With teams a few short weeks away from actual games, here is a collection of off-season stories to catch up on before the start of the 2018-2019 season.
The New York Knicks announced Sunday night that they have signed former Columbia forward Jeff Coby, making Coby’s Knick status official.
Ian Begley of ESPN reported Sunday that Coby and the Knicks had reached a verbal agreement prior to training camp.
Coby averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game during his four seasons as a Lion, providing strong rebounding for Columbia’s 2015-16 CIT champion squad.
Since Ivy recruits do not sign National Letters of Intent, the Athletic Departments of the Ancient Eight schools cannot comment on student-athletes’ commitments until after they are formally accepted and place their deposits. As a result, the following list is a summary of committed recruits for the Class of 2023 that have been obtained from searching the internet.
If any reader has any athlete to add to the list, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While there were no head coaching changes in the Ivy League for the second straight year, there was plenty of action among the conference’s assistants and directors of basketball operations. Here are some of the highlights:
In Coach Megan Griffith’s first year at her alma mater, the Lions went 13-14 and its 10-3 non-conference record was an all-time best. Columbia faced a more challenging non-conference schedule in 2017-2018, but hoped to use it to build upon the 3-11 league record in 2016-2017. As the season began, the Light Blue & White had major losses that deprived them of a significant amount of their experience, front court depth, and three point shooting. While the coach was left with one of the Ivy League’s all-time offensive talents, the inexperience of the rest of the roster made for a disappointing 8-21 (2-12 Ivy) season. A spot in the Ivy Tournament may be too much to expect in 2018-2019, but the coach will bring in a large class of newcomers to help the young returnees move the program in the right direction.
The Lions lose Camille Zimmerman, Paige Tippet, and Jillian Borreson to graduation. They will also be without the play of seniors Josie Little and Sarah Elston, who, according to Columbia Athletics, have both medically retired. Zimmerman averaged 19.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, finishing the season with her second straight selection to the All-Ivy first team. She finished her career with 1,973 points, fourth in Ivy history, as well as Columbia’s all-time leader in points, rebounds (940), field goals made (728), field goals attempted (1,707), free throw percentage (82.6), games played (113) and games started (112). Zimmerman joined the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx as a free agent, but was released at the end of the preseason. She recently signed a professional contract to play for Kouvottaret in Finland.
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.
Heading into the last weekend of conference play in each of the last two seasons, the Columbia men’s basketball team held the advantage for the final spot in the Ivy Tournament. Sweeps on the road by Brown and Yale in 2017, as well as losses to Dartmouth and Harvard this past March, kept the Lions away from the league’s postseason both years. Coach Jim Engles, heading into his third year as head coach in Morningside Heights, will look to change his team’s fortunes in 2018-2019 as Columbia seeks its first visit to Ivy Madness.
The Lions finished last season 8-19 with a 5-9 fifth place record in the Ivy League. In conference play, they were 5-2 at Levien Gymnasium, but winless away from home. The bright spots for Columbia were a 16 made three pointer performance against Cornell, a 83-76 win over eventual co-champion Harvard and a 25 point win over Princeton. The Lions averaged 76.4 points and 10 made threes a game overall, as well as 77.8 points and 9.4 made threes in the Ancient Eight. Their opponents, however, scored 77.2 points and 10 made threes overall, while conference foes put up 78.1 points and 10.9 made threes a game. Looking towards 2018-2019, Columbia will need to keep its offense intact, while improving its three point defense (38.4 percent in Division 1 games and 39.8 percent in Ivy League) if it wants to move into the league’s upper division.
In case you missed it, the Columbia Spectator on Friday broke the news that first-year players Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson have left the men’s basketball team and will pursue other opportunities. Ryan James of PrepHoops tweeted that Hanson will be looking to transfer for next fall.
Faulds played in 26 games this past season, averaging 4.5 points on 59.6 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 14.2 minutes per contest. The 6’10” forward from Holt, Mich. was a four-star recruit at ESPN. Hanson, a two-star 6’6” small forward from Chaska, Minn., saw action in 19 games, averaging 3.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes per game. Both were members of coach Jim Engles’s first recruiting class at Columbia.
Looks like Xavier will get an Ivy grad transfer after all.
A week after former Dartmouth standout Evan Boudreaux committed to Purdue following a decommitment from Xavier, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Sunday that Columbia guard Kyle Castlin is headed for Xavier.
Castlin will play for new Xavier coach Travis Steele, who was hired Mar. 29 following the departure of Chris Mack, who left for Louisville (thereby prompting Boudreaux to reopen his recruitment).
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner recap a wild and crazy 2017-18 reflect back on this season’s Ivy League Tournament and look ahead to next season’s tourney, with Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling and Ivy League Associate Executive Director for Strategic Communications and External Relations Matt Panto.
Jill recounts her Ivy League Tournament experience, and she and Brett weigh in on where the tournament should and could be held in the future, also recapping the highlights of the men’s and women’s league tourneys and why the Penn men still won even while losing as a No. 16 seed to No. 1 Kansas. Jill also explains why she thinks the Princeton women have the edge in their NCAA Tournament matchup with Maryland, the keys to the Tigers toppling the Terrapins, and whether she thinks the Ivy tourney will be back at the Palestra next season: