Amid an 80-degree, summer-like Homecoming on Saturday, the Cornell men’s basketball team held its Red-White Scrimmage, unofficially beginning year two of the Brian Earl era. With a year of experience under Earl’s more disciplined system, as well as the coach’s bringing in his first recruiting class, the Big Red look like a more confident and balanced unit that should improve upon last season’s 8-21 record.
Mason Forbes, a two-star recruit from Folsom (CA) High School, chose to attend Harvard on Tuesday night, becoming the Crimson’s fourth member for the class of 2018. The 6’8” 195 pound center/power forward averaged 15.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks a game in the 2016-17 season. According to Verbal Commits, he chose Harvard over Mt. St. Mary’s, San Diego State, San Jose State, and Cal Poly.
Forbes comes from a basketball rich family. His grandfather, Sterling Forbes, Sr., played for Pepperdine, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and joined the Harlem Globetrotters. His father, Sterling “Smooth” Forbes, Jr., played for Southwest Texas State before playing with the Globetrotters. His younger sister, McKenzie Forbes, is a senior at Folsom High School and an ESPN Top 40 prospect who will be attending Cal-Berkeley in the fall of 2018. ‘
Noah Kirkwood, a three-star recruit from the Ottawa area, committed on Tuesday to Harvard for the fall of 2018. The 6′ 7″ shooting guard recently graduated from nearby Ashbury College High School, and will spend a year at Northfield Mount Hermon School (Mass.) prep school before heading to Cambridge. 247Sports noted that Kirkwood had offers at Wichita State, Virginia, Texas, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Tulane, GW, and St. Bonaventure. Verbal Commits listed additional offers at Villanova, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and USC.
Last season, the Brown men’s basketball team went 9-7 in nonconference action. The nine wins tied the program’s record for non-league victories with the 2001-02 and 2014-15 teams. The Bears’ 8-0 start at home was the best beginning since the 1934-35 squad. In league play, Brown appeared to get a boost of confidence from its nonconference schedule, dominating Penn and Cornell on the road and losing by one at home to Yale. With a 2-3 start in Ivy competition, the Bears were looking good for the fourth spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.
Unfortunately, Brown lost its next five matches, derailing its hopes for an upper division finish. Despite beating Dartmouth on the road to start the next to last weekend of the season, the loss to Harvard the following evening eliminated the Bears from postseason play. The team did bounce back in its penultimate game, beating Columbia by 20 and damaging the Lions’ hope for the league’s final four. A Senior Night loss to Cornell left the Bears with a 4-10 record (13-17 overall), tied for sixth in the Ancient Eight.
After a historic 2015-16 season that saw the Princeton women’s basketball team become the first Ivy League team to secure at at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the team graduated four of its top rebounders, as well as 71 percent of its offense. Despite those huge losses, the Tigers were still projected for second place in the preseason Ivy media poll. With four new starters, including a first-year and a sophomore, as well as a schedule that had the squad facing 10 2017 postseason participants, the Orange and Black ended the year second in the conference’s regular season, runner-up in the Ivy Tournament and selected to the NIT Tournament. With another challenging schedule on tap for 2017-18, Princeton aims to improve upon its various records (16-14 overall, 9-5 Ivy, 6-7 nonconference and 5-10 vs postseason teams) to secure a return ticket to March Madness.
After loses to Harvard and Princeton, the Yale women’s basketball team found itself at 2-7 in league play, one game ahead of last place. With upcoming games against undefeated Penn and third-place Harvard, it would have been easy to give up and play out the season.
But the Elis won four of their last five games, including back-to-back victories over the Quakers and Crimson, to end up one game out of the Ivy Tournament. The Bulldogs will look to build on this late-season success to move into the conference’s upper division for 2017-18.
With 8:59 to go in the fourth quarter of its first-round NCAA Tournament game against fifth-seeded Texas A&M, the Penn women’s basketball team found itself up 21 points, heading for its first-ever March Madness victory and a second-round matchup with UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
What happened next was the biggest collapse in NCAA Tournament history, as the Quakers succumbed to the Aggies’ full-court pressure, were outscored 26-3 and lost the game 63-61. With the Hollywood heartache fresh in their minds, the two-time defending Ivy champs will attempt to to claim their third straight title, second straight postseason Ivy Tournament championship and fourth appearance in five years in the NCAA Tournament.
Former Columbia star and Princeton assistant coach Megan Griffith was hired in March 2016 to rebuild the Lions women’s basketball program. In her first season, the team opened up the season with a school record winning percentage in nonconference play (10-3, .769) and a program first-ever victory over a Big East opponent (66-64 in overtime over Providence). Ivy League play, though, was not as kind to the Lions, as they ended up losing eight of their last nine and finished tied for seventh place with a 3-11 conference record. As the new season approaches, Griffith has unveiled an ambitious schedule that seeks to toughen the team for league action.
After then-sophomore guard Jackson Donahue hit his first shot of the game with 6.3 seconds left in Penn’s regular season finale against Harvard, the Quakers earned the hard-fought 75-72 victory, completed an improbable comeback in league play and secured the final spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.
One week later, Penn, playing on its home court as the No. 4 seed, held a two-point lead over top-rated Princeton with 12 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Quakers, then-senior Matt Howard missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Tigers tied the game with 5.3 seconds left, sending the contest into overtime. Princeton dominated the extra period, ending Penn’s up-and-down, yet ultimately successful 2016-17 season.
Oni impresses at Nike Skills Academy
Yale’s Miye Oni was one of 21 college players selected to compete at the prestigious Nike Skills Academy in late August. Among the attendees were Grayson Allen, Trevon Duval and Marques Bolden from Duke, Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson from Michigan State, Tony Carr from Penn State, and Amir Coffey of Minnesota. The sophomore guard, who was named a second team All-Ivy in 2016-17, certainly impressed those in attendance. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted, “One college player who has stood out to NBA guys at the Nike Camp has been sophomore Miye Oni. Guys love his ability to score.”
Ivy women excel in international hoops
Princeton sophomore Bella Alarie and Harvard sophomore Jeannie Boehm helped USA Basketball secure a silver medal at the recent FIBA U-19 World Cup. Alarie, who was a late addition to the team’s tryout roster, earned a starting spot and finished the tournament averaging 7.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 21.2 minutes a game. Boehm averaged 3.2 rebounds and 8.8 minutes per game. Team USA dominated the group stage and the quarterfinals. In the semifinals against Japan, USA was up 22 at the end of the third quarter and appeared to hit a wall, allowing its opponents to get the lead down to seven by the end of the contest. In the finals, the Americans were up six at halftime, but could not contain Russia’s two frontcourt starts, World Cup MVP Maria Vadeeva and Raisa Musina. With the 86-82 defeat, the U.S. missed its chance to secure its seventh straight title.