It’s been a long month.
But since this is STILL March, as Jon Rothstein has noted – one without a NCAA Tournament – now’s as good a time as ever for Ivy Hoops Online’s contributors to reflect back on our favorite moments for Ivies in the Big Dance.
It appears that Katie Benzan will be trading in her crimson for burnt orange next season.
The three time first team All-Ivy guard, who announced she would forgo her senior season in late August, informed the Harvard Crimson newspaper that she verbally committed to the University of Texas at Austin for a graduate transfer year in 2020-21. She will formally sign a National Letter of Intent in the upcoming early signing period that runs from November 13 through 20.
Ivy Hoops Online announces the next entry in Ivy 60 for 60, our series running through 60 of the greatest players in Ivy League men’s basketball history to continue celebrating six decades of modern Ivy League basketball. An Ivy 60 for 60 for Ivy women’s basketball will follow.
He is the only player in the history of Yale basketball to be Ivy Player of the Year two years in a row. He was a fan favorite at John J. Lee Amphitheater throughout his career. He hails from Plainfield, N.J. He was a high school star with scholarship offers from many high level D-1 teams, but he chose academics first, much to the satisfaction of his parents.
His name is Justin Sears.
- Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated published a longform article Thursday on former Penn head coach Jerome Allen and his part in a recruitment scandal that saw the Ivy great accept money from a parent to place an unqualified student-athlete onto the school’s recruited athlete list. The author wrote his article, which is available online and in the print edition, “with the aid of court transcripts and exhibits, financial records, news reports and interviews with three dozen of his friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, players, mentors and coworkers, many speaking anonymously for fear of personal and professional ramifications.”
The article provided the following new information: During his playing career, Allen faced a series of civil suits over unpaid debts—$5,000 owed to a car-leasing company, $13,000 to a bank, $6,700 to a landlord.
– While Allen was coaching Penn, the school sued him for nearly $25,000 for failing to pay off two decades of accrued interest on a loan he had taken out as a student
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.
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.”
Despite a weekend of travel woes, Yale swept the always challenging Columbia-Cornell trip and now sits at 17-4 and 7-1 in the Ivies. The Elis maintain first place alone.
Not dissimilar from the NCAA Tournament, the Ivy held open shootarounds for the public and press conferences involving coaches and top players yesterday at the Palestra.
One could only wonder during the Yale men’s noon practice what could have been, with arguably the team’s two best players, Jordan Bruner and Makai Mason on the bench, injured and unable to play.
Coach James Jones summed up Mason by noting,”If Makai didn’t have bad luck,he wouldn’t have luck at all,” adding that Mason thinks he may have mono.
Princeton coach Courtney Banghart of Princeton was outspoken in her press conference about the tournament venue. She didn’t find it fully fair that a 1 seed could play a 2 seed on the 2 seed’s home floor, obviously alluding to a possible matchup with Penn on Sunday.