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 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

Q&A with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson

Mitch Henderson enters his ninth season as Princeton coach. (Ivy League Digital Network)

Our George Clark (Toothless Tiger) caught up recently with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, who is entering his ninth season at the Tigers’ helm. 

In Part 1, Henderson reflects on last season, what Myles Stephens said to the team after their Ivy League Tournament appearance at Yale, Jaelin Llewellyn pushing through injury and fatigue to have a “great year” as a first-year last season, Richmond Aririguzoh’s work ethic and much more:

In Part 2, Henderson talks about Ryan Schwieger being able to do a little bit of everything, discusses the incoming class of first-years, previews the team’s 2019-20 schedule, looks ahead to including an upcoming change to Princeton’s academic calendar that will impact future Ivy League scheduling and much more:

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 League men’s basketball preseason power rankings

Ivy Hoops Online’s writing staff voted on where all eight Ivy men’s and women’s basketball teams would end up for the 2019-20 season. Our projected order of finish for the men (and the women’s rankings here):

Read moreIvy League men’s basketball preseason power rankings

Ivy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

  • Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon.  The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
    Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement.  AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information.  Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
    Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

Ivy hoops roundup – May 29, 2019

  • Cornell’s Matt Morgan was the male recipient of the Charles H. Moore Outstanding Senior Varsity Athlete Award at the school’s annual senior athletics banquet.  The two-time first team All-Ivy guard ended his career with 2,333 points, the most in program history and second best in Ivy League history, trailing only Hall of Famer Bill Bradley of Princeton (2,503).

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – May 29, 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

Ivy hoops roundup – Apr. 20, 2019

Harvard men’s basketball post-season banquet:
MVP – Bryce Aiken; Defensive Player of the Year – Justin Bassey
2019-2020 Captains – Seth Towns and Henry Welsh

Harvard women’s basketball post-season banquet:
Co-MVP – Katie Benzan and Madeline Raster; Defensive Player of the Year – Nani Redford; Most Improved Player – Rachel Levy

Brown women’s basketball post-season banquet:
MVP – Shayna Mehta; Most Improved Player – Haley Green

Princeton women’s basketball names Bella Alarie and Taylor Baur co-captains for the 2019-2020 season.  Coach Courtney Banghart discussed the two athletes, as well as their goals of another Ivy title and a Sweet 16 run, in the season-ending episode of The Court Report.

Yale coach James Jones just missed out on the St. John’s coaching job, but he did win the 2019 Ben Jobe Award, given by CollegeInsider.com to the top minority coach in Division I basketball.

Penn senior Princess Aghayere was named one of six recipients of the President’s Engagement Prize by university President Amy Gutmann.  Awarded annually, the Prizes empower Penn students to design and undertake post-graduation projects that make a positive, lasting difference in the world. Each Prize-winning project will receive $100,000, as well as a $50,000 living stipend per team member. Student recipients will spend the next year implementing their projects.

Aghayere was chosen for her work with Rebound Liberia, which uses basketball as a tool to bridge the literacy gap between men and women and as a mechanism for youth to cope with the trauma and stress of daily life in post-conflict Liberia.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Apr. 20, 2019