s presence was felt as he proved himself one of the league’s most well-rounded players when healthy in all three of his seasons.

8. Keith Wright, Harvard forward

The 2010-11 Ivy Player of the Year, Wright was a master of the midrange jumper and highly effective from the field, shooting 58.5 percent during Harvard’s Ivy title runs in 2011 and 2012. Wright’s defensive prowess in 2010-11 laid the groundwork for Harvard’s Ivy dynasty for years to come. Wright is now a member of the Austin Spurs in the NBA D-League, and he’s still doing his shot-blocking thing.

7. Maodo Lo, Columbia guard

When Lo goes off, he really explodes. Lo scored at least 29 points in four different games this past season and carried the Lions down the stretch in the absence of injured stalwarts Alex Rosenberg and Grant Mullins. He has to be one of the most potent backcourt athletes the league has ever seen, a guy who has unlimited range and knows how to use it. He’s still got another year left too. A pure scorer, Lo simply converts.

6. Sean McGonagill, Brown guard

The professor himself, McGonagill was a go-to guy in Providence before and after coach Mike Martin arrived in 2012, averaging 14.2 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds for his Brown career. He averaged double figures in scoring all four years of his career, the only player to do so on this list. More importantly, he was Brown’s unquestioned floor general, the conduit for Brown’s offense rivaled in that respect only by Penn’s Zack Rosen during his career. McGonagill could can threes with the best of them and was excellent in finding the weak spots in any opposing defense. McGonagill currently plays for Giants Dusseldorf in Germany,  and not Brown as his Twitter bio still suggests.

5. Greg Mangano, Yale forward

Mangano found another gear in his junior and senior seasons, averaging a double-double in 2010-11 and was one of the most accomplished stat-stuffers in league history. He graduated as Yale’s all-time leader in blocked shots, notching 17.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in his junior and senior seasons casino while also shooting 34.7 percent from beyond the arc. This was a guy who could post game-winning numbers in any manner necessary, a rare feat even on this list. He currently plays for Kauhajoen Karhu for Finland’s Korisliiga league.

4. Justin Sears, Yale forward

A deflected ball out of bounds in Hanover notwithstanding, Sears had a 2014-15 to remember, posting 14.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game en route to an Ivy Player of the Year distinction. Those stats actually represented a slight dip in scoring from his junior campaign to go along with a fortified defensive effort, proving Sears’ game is more well-rounded than ever. Sears took games over against Brown, Columbia and Princeton (twice), something that’s not easy for even league standouts to do. He’s one of the greatest Ivy athletes I’ve ever seen, and that’ll count for a lot in his senior campaign next season.

3. Ian Hummer, Princeton forward

One of the most consistent players even on this list, Hummer easily deserved his 2012-13 Ivy Player of the Year honors. Hummer’s versatility always stood out to me most whenever watching him in person. This was a guy who could take the ball up the court, provide the key pass for any given possession or score at will, averaging 16 points per game in his junior and senior seasons. Hummer now plays for the Nilan Bisons Loimaa in the Finnish Korisliiga.

2. Zack Rosen, Penn guard

If you look up “hero ball” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Rosen. Because he was a hero. The unanimous 2011-12 Ivy Player of the Year and three-time All-Ivy first-teamer carried the Quakers on his back for much of his Penn career, becoming the school’s all-time assists leader. To watch Rosen work magic at the Palestra was a remarkable experience. He’s absolutely one of the greatest handful of Quakers in school history, and at the risk of sounding like a Penn homer, that does say quite a lot. Rosen currently plays for the Maccabi Ashdod in Israel. Oh, and he’s the best ball distributor on this list by a landslide. I’ve never seen anything like him in my five years of really being invested in Ivy basketball.

1. Wesley Saunders, Harvard guard

And yet, Rosen isn’t even No. 1. I reluctantly and half-heartedly put Saunders ahead of Rosen by a hair because Saunders, 2013-14 Ivy Player of the Year, is a better rebounder, a more efficient shooter and came up bigger and more crucial games throughout his career. If you’re asking me which player I’d rather have on my team, especially in the clutch, it’d be Saunders, again, by a hair. So the nod goes to No. 23.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Columbia guard Brian Barbour, Princeton guard T.J. Bray, Yale guard Javier Duren, Dartmouth forward Gabas Maldunas, Dartmouth guard Alex Mitola, Harvard forward Steve Moundou-Missi

What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Top 10 Ivy players of the past five years

  1. Anyone can be clutch and do everything Saunders did if they’re surrounded by living, breathing teammates. Give me Rosen any day.

  2. I think there are not enough Penn players on the list. (Not that they deserve to be mind you. ) I would also put Rosen ahead of Saunders solely because of his more demanding position and much weaker supporting cast. He was special.
    I hate to say it, but what about Wittman anD some of Cornell’s Sweet 16 crew? Did I say that?

    • Other than a penn fan, who would select Rosen over Hummer? And Hummer was second to Maddux his junior a senior years.

  3. @AQ – The Cornell Sweet 16 crew doesn’t qualify for this list because those guys didn’t play two seasons in the 2010-15 time frame I used. But stretch it back 10 years and the Big Red would definitely be represented a lot more.

    Rosen did have a weaker supporting cast, but Bernardini and Jackson-Cartwright weren’t slouches and Saunders really carried a lot of games when everything else broke down throughout three Ivy title runs. That being said, Rosen was and is the man.

  4. The AQ may be correct in his declaration. I didn’t pay enough attention to Penn in the last several seasons to judge the Quaker players adequately. Perhaps if the team had contended I would have. I did, however, see TJ Bray every night. He was Mr. Everything on a 20 win Tiger team and he came within an eyelash of POY. He was a huge contributor in Hummer’s POY season as well. That said I don’t know who I’d bump from Mike’s list. Maybe the Top 10 should have 11 players!

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