Can the Princeton men contend for an Ivy League title?

It feels like déjà vu all over again.

For the second year in a row, the Princeton men’s basketball team is emerging from its exam break at the top of the Ivy League standings and looking primed to make a run for an Ivy League title after sweeping arch rival Penn in back-to-back games to open the conference season.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  Exactly one year ago, the 2018-19 Tigers stood in exactly the same position.  That Princeton squad of a year ago started conference play by sweeping Penn in back-to-back games and then beating the New York schools on the road to start the Ivy campaign at 4-0.  Hopes of an Ivy League title began to rise until calamity struck and Princeton lost the services of one of its transcendent stars, Devin Cannady.  Without their senior co-captain, the Tigers slumped through the rest of the Ivy season, losing six of their final 10 regular season games and finishing a disappointing third in the conference standings.

Read moreCan the Princeton men contend for an Ivy League title?

Princeton completes momentous comeback over Iona in Brooklyn

For the second year in succession Princeton faced off against the Iona Gaels on a neutral court. Last season in Atlantic City, the Tigers overcame a double-digit Iona lead in the second half when then-freshman Drew Friberg  came off the bench to make three long-range bombs. Last night, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, with Net-In-Waiting  Devin Cannady at courtside, the Tigers followed a similar script in even more dramatic fashion.

Read morePrinceton completes momentous comeback over Iona in Brooklyn

Princeton loses to Monmouth in another heartbreaker at home

PRINCETON – The Tigers welcomed intrastate rival Monmouth to Jadwin Gym Tuesday evening in what has become a most entertaining series.

Last year, these two teams struggled to score against each other in what looked at times more like a street fight than a basketball game. A late Devin Cannady three-pointer gave the Tigers a 60-57 win. Mitch Henderson and his Hawk counterpart, King Rice, each arrived in their current positions in 2011. They have become good friends over the years as well as rivals on the court.

Read morePrinceton loses to Monmouth in another heartbreaker at home

Princeton men’s basketball searching for consistency, identity and leadership

One month into the 2019-20 season, the Princeton men’s basketball team is off to its worst seven-game start against Division I competition since the 1984-85 season, in which it started 0-6 and then 1-6 against Division I teams. The Tigers opened their 2019-20 campaign with five straight losses before finally shooting their way to a win at Bucknell last Saturday. Princeton fell flat in the second half against the Drexel Dragons Wednesday night and lost again on the road.  The Tigers’ 1-6 start echoes the frustrations of the 1979-80 team, which also struggled out of the gate at 0-5 and finished the nonconference schedule with a 4-11 record.

However, that Tigers squad of 40 years ago scratched its way to a tie for the Ivy League title before falling in a playoff game by a single point to Penn.  Can this year’s team come together in similar fashion once Ivy League play begins?  Here is my assessment of what ails the Tigers at the halfway mark of the nonconference season.

Read morePrinceton men’s basketball searching for consistency, identity and leadership

Myles Stephens, Kyle Castlin and Trey Phills picked in NBA G League Draft

Add three more Ivy grads to the NBA G League.

Princeton’s Myles Stephens was the first to go off the board with the number 10 pick in the 2nd round of Saturday’s G League Draft by the Long Island Nets.  Columbia’s Kyle Castlin, who completed a graduate transfer year at Xavier, was chosen with the 17th pick of the 2nd round by the Salt Lake City Stars.  Yale’s Trey Phills went to the Windy City Bulls with 18th pick in the fourth and final round.

Read moreMyles Stephens, Kyle Castlin and Trey Phills picked in NBA G League Draft

Morgan and Cannady sign NBA contracts, set to start season in G League

Days before the start of the regular season, former Ivy League stars Matt Morgan and Devin Cannady were each offered an NBA contract.  Cannady was signed by the Brooklyn Nets last Tuesday and Morgan inked his deal with the defending champion Toronto Raptors on Thursday.  Both guards were waived by their parent clubs and will start the year in the NBA’s G-League.

Morgan finished his four years at Cornell as the Ivy League’s second leading scorer with 2,333 points, trailing only Princeton’s Bill Bradley (2,503).  In addition to total points, the Concord, North Carolina native left the Big Red as the program’s leader in scoring average (20.5 ppg), made field goals (743), attempted field goals (1,580) and made free throws (513).  He was second in made three-pointers (334), third in minutes played (3,705), fourth in free-throw percentage (.834) and eighth in assists (296).

For his career, Morgan was a four time All-Ivy selection, with first team accolades in his junior and senior seasons.

Read moreMorgan and Cannady sign NBA contracts, set to start season in G League

Ivy League player carousel

The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft.  The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft.  Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz.  He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.

Read moreIvy League player carousel

Ivy hoops roundup – July 9, 2019

Even with last week’s big news (and news, and news) around former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen and the probable extension for current Brown men’s head coach Mike Martin, the Ancient Eight continues its many off-season story lines.

  • Carla Berube has picked three staff members at Princeton, hiring Lauren Battista, Dalia Eshe and Lauren Dillon as assistant coaches. Two previously coached under her at Tufts.
    Battista has previous experience as an assistant at Tufts for the 2018-2019 season, where she worked with Berube, as well as three years as a graduate assistant at Boston College.  She played four years a Bentley College and was named the national Division II Player of the Year in her 2013-2014 senior year.
    Eshe has been as assistant coach at La Salle from 2016-2019 and East Carolina from 2014-2016.  Prior to that, she spent the 2013-2014 season as Director of Basketball Operations for Loyola, Maryland.  Before entering the coaching ranks, the 2006 Florida graduate and committed vegan, was drafted by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA Draft.  She was in the training camps for Seattle, Washington and Atlanta in the WNBA,  but played professionally in Turkey, Russia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany and Ecuador between 2006 and 2013.
    Dillon was an assistant under Berube last year at Tufts, where Dillon played the previous four years before graduating in 2018. Dillon was a two-year captain, NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and earned a First-Team All-League selection as a senior.
    The previous Princeton staff consisted of Carrie Moore, Addie Micir and Cinnamon Lister. Moore went to North Carolina with former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart, Micir became the associate head coach for Lehigh and Lister moved to UC Irvine.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – July 9, 2019

Ivy hoops roundup – May 13, 2019

Former Penn and Temple coach Fran Dunphy was honored for the impact he made throughout his coaching career during a ceremony at City Hall in Philadelphia Monday, four days after he received an honorary degree as Temple University graduated its 132nd class last week.

Mickey Crowley, long-time NCAA basketball referee and former Ivy League Coordinator of Officials for men’s basketball, died on May 5 at the age of 85.  Crowley played for the All-Army baseball team from 1954-1957 and the Yankees minor league system in the early 1960s before turning his attention to basketball.  He was the assistant executive director of officiating for high school athletics for more than 20 years in Nassau County (Long Island) before becoming an NCAA referee.  He officiated in 21 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1989 and 1991 championships.  Crowley eventually became the head of officiating for the Ivy, Patriot and A-10 Leagues, retiring from the Ancient Eight in 2009.

“Mickey was a well-respected fixture in college basketball officiating thanks to his engaging personality, devotion to the integrity of the game and knowledge of the rules,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “The Ivy League is deeply saddened to hear of his passing and we extends our sympathies to his wife Pat and entire family.”

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – May 13, 2019

Princeton men’s basketball 2018-19 season recap

I attended the University of Virginia during the Barry Parkhill era, earning a law degree in 1972. Needless to say I was elated when my “borrowed heroes” captured the Cavaliers’ first national championship. Their “worst to first” turnaround brought to mind the Miracle Mets’ run to the World Series in 1969 while I was in Charlottesville.

It is time, however, to return my attention to my real heroes, the Princeton Tigers, the season just concluded and the prospects for the future.

Read morePrinceton men’s basketball 2018-19 season recap