A quiet Saturday on the college basketball front was upended just after three o’clock with Adam Zagoria’s tweet:
Sources: Two Ivy League schools are highly unlikely to play men’s hoops this year and it’s possible the whole league won’t play at all.
“I have a feeling it would be the whole league isn’t going to play,” one Ivy League asst coach.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) October 17, 2020
With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.
The short answer is no.
“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”
Miye Oni is making the most of the bubble.
The former Yale standout has made an impact that’s been impossible to ignore for the Utah Jazz in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. Oni seized the day in his first NBA start Friday, notching 14 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of play in a 119-111 Jazz loss to the San Antonio Spurs before logging another 10 minutes in a 134-132 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets Saturday, a game in which Oni contributed three points and two rebounds, and more impressively, the Jazz were +15 with him on the floor.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) August 8, 2020
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) August 8, 2020
Back on the Jazz
Miye Oni returned to the Utah Jazz official 17-man roster for the Jazz’s NBA season reopening win over the New Orleans Pelicans in Orlando on TNT Thursday evening, the NBA’s first action since March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oni did not play but did join the other players in kneeling for the national anthem. Oni wore Power to the People on the back of his jersey, as all of his teammates opted to replace their last names on their jerseys with a message of social justice.
Oni briefly got playing time toward the end of the Jazz’s second game Saturday, a 110-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando. In his sixth NBA game, Oni pitched in three points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in just under six minutes of action.
Dartmouth men announce Class of 2024
Dartmouth men’s basketball recently announced its Class of 2024 on Twitter:
The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:
We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:
- As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
- When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
- Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
- We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
- Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.
This is just the beginning.
Nearly a month after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis officer while three other officers stood by, the Ivy hoops community has continued to speak out against racial injustice and in support of people of color.
Another introspective from Nat Graham
Penn men’s associate head coach and 1997 graduate Nat Graham, who is White, on Sunday published a post on Medium thoughtfully reflecting on the structural advantages his race gave him in life and the “not so equal” separation between his Miami neighborhood and that of his Black high school teammate who Graham found out later eventually got his teeth knocked out while in prison.
The Ivy hoops community has continued to protest against the injustice that black people face in America in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis officer while three other officers stood last Monday.
Harvard men’s hoops 2018 grad Chris Egi was the subject of a SportsNet feature Tuesday highlighting the Markham, Ontario native’s drive to launch the No More Names campaign, a fundraising and awareness building organization aiming for criminal injustice and police brutality.
Yale women’s incoming class announced
Yale women’s basketball announced its three-member Class of 2024 Monday. The class consists of:
- Brenna McDonald, a 6-foot-2 forward from Natick, Mass. who was named to the Boston Globe Dream Team her senior year
- Haley Sabol, a 6-foot-2 forward from Pittsburgh who was a first-team all-state selection her junior and senior years for Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.
- Elles van der Maas, a 6-foot-2 guard from Sydney who made the 2018 All-Australian team
Paul Atkinson announced on Twitter Saturday night that he will return to Yale for his senior campaign, a season after he was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Year.
Atkinson had announced last month that he would enter the 2020 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility.