As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
Tyrese Martin missed a free throw, Zach Hunsaker grabbed the defensive rebound and the Brown Bears dribbled it out. It was over. Brown had picked up a win over the 8-3 Rhode Island Rams of the Atlantic 10, who had only one previous loss against a nonranked team and none against a non-power five team. Brown had capped its Division I nonconference schedule with arguably its most impressive win of the season. The Bears had gotten contributions from both their star upperclassmen and their budding underclassmen.
The only nagging feeling came from this question: Why hadn’t they been playing like this all year?
Just two games into the season for both, the Brown men’s and women’s teams are off to great starts.
The Brown men followed up their season-opening 73-71 win at a Bryant squad which has since taken Rutgers to the wire and beaten Cornell with a 75-68 home win over Canisius powered by a career-high 32 points from a resurgent Brandon Anderson, who was relegated to the bench in December of his junior campaign last season.
Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.
Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.
Former Dartmouth assistant coach John Andrzejek has joined Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State as its director of analytics. This will be Andrzejek’s third stint with the former Lions head coach. While completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy in just two and a half years from Columbia in 2013, Andrzejek served as the Lions’ team manager during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before being hired as the team’s director of basketball operations in July of 2014. He stayed in that spot until the 2016-2017 season, when he went west to join Smith as the University of San Francisco’s director of basketball operations for a year.
After losing eight players from the 2016-2017 season (13-17 overall, 4-10 Ivy), including first team All-Ivy Steven Spieth, four-year starting point guard Tavon Blackmon, and three-point specialist JR Hobbie, the Brown men’s basketball team was picked last in the 2017-18 Ivy League preseason media poll. With underclassmen filling out almost 64 percent of the roster and playing 74 percent of the team’s minutes, the Bears finished last year at 11-16 with a second straight 4-10 mark in the Ancient Eight. While the record was not impressive, Brown did take Providence to overtime, defeat Princeton on the road for the first time since 2010, and have a third place 4-4 record halfway through the conference schedule. After gaining a year of experience leading the program, the talented young core will attempt to move Brown beyond four straight seventh-place league finishes and make a push for a first-ever spot in the Ivy Tournament.
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.