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

Reading the Ivy tea leaves – Harvard roundup

Thanks to all those who shared their thoughts on their hopes and expectations for the Crimson this season:

Jonah Travis, Harvard forward ’15: There’s a couple different things that I’m most looking forward to watching this season. I’ll be interested to see which one of our upperclassmen is able to take the reins and steer the team towards another championship. With so many seniors graduating, they’ll be able to influence the team in many ways they haven’t been able to before. I’ll also be interested to see which freshmen step up and put in the work to be a contributor. The opportunity is there for them, it’ll just take a high degree of work ethic to make it happen.

David Tannenwald, Harvard Magazine: I’m excited about a few things for the upcoming season:

Read moreReading the Ivy tea leaves – Harvard roundup

Kyle Casey added to Phoenix Suns training camp roster

Harvard 2014 graduate Kyle Casey has signed a training camp agreement with the Phoenix Suns, according to the Arizona Republic.

Casey averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds during his four-year Harvard career.

Casey has most recently played for Helios Domzale in Slovenia, averaging 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28.5 minutes per game. Casey also played for the Nets summer league team in 2014 after going undrafted.

Casey and teammate Brandyn Curry were involved in a 2012 cheating scandal involving 125 students, and both withdrew from the school for the 2012-13 season.

Harvard all-time moment No. 1: Crimson capture first ever Ivy title

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We did the Crimson next because, hey, it”s their dynasty.

When Harvard players awoke on the morning of March 5, 2011, they were part of a basketball program that had never won an Ivy League basketball championship. That night, however, they would have a chance to make history. One win over Princeton would give the Crimson their first title and bury the demons of the past 50 years.

Read moreHarvard all-time moment No. 1: Crimson capture first ever Ivy title

Will Wesley Saunders be drafted?

cWesley Saunders 8

Wesley Saunders is looking to make history on Thursday night. If Saunders hears his name called during the NBA Draft, he will become the first Ivy League player to be drafted in 20 years (Jerome Allen, 1995), and the first Harvard player ever to be drafted. If Saunders finds his way to the NBA through the draft or a different route, he will be only the eleventh player in the Ivy League’s storied, 60-year history to reach the Association. Yes, Wesley Saunders could be in rarefied air.

Saunders torched Ivy and high-major defenses alike in his illustrious four years with the Crimson, and he has certainly gotten the attention of NBA scouts, who reserved themselves seats at most of the Crimson’s home games this past season. Wesley Saunders may be a once-in-a-decade Ivy League player, but how does he compare to the top college prospects in the land who are also vying for NBA contracts? Here are a few possible scenarios to get you set for the draft…

Read moreWill Wesley Saunders be drafted?

Princeton all-time moment No. 8: The last hurrah

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where House was set.

By the 2010-11 season, the Ivy League landscape had undergone a radical transformation, the extent of which could be anticipated if not clearly perceived. One thing was clear: The historical domination by Penn and Princeton, which had extended well into the previous decade, was no longer. Cornell, coached by Steve Donahue and led by the remarkable Ryan Wittman, won three straight titles, capped by a stirring run to the Sweet Sixteen, and thereby moved the axis of power northward. Tommy Amaker, a power conference wolf in the Ivy League henhouse, threatened to move it even further.

A product of the ultimate big-time program as a player, and after some stops along the coaching trail at Michigan and Seton Hall, Amaker arrived in Cambridge with his controversy-laden baggage. He was hired to do one thing: WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. Supported by his administration and a booster organization with unlimited resources and the willingness to deploy them, Amaker set about to install a machine that would set the league pace for years to come. By 2010, Amaker’s recruiting methods were producing skilled players in numbers unprecedented in Cambridge. Could anyone stop the inevitable?

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 8: The last hurrah

Final thoughts on the 2014-15 Harvard season

Harvard took North Carolina to the wire last week in Jacksonville, bowing 67-65 to the Tar Heels in the Crimson's sixth NCAA tournament game since 2012. (Rob Crawford)
Harvard took North Carolina to the wire last week in Jacksonville, bowing 67-65 to the Tar Heels in the Crimson’s sixth NCAA tournament game since 2012. (Rob Crawford)

A few days after watching Harvard’s season end in Jacksonville with Wesley Saunders’ final shot clanking off the rim and backboard, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the Crimson season that was. Amid the shock and nostalgia comes perspective … and withdrawal. Here are my final thoughts on Harvard’s memorable 2014-15 season:

Read moreFinal thoughts on the 2014-15 Harvard season

Should you root for Harvard?

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Don”t you just love watching Harvard celebrate? Oh right, you probably don”t. (gocrimson.com)

With Harvard set to take on North Carolina Thursday in the Crimson’s fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance, Peter Andrews and I debate whether non-Harvard Ivy hoops fans should root for the Crimson to win their third straight opening NCAA tourney game.

MT: Look, I know you probably hate Harvard. And you have every reason to.

The cheating scandal that forced Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry to withdraw from the team in 2012-13 only to win another Ivy title the following year.

The loosening of academic standards for basketball players.

The sending of an assistant out on “unethical recruiting trips.”

The way Harvard teases Ivy fans every year by getting entangled in close games against underdog conference competition only to emerge victorious almost every time. (The Crimson have won five straight games this season decided by three points or fewer.)

But Harvard beating UNC wouldn’t be so bad.

Read moreShould you root for Harvard?

Why Harvard won’t win the Ivy League this year

 

Tommy Amaker should be very afraid. (ESPN)
Tommy Amaker should be very afraid. (ESPN)

The Harvard Crimson are predicted to win the Ivy League. Led by senior standout Wesley Saunders and the highly touted head coach Tommy Amaker, Harvard has enjoyed immense success over the last several years. To the schooled eye and on paper, Harvard is the Ancient Eight’s best team.

But sports are not about who is better on paper, and nobody came here to play school. Anything can happen on the hardwood and nothing is a foregone conclusion. Harvard has not locked up anything yet—and it’s not going to. Come March, Harvard, like you and me, will be sitting at home. Here’s why:

Read moreWhy Harvard won’t win the Ivy League this year

Saunders, Crimson squeak by Minutemen

Wesley Saunders notched 27 points in Harvard's victory over UMass Saturday. (ivyleaguesports.com)
Wesley Saunders notched 27 points in Harvard’s victory over UMass Saturday. (ivyleaguesports.com)

In what seemed like a home game for UMass (half of the fans at Lavietes Pavilion were cheering for the Minutemen), Harvard eked out a much-needed win in the final seconds against a very good non-conference opponent. This victory, Harvard’s third in a row, was exactly what the Crimson needed as they continue to rebound from their tough early-season loss to Holy Cross. And in terms of their potential seeding in the NCAA Tournament (if they are fortunate enough to get there again), this game was huge. Harvard is starting to look like the national contender they were predicted to be going into the season. Individual performances in the UMass game, however, may provide the greatest reasons for the Crimson faithful to rejoice.

Read moreSaunders, Crimson squeak by Minutemen