One of the Ivy League’s biggest mysteries of the last two years has finally (mostly) been solved. Harvard has announced that Seth Towns, the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year, will undergo surgery on his left knee and miss the entire 2019-20 campaign.
Towns finished the 2017-18 regular season with 15.8 points per game, including 18.6 per Ivy contest. The versatile 6′ 7″ forward hit 49.3% of his three-point attempts, while averaging 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per night. In addition to earning the league’s top award, Towns was named a Lou Henson All-America and an AP Honorable Mention All-American.
Against Cornell in the Ivy Tournament semifinal, Towns led the way in top-seeded Harvard’s 74-55 victory with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds.
In Sunday’s final against No. 2 seed Penn, Towns had amassed 13 points and six rebounds with 8:20 left in the second half. He drove to the layup, hoping to cut into the Quakers’ 53-45 lead, but he hit the ground hard and was in visible pain as he was helped off the court minutes later.
Harvard would rally around its former leader, taking the lead on a 13-2 run, but ultimately lose the title and the league’s automatic NCAA bid, 68-65.
The Crimson never disclosed the extent of Towns’s injury and treatment, but hopes were high that he would return for the 2018-19 season. In July 2018, Harvard Athletics told IHO that Towns was expected to be ready for the start of the season.
Unfortunately, Towns was not dressed for the team’s preseason Crimson Madness event and would eventually miss the rest of the season. While there was speculation from Ivy fans throughout the campaign, it wasn’t until the eve of the league’s regular season weekend that Towns officially declared his season done.
As the 2019-20 season approached, hopes were again high that Towns would return to the court and a three-point championship in this year’s edition of Crimson Madness made his return seem likely.
However, Towns’s return was not to be.
Jeff Goodman reported on Nov. 4 that Amaker had told him that Towns would not play in the opener and his status for the season was up in the air. After Towns missed the team’s first 10 games, Goodman on Dec. 18 tweeted more ominous news that Towns still hadn’t practiced with the team.
During Saturday’s game at George Washington, an ESPN+ announcer reported that Towns had been out due to microfracture surgery, but Towns is not getting microfracture surgery, per a source with knowledge of the injury.
On Monday, Harvard confirmed that Towns would be undergoing season-ending surgery.
“While I am disappointed and saddened for Seth and our program that he won’t be competing for us this year, I am grateful and fortunate to have been able to coach and teach him during his time here,” Amaker told Harvard Athletics. “Seth will always be the standard for Harvard basketball players: a scholar and a baller.”
With Towns set to graduate this May, the Columbus, Ohio, native’s Ivy career is complete, even though he still retains two years of eligibility.
Everyone here at IHO eagerly looks forward to Towns recovering and returning to be the brilliant player he was in his first two seasons at Harvard.
This post has been updated to note that Towns is not getting microfracture surgery and that he will have surgery on his left knee.