Coach David McLaughlin and his Dartmouth men’s basketball team were one day away from the start of the 2017-18 season when news broke that would drastically change their year. Star junior forward Evan Boudreaux, the 2015-16 Ivy Rookie of the Year and two time second team All-Ivy, announced that he was leaving the program so he could graduate early and retain his last two years of eligibility as a graduate transfer. If that wasn’t enough, the second leading scorer in 2016-17, junior guard Guilien Smith, was lost to a season-ending injury after the third game of the year. Less than two weeks into the season, the second-year head coach had to get his team to accept their adversity and find a way to build upon the previous year’s 7-20 overall and 4-10 Ivy records. After completing last season with another 7-20 record and an eighth-place 3-11 league finish, the coach and the team need to take a step forward in 2018-19.
Now that we’re well into nonconference season, we’ve got a bead on how the Ivies are coming along so far. Our Richard Kent breaks down his Ivy power rankings. What are yours?
1. Yale (5-3) The best team by far thus far. Makai Mason is making an early case for Ivy Player of the Year, coming up big against top competition (37 points and 15 assists against SMU and Duke combined). Justin Sears is, well, Justin Sears (and the reigning Ivy POY, who has to like his chances of doing major damage to the Tigers, who he scored 53 points against in two games a year ago) after Stony Brook forward Jameel Warney dominated the Tigers in the frontcourt last week. Brandon Sherrod is a specimen after taking a year off. Should have beaten the Mustangs and were competitive at Cameron Indoor for a half.
It’s hard to remember that Dartmouth exists sometimes, so consider this roster preview a reminder that the Big Green are still around. But who are they this year exactly?
Coach Paul Cormier alluded to the fact that this is a more experienced team than he has helmed in the past, and yet there are just two seniors on the entire roster. The presence of seven juniors makes up for that, though, namely co-captain Alex Mitola, who vastly improved his assist to turnover ratio as a sophomore and established himself as one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in the league. What’s most impressive is that Mitola kept improving in Ivy play even after 2012-13 All-Ivy second-teamer and fellow co-captain Gabas Maldunas tore his ACL shortly after Dartmouth entered its conference slate. And of course, Maldunas himself can be quite the beast, averaging 11.2 points and 8.5 boards per contest before his injury, which Cormier said at the teleconference had been just cleared for contact.