While Ivy Hoops fans were still processing the disturbing allegation against former Penn men’s coach Jerome Allen, the Columbia Spectator broke the surprising news that rising senior Lukas Meisner had signed a pro contract and would be forgoing his senior year in Morningside Heights. Columbia Athletics posted its own story detailing the move a few minutes later.
Meisner, originally from Braunschweig, inked a contract to go back home to Germany and play for Medi Bayreuth of the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga. The team came in fourth place in the BBL in 2017-2018 and sixth in the German Cup. The 6′ 8″ forward started 24 of 25 games for the Lions in 2017-2018, averaging 27.5 minutes and 11.2 points per game. With his 50 percent overall and 41.7 percent three-point rates, he joined Princeton’s Myles Stephens as the only two Ivy Leaguers to shoot more than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three last year. His 7.5 total rebounds and six defensive boards per contest were tops in the conference and he became the first Columbia player to lead the Ivy League in rebounds since Jim Tubridy in 1994-1995.
When asked by Columbia Athletics, Meisner stated, “This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but it has always been my goal to play professionally, and this opportunity was too good to pass up. I want to thank my teammates and Coach Engles and his staff. I truly would not be able to fulfill this dream without them. I loved every minute of playing for Columbia and I know this team will go on to do great things.” Coach Engles told the Athletics Department, “Lukas has worked so hard for this chance and it’s been a pleasure coaching him for the past two seasons. Of course, we would have loved to have him back for the 2018-19 season. However, not many people have an opportunity to play at the professional level and we wish him the best of luck.”
Meisner is the third player from the 2018-2019 team that has left the program in the last several months. Rising sophomores Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson announced that they would be leaving the team in late April. In mid-June, Hanson tweeted his decision to transfer to Xavier, where he will join his Lions teammate and recent graduate transfer Kyle Castlin. A few weeks later, Faulds posted that he would be taking his skills to the University of Michigan. With the loss of Meisner and Faulds down low, there will be openings for 6′ 7″ sophomore Randy Brumant and 6′ 7″ first year Ike Nweke to get major minutes along with 6′ 11″ junior Patrick Tape.
Meisner becomes the fifth member of the Columbia men’s program to sign professionally in the past three seasons. Maodo Lo (Class of 2016) recently signed a two-year contract with Bayern Munich. In his two previous seasons with Brose Bamberg, he helped the team to German League and German Cup titles. Alex Rosenberg (Class of 2016) played for Bnai Herzelia of the Israeli League, where he averaged 3.5 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. Luke Petrasek (Class of 2017) spent last season with the Charlotte Hornets’ G-League affiliate Greensboro Swarm and played for the Hornets Las Vegas Summer League team. In 50 games with the Swarm, he averaged 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. Jeff Coby (Class of 2017) played with CB Prat Juventud of the Spanish “Gold League” before moving to Cambados Xuven of the “Silver League.” After averaging 11.7 points and 9.2 rebounds in 11 games for Cambados Xuven, he averaged 14.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in four games for the Haitian national team during the most recent AmeriCup Caribbean Pre-Qualifier. KJ Matsui (Class of 2009) averaged 4.7 points for the Aishin Sea Horses of the Japan B-League.
On the women’s side, Pauline Koerner, born and raised in German like Meisner, left the team after her sophomore season of 2016-2017 and now plays for BC Winterthur of the top Swiss Basketball League. Two-time first team All-Ivy Camille Zimmerman (Class of 2018) was signed by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, but was cut at the end of training camp.