Without further ado, I present the official IvyHoopsOnline preseason predictions for the 2011-2012 season.
Without further ado, I present the official IvyHoopsOnline preseason predictions for the 2011-2012 season.
The statistical wizard, Mike James, released his preseason player insights over at one of our favorite blogs, . The entire article is certainly worth reading as James goes into detail explaining his picks for an All-Freshman Team, All-Ivy candidates, and finally All-Ivy First and Second Teams. One pick against the grain was his prediction that Keith Wright drops to the All-Ivy Second Team from his POY perch:
This is how stacked the Ivy League is at the post position. It”s not really a commentary on Wright, but more a fact of the circumstances. The Crimson”s 6″8 post won”t be required to eat up as many possessions this year with support from a healthy Kyle Casey and a presumably strong bench, which will likely hurt the counting stats that voters so often cite.
Wright”s improvement from his sophomore to junior year was monumental. While some of that was merely being healthy all year, his passing also improved and he became a more consistent force on the boards. The biggest jump, however, came in free throw rate. Wright”s most successful split prior to last season was his freshman year Ivy campaign, when he posted a FT Rate of 41.3% and his only adjusted offensive rating over 100 (102). He spent all of last season in the 40s and the results were clear – all three splits showed offensive ratings in the 110s.
Maintaining that rate will be the key to Wright matching last year”s breakout performance.”
Many sources, including NERR”s Adam Finkelstein writing for ESPN Insider”s College Basketball Recruiting blog, reported that Yale received a commitment from sought-after 6″7″ forward Justin Sears in the Class of 2012. Sears sounds like an athletic wing scorer, just what Yale could use. Finkelstein”s got the details:
“Yale scored an equally important pledge from (Plainfield, N.J./Plainfield), a highly athletic 6-7 forward who took an official visit to Stanford earlier this month.
Sears was widely recruited by the vast majority of the Ivy League throughout the summer and saw his recruitment continue to escalate as he proved himself to be a dynamic two-way player. At Yale, his biggest impact may be on the defensive end of the floor where he’ll not only be able to defend multiple positions but also be able to serve as a dominant weak-side shot-blocker. “
Over at the DP Buzz Blog, Jack Eggleston “11 weighs in from the German ProB League, giving us a little insight on how he deals with losing.
“People often say that losing builds character, that you learn more from a loss than a win. I never bought into that idea. I”m more of the George Brett school of thought when he says, “If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.” Whether it”s a game against Princeton in the Palestra or a “friendly” game of Blokus with my roommates, losing has never sat too well with me.”
And to wrap up, we point you back to the Ivy League”s most entertaining player blog, Mid Major Chillin. This week, the crew posts about their marketing efforts with their website (business cards), as well as an environmental campaign in which the players participated that produced the following iconic image:
If you took everything said in the preseason media teleconference at face value, then you’d think every team has a shot to win the Ivy League title this year. Here are a few of the best sound bites from Wednesday, taken beyond face value.
Yale head coach James Jones on the Bulldogs’ preseason No. 2 ranking: “Every year for the last I don’t know how many, we’ve always been picked lower than we’ve finished. We’re picked second; there’s only one more spot to go to, so hopefully it works out for us.”
In the middle of a vanilla interview, Jones whips out this nugget. That’s a suspiciously juicy factoid for a coach—I’m guessing the SID gave it to him. For the record, the last time Yale failed to surpass its preseason ranking was 2007-08. By the way, looking through old preseason rankings is a hoot: last year Cornell got a first place vote; in 2009-10, Penn was picked third; the 2008-09 Tigers were chosen dead last. I wonder if the previous season is a better predictor of preseason polls than the end of year rankings.
Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson on the Tigers’ scheduling difficulties: “When you’re in a position like ours—we like being in a situation like this—where teams don’t want to play you, especially this year with a good group coming back, it’s a little more difficult to get your phone calls returned.”
Humblebrag! “They hate me cuz they ain’t me,” Henderson added.
Paul Franklin, The Trenton Times: “It hasn’t been that long, obviously, since you played…or maybe it is. [Pause for laughter]. Sorry about that.”
Penn head coach Jerome Allen: “It’s OK.”
Paul Franklin of The Trenton Times stole the show on Wednesday. Reporter chumminess is an especially awkward variety of male flirting, but in the hands of a skilled veteran like Mr. Franklin, it’s borderline magical.
“1995 was like so long ago, AMIRITE?! ROFL!!!”
Jerome was unfazed, and in his chocolatey, midnight DJ voice he gave a courtesy chuckle and forgave the age crack.
Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker on 2009-10: “Jeremy made so many other people better. I think that’s always the mark of a special player, which Jeremy was for us.”
The Jeremy Lin narrative has taken a slightly disappointing turn, as he’s become one of those NBA bench players that fans cheer for ironically. Well Tommy Amaker is not going to let that spoil his legacy in Cambridge: JEREMY LIN IS THE BEST PLAYER IN HARVARD HISTORY. THAT’S THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS.
Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier on the Big Green’s inexperience: “One good thing about having freshmen is sometimes that lack of experience doesn’t affect their confidence and they just feel that they’ve been successful at whatever level they’ve been at and hopefully that some of that success can carry over.”
What Cormier is trying to say is that freshmen don’t have the Dartmouth stink yet. The Dartmouth stink doesn’t wash off. One season in Hanover and you’re permanently stinky. It sounds like his plan is to quarantine every member of last season’s 5-23 team by keeping them on bench rest and to start anew with this freshmen class. It’s like the plot of The Walking Dead.
Paul Franklin, Trenton Times: “Playing a little devil’s advocate with you here: if I’m a hardcore Cornell fan and I start harassing you with, ‘Hey coach, when are we going back to the Sweet Sixteen?’, what’s your response?”
Cornell head coach Bill Courtney: [Laughs] “I’ll tell you what, it’s funny because you get a lot of that when I go to the grocery store or the movies or something like that… We’re working towards that and we’ll continue to work until we get back to that point.”
Franklin: “Alright, you’ve got five years then I’m coming after you.”
Courtney: [Laughs] “I hear you.”
More gold from Franklin. The question is legitimate—when will the Big Red climb back to the top of the Ivy League?—but I wonder what he means by “coming after you.” I can only assume that Mr. Franklin has some ferocious tickling in store for Courtney if he can’t lead the Big Red back to March Madness by 2016.
Columbia head coach Kyle Smith, on senior guard Noruwa Agho: “I just feel he’s one of the best all-around players in the league and one of the best all-around players I’ve ever been around… I don’t know if that will show up as much in the stats, but it’s certainly showing up with his leadership.”
The Myth of Noruwa Agho lives on, but Smith at least seems to acknowledge that Agho’s raw stats hide his inefficiency. Thankfully for Columbia, Agho might lead the league in leadership, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Brown head coach Jesse Agel: “This league is really, really good. There are no nights off. There are no more weekends where, you know, Penn and Princeton would go somewhere and say, ‘Well, we’ve just got to get through this weekend and we should win two.’ I don’t think anyone’s thinking that anywhere now.”
Franklin: “No more sightseeing, huh?”
Agel: [Laughs] “I don’t know what you could see on some of those rides. Having lived up in the deep Northeast, not much sightseeing in the winter.”
Franklin: [Laughs] “Alright, thanks.”
Franklin does it again! It might be the preseason, but Mr. Franklin is in rare form. He forced a chuckle out of Jesse Agel, who might be the most humorless coach in the Ivies. But Agel snaps back into his sour mien with a terse “sure” to close out a riveting, if hardly informative, hour and a half teleconference.
The Daily Pennsylvanian elicited shrugs and modest agreement yesterday by suggesting that Penn Athletics axe The Line, the annual tradition of staying overnight at the Palestra in order to be the first to buy season tickets (and, historically, have first dibs on NCAA Tournament tickets).
Now that the Quakers have fallen from their lofty perch atop the Ivy League, The Line has failed to engender the same enthusiasm as in years past: last Friday, fifty students showed up for the festivities. In the wake of this diminishing interest, some would rather avoid the embarrassment of a poor turnout than continue the tradition.
The only real counter to this position is a tenuous appeal to Tradition. Deadspin writes, “You can’t call something a tradition if you shut it down when things are glum.” I agree, and so does Eamonn Brennan. In general, we care how long a tradition has been running because that reflects the level of commitment. If we’ve really reached the end of The Line, then Penn supporters have become just like any other fair-weather fan base. That shift is perhaps the final death knell of the Quakers’ Ivy League superiority.
So while Penn fans smugly assert that their return to the top is a matter of “when (not if),” Line-haters only hasten the Quakers’ demise by jumping off board a sinking tradition. Man up, fans. Suffer the embarrassment of a few lean years, then thump your chest when Penn climbs back to the top. Otherwise, when Quaker basketball does reclaim its former glory, that team will be part of a separate tradition, one entirely divorced from the days when Penn was truly in a league of its own.
Blue Ribbon came out with their team-by-team previews of every Ivy League team on ESPN.com. For those of you without access to ESPN Insider, we’ll give you the quick rundown on what we thought was worthy of noting.
Up at Dartmouth, Coach Cormier thinks that a big factor in terms of whether or not the Big Green will be successful this year will be the way upperclassmen react to diminished roles as the talented freshmen begin to acclimate themselves and take minutes from the older players. The Blue Ribbon preview is optimistic, but suggests that the Big Green won’t be able to compete in the top half until these incoming recruits are juniors or seniors. Still, it’s nice to see Dartmouth headed in what seems like the right direction for the first time in years.
Out in Providence, Coach Agel is hopeful that this young Brown team will be able to get over the hump. Blue Ribbon noted that the Bears led the league in scoring with Harvard, but came in last in scoring defense. Consistency is the story for Brown because after beating Princeton and leading Harvard by double-digits in both games last year, there’s no doubt that the Bears are talented enough to compete with the league’s best. Can they improve their strength down low and bear down (pun intended) and get stops in the second halves of big games? The answer to that question will go a long way in determining where the Bears finish, as many publications have them finishing anywhere between 4th and 7th.
Down in Philadelphia, Coach Allen refuses to be content with the big leap the Quakers made out of the bottom half last year. We know the Quakers will be as good as anyone at the guard spots and on the wing with Rosen, Bernardini and Cartwright, but Allen challenged his stars in the Blue Ribbon preview to improve the weak spots in their game. Of Rosen, he said, “He does a lot for us from the locker room to the court. I wish he was a much better defensive player. But having said that, you couldn’t ask for a better leader among the group.” Of Bernardini, Allen would like to see improvement on the glass. “We all know that he’s a tremendous shooter, but he has some other natural abilities. If he exhausts them this season, it will make us a better team.” Finally, of the young Cartwright, “He’s going to be asked to have more of a leadership role this year on both ends of the floor.” Of course, the big question mark for Penn is the frontcourt where they have struggled with youth and injuries. In the final analysis, Blue Ribbon rated their backcourt an “A”, their frontcourt a “C+”, and suggested that a return to the top tier was not imminent this season.
Blue Ribbon reserved the most praise, expectedly, for Harvard and, perhaps less expectedly, for Yale. The Bulldogs were given a serious shot at winning the title this year thanks to the Mangano/Kreisberg/Morgan trio that looked so dangerous at times last year. The Bulldogs haven’t truly challenged for a title since the ’06-’07 10-4 campaign led by dynamic guard Eric Flato. This time, it’ll be the big man, Mangano, who carries the load for the Elis on the quest for a championship.
Meanwhile, over at the DP, IHO contributor Brian Kotloff and Kevin Esteves discuss expectations for Penn, suggesting this year’s version of the Quakers may see improvement on the same steep incline as Princeton did in ’09-10 under third-year Sydney Johnson.
And finally, we’ll end on a light note. Yale sophomores Jeremiah Kreisberg and Greg Kelley have a blog that they update frequently. It seems to be a pretty hilarious insider’s take on life playing basketball at a Mid-Major. Today’s post, for example, consisted of some serious excitement over receiving three pairs of brand-new Nike socks in their lockers. Check it out, it’s worth some good laughs.
A few links to take you into the weekend on Midnight Madness Day, the first official day of the season:
“The festivities, which begin at Lavietes Pavilion at 4 p.m., will include a team scrimmage and the raising of Harvard’s first-ever Ivy League championship banner.” (thecrimson.com)
“The Quakers have arguably the best backcourt in the league with the trio of Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Miles Cartwright. But their depth in the frontcourt is a major vulnerability. The key questions for Penn will be whether senior forward Mike Howlett can stay healthy, whether sophomore big men Cam Gunter and Fran Dougherty can step up to replace graduated seniors, and whether the freshmen forwards can make an immediate impact.” (thedp.com/thebuzz)
“‘We are very excited,’ Henderson said. ‘All summer we have been talking as a staff about finding our identity…Everyone is looking to get to work. We have a good schedule for us and it is challenging… We want to play a style of basketball that we can be proud of.'” (www.trentonian.com)
“The Bears have reason to be optimistic as they feature a roster that may be as talented and as deep as any the program has seen since the 2002-2003 team that won 17 games and played in the NIT.” (golocalprov.com)
Rivals.com (Yahoo Sports) ranked the Ivy League 20th in their countdown of college basketball”s 32 conferences. The first half of the article consists of the usual praise for Cornell and Princeton”s recent postseason performance. The author, David Fox, seems to suggest that Harvard, this year”s prohibitive favorite, may have a different competitor to deal with at the top of the standings with Princeton losing Maddox and Mavraides. He cites Penn and Yale as the two squads with which the Crimson may have to contend, while suggesting Brown may make a leap from the bottom behind the youth movement led by McGonagill and Rafael Maia.
The rankings below the article though, at times, seem to be disconnected from the analysis. Princeton is left in the #2 spot, ahead of Penn and Yale even though Fox claimed Harvard would have different competition for the title. Additionally, Ian Hummer is given a spot on the league”s second team. If Hummer carries the Tigers to a second place finish this year after losing Maddox and Mavraides, I have to like his chances to make the first team.
The projected standings also show Brown staying put in the #7 slot despite the aforementioned praise and the prediction that Maia will be the league”s Rookie of the Year. While there are certainly minutes for Maia in the Bears” frontcourt that other freshmen may not see, a ROY season combined with last year”s ROY in the backcourt in McGonagill as well as All-Ivy Honorable Mention Tucker Halpern on the wing, who shot 40% from distance last year, and it seems like the Bears should be able to finish higher than 7th.
Other choices that deserve further examination include “Best frontcourt: Harvard,” which could also have been awarded to the Yale Bulldogs with the duo of Mangano and Kreisberg (with freshmen Sherrod and Childs-Klein coming off the bench). Best backcourt was given to Penn, though Brandyn Curry, Christian Webster, Oliver McNally, and Laurent Rivard may have something to say about that up in Cambridge.
Interestingly, in the “Coach on the hot seat” category, Rivals chose “None.” But if, as they predicted, the Bears fail to move up from the bottom this year, you have to think that things are going to get uncomfortably warm for Coach Agel in Providence.
A couple interesting mid-week links that you may have missed:
I recently read a great statistical preview of the upcoming season on . Definitely check it out for an interesting read. Essentially, using some Pomeroy-level formulas, which I am going to take at face-value, the mastermind behind T14GT generated some very intriguing numbers and projections based on player-level and team-level statistics from past seasons. The resulting formulas generated the following projected win totals for 2011-2012:
“1. Harvard – 12.0
2. Yale – 8.5
3. Princeton – 8.4
4. Penn – 6.8
5. Cornell – 6.3
6. Columbia – 5.6
7. Brown – 5.5
8. Dartmouth – 2.8″
My initial reaction to these standings is that the order seems to generally fall in line with how I see this season proceeding. Nevertheless, I wanted to chime in with some quick thoughts on the projections and where I see things playing out differently since it”s tough to quantify the impact that a great recruiting class or a departing coach might have on a team. I”ll take the above projections to be each team”s season win total over/under and go team-by-team with my picks.
Harvard- 12.0 wins (IHO says: right on) Harvard is everyone”s runaway favorite and rightfully so, given that they return everyone and add the league”s best recruiting class. Not much to argue with there.
Yale- 8.5 wins (IHO says: over) This Yale team is set to turn some heads this year. I was excited to see the projections backing up what I”ve seen on the court; this team may be the only squad capable of taking down the Crimson this year. We saw last year how evenly these teams matched up and how seriously they take the rivalry in two classic battles. Both home teams narrowly prevailed in “10-“11 and we can expect the same type of thrilling contests this year, as Yale has added some serious height in their incoming freshman class (6″11″ Will Childs-Klein, 6″7″ Matt Townsend, and 6″ 7” name-of-the-year candidate Armani Cotton) to back up Mangano and Kreisberg. This year though, if we”re lucky, the winner of The (Basketball) Game may also determine the league champion.
Princeton- 8.4 wins (IHO says: under) Princeton clocks in with between 8 and 9 wins in this projection, good for third in the league, I don”t see them putting it all together that quickly. Losing Mavraides and Maddox is a big blow for the defending champs, but losing a head coach is devastating. It takes more than a summer for a head coach to lay down his system, and I just can”t see the Tigers responding this quickly with a top 2 or 3 finish. Not saying it”s impossible, but in a league that relies heavily on good coaching and scheming, it would be a remarkable accomplishment for Princeton to compete for a league title again this year. I have them landing in the middle of the pack with a .500 record.
Penn- 6.8 wins (IHO says: over) Penn is a team with a void to fill with the departure of Jack Eggleston. Despite that, the trio of Miles Cartwright, Zack Rosen, and Tyler Bernardini will see how far they can lead this year”s Penn team. Those three players combine to make up as good a backcourt as you”ll find in the Ivy League this year, but they can”t do it alone. It”ll be very interesting to see how quickly Penn can bring their front-court up to speed. The Quakers might be able to get away with their lack of depth on the offensive end, but established big men like Mangano and Wright are surely licking their chops looking at the freshmen and bench players they”ll be matched up with against Penn. Still, IHO thinks the terrific trio of guards will be enough to take down the bottom half of the league and steal a game or two against the big boys.
Cornell- 6.3 wins (IHO says: under) Chris Wroblewski put the Big Red on his back last year, shooting the lights out and leading Cornell to a respectable finish in the middle of the pack, one year removed from the team”s legendary Sweet 16 run. Consider that Cornell had an unbelievable 13 players make at least one start last year, and you”ll realize that this is a team that is still figuring out its identity. We know they can shoot the ball, but there are too many question marks to think they can contend with the top echelon this year. IHO wants to see how the Big Red freshman class fares in non-conference play before committing to a number, but for now, we think Cornell has a lot to prove.
Columbia- 5.6 wins (IHO says: under) As is often the case in this league, the lack of an effective big man presence inside will leave Columbia relying on their guard play. Last year, Noruwa Agho proved himself as one of the league”s most explosive scorers–though T14GT recently put forth a compelling argument that he may be the . Brian Barbour”s quickness on the ball will be helpful and his 2:1 assist to turnover ratio is impressive, but it won”t result in many points unless the Lions have added a few knockdown shooters. Last year, Columbia finished dead last in 2-point shooting and 3-point shooting. Besides that, over 72% of their shots last year came from Agho, Ampim and Brian Grimes. Agho found a way to score–albeit by putting up a lot of shots, but Ampim and Grimes clocked in far below average on KenPom”s Offensive Efficiency index. It”s simple: the Lions will need to find a way to get better shots and knock them down if they want to improve upon last year”s finish.
Brown- 5.5 wins (IHO says: over) It might surprise some people, but there”s a lot to be excited about in Providence. The Bears return Rookie of the Year point guard Sean McGonagill who will most likely start alongside transfer Steve Albrecht, who sat out last year after an impressive freshman campaign at Toledo. The Bears also return Tucker Halpern on the wing who showed signs of brilliance last year, including a 29 point performance in a near-upset of Harvard last year. Dockery Walker returns from a great freshman campaign in which he proved he was capable of being a much-needed inside presence, an energy guy, and a monster on the defensive boards. With the addition of a solid freshman class, including Brazilian center 6″9″ Rafael Maia, the Bears have the ability to make the jump into the top half for the first time since the days of Mullery.
Dartmouth- 2.8 wins (IHO says: under) The Big Green have only won two games in the past two years, and they didn”t have a single player average double figures in points per game. That being said, they return Jabari Trotter who shot the ball over 40% from deep last season, as well as R.J. Griffin who put up 20 against Harvard last season. The Big Green will be counting on a solid class of freshmen to step in and contribute immediately if they want to be competitive in the league this year. Their top priority this offseason should be holding onto the ball–Dartmouth doesn”t return a single player with an assist-to-turnover ratio over 1.
The Ivy League has changed substantially in the past five years. Ancient 8 teams are beating BCS schools in non-conference play, and two years ago, Cornell went to a Sweet 16. Last year, Princeton continued to help support the idea that Ivy Leaguers can play with the big boys when they almost beat Kentucky in the first round. The reason for this change is that Ivy League recruiting has improved drastically over the past five years. Big time players are now looking at Ivy League schools as legitimate Division-I options. As the director of the National All-Academic Camp, I get a chance to see many of these players each summer and I have noticed that the Ivy League prospects have improved every year over the past 5 years. We are seeing better athletes and more complete players each year who have grades and SAT scores to match.
Here is the breakdown of the Ivy League’s 2015 recruiting classes.
Head Coach: Jesse Agel
Incoming Players: Rafael Maia 6’9” (Maine Central Institute), Christian Gore 6’2” (El Paso, TX), Joe Sharkey 6’2” (Northfield Mount Hermon), Taylor Wright 6’5” (Episcopal Academy), Longji Yiljep 6’5” (Westwon, PA), Jon Schmidt 6″7″ (Friends School, MD)
Recruiting Grade: A-
Analysis: Agel scored a major recruit during his first two years in Tucker Halpern (Class of 2013) and Sean McGonagill (Class of 2014). I’m picking Rafael Maia as the hands-down favorite for Rookie of the Year in the Ivy League. The 6’9” Brazilian is a BIG TIME presence on the defensive end and a freak athlete. Maia is an ACC/Big East level talent who will be one of the most talented shot blockers and rebounders the Ivy League has ever seen. Joe Sharkey will add backcourt stability, which the Bears need desperately. Sharkey is a high IQ, pass-first point guard who makes all the right plays. Taylor Wright, the son of Villanova coach Jay Wright, will be a nice addition. He averaged over 17 ppg last year and has a reputation of being able to stretch the defense. Christian Gore is a 2 star recruit form El Paso who should also help provide backcourt depth.
Head Coach: Kyle Smith
Incoming Players: Samer Ozeir 6’8” (Novi, MI), Alex Rosenberg 6’7” (Peddie
School, NJ), Noah Springwater 6’3” (University HS, San Francisco), Skylar Scrivano 6’9” (Peddie School, NJ), Cory Osetkowski 6″10″ (Canyon Crest HS, CA), Darius Stevens 6″6″ (La Lumiere HS, IN)
Recruiting Grade: C
Analysis: There wasn’t a lot of pop in this 2015 class for Coach Smith, but he’s got a solid group of role players nonetheless. Scrivano and Rosenberg will
add front court depth. Scrivano has a reputation for being a terrific shot blocker, which should help the Lions in the paint.
Head Coach: Bill Courtney
Incoming Players: Galal Cancer 6’2” (Christian Brothers Academy), Dave LaMore 6’9” (Dexter HS, MI), Devin Cherry 6’3” (Meriden, MS), Shonn Miller 6″7″ (St. Ignatius HS, OH), Nenad Tomic 6″7″ (North Royalton HS, OH), Deion Giddens 6″9″ (Willow Canyon HS, AZ)
Recruiting Grade: B
Analysis: Galal Cancer will prove to be a major score online casino for Cornell, as he was a recruiting steal for the Big Red. Cancer who played at Christian Brothers Academy and for the Nike sponsored AAU club, Albany City Rocks, will be a prolific scorer in the Ivy League. He is also great in transition, which will be perfect for Coach Courtney’s style of play. LaMore will add a great post presence and will likely be a starter at some point during his career. Devin Cherry was an intriguing get for Courtney as he is from Mississippi, which is not heavily recruited by his league foes. Cherry will be an athletic hybrid perimeter player who will need to add muscle to his 170 lb. frame in order to be a major presence in the Ivy League.
Edit: Dave LaMore”s name was misspelled in a previously posted version of this article.
Head Coach: Paul Cormier
Incoming Players: John Golden 6’6” (Northfield Mount Hermon), Will McConnell 6’6” (Atherton, CA), Kirill Savolainen 6’5” (VA Episcopal), Mack McKearney 6’2” (Okemos, MI), Gabas Maldunas 6’8” (Holderness School), Jvonte Brooks 6’6” (Northfield)
Recruiting Grade: B
Analysis: Cormier and his staff did a great job overall in this class. They added depth and pulled the trigger on a few players early, who will all be great additions. One such player is John Golden, who many Ivy and Patriot League schools wish they had offered earlier. Golden is a big guard who can really stretch the floor with his shooting range and is a fearless competitor. His prep schoool teammate at Northfield Mount Hermon, Jvonte Brooks, is a tremendous athlete who will need to continue to develop his skills to be an impact player. Maldunas is an interesting player as he is a big, skilled 4-man who is deceptively athletic. McConnell will add length and depth at the small forward position. If he gets tougher, he will be a very good player for the Big Green. There are no stars in this group, but an overall great collection.
Head Coach: Tommy Amaker
Incoming Players: Max Hooper 6’5” (Brewster Academy), Corbin Miller 6’2” (Brighton, UT), Steve Moundou-Missi 6’6” (Montverde Academy), Alex Nesbitt 6’7” (Univ of Chicago Laboratory HS), Wesley Saunders 6’5” (Winward Academy), Kenyatta Smith 6’8” (Flintridge Prep), Jonas Travis 6″6″ (De La Salle, MN)
Recruiting Class: A
Analysis: It looks like Amaker has struck gold again here with his 2015 class. In my opinion, he has had the best or second best recruiting class every year since he arrived in Cambridge. Steve Moundou-Missi is my dark horse pick for Rookie of the Year. The only thing holding him back is that he’s playing behind All-League players Kyle Casey and Keith Wright. Moundou-Missi is a monster athlete who will be a rebounding machine for the Crimson. Kenyatta Smith turned down offers from the Pac-10 and Big 10 to attend Harvard. His size and skill will help the Crimson’s already imposing interior. Max Hooper is a prolific sniper who will keep defenses honest and not allow for double teams. Wesley Saunders is another dynamic get, who will add a great scoring punch for the Crimson.
Head Coach: Jerome Allen
Incoming Players: Henry Brooks 6’8” (Miller Grove, GA), Simeon Espirit 6’6” (England), Keelan Carnes (Ireland), Cam Crocker 6’3” (Cypress, CA), Greg Louis 6’7” (Dwyer, FL), Patrick Lucas-Perry 5″11″ (Flint Powers HS, MI)
Recruiting Class: A-
Analysis: Penn has done a great job adding the front court depth they needed in 2015. Henry Brooks has a chance to be special and will be a difference maker for the Quakers over the next four years. Espirit and Carnes were prep teamates at Barking Abbey College in the UK. I have not seen either, but am told they will surprise many Ivy League fans this year with their ability. Lewis will challenge for time on an already talented Quaker team. Allen put together a great group here that will help keep the Quakers contenders for years to come.
Edit: Cam Crocker was erroneously referred to as Penn sophomore Cam Gunter in a previously posted version of this article.
Head Coach: Mitch Henderson
Incoming Players: Brian Fabrizius 6’11” (Kimball Union Academy), Bobby Garbade 6’10” (Seton Catholic), Denton Koon 6’7” (Liberty HS, MO), Clay Wilson 6’4” (Lincoln Christian, OK)
Recruiting Class: B
Analysis: Princeton filled some needs in 2015, but
didn’t add much star power. Luckily, the defending Ivy League Champs and first year head coach Mitch Henderson may not have to this year. Bobby Garbade was a 15 ppg, 11 rpg post in high school and is a very solid passer. His game will fit nicely with the Princeton system. Fabrizius, the other post, will add size, but will most likely not be a part of the rotation next year. Koon was his school’s validictorian, an all-state performer in high school, and has the ability to score in a variety of fashions. Clay Wilson is a prototypical Princeton guard who has some size and an uncanny ability to shoot the three and find the open man.
Head Coach: James Jones
Incoming Players: Will Childs-Klein 6’11” (Ladue HS, MO), Armani Cotton 6’7” (Northfield Mount Hermon), Javier Duren 6’4” (Oakville HS, MO), Brandon Sherrod 6’6” (Choate Rosemary Hall), Matt Townsend 6’7” (Horace Greeley)
Recruiting Class: A-
Analysis: This is a great class for James Jones. Brandon Sherrod will prove to be one of the best posts the Ivy League has ever seen. He is undersized, but strong as an ox and he knows how to score. Armani Cotton will add athleticism to the Bulldogs’ perimeter game. Cotton can attack the rim and shoot the three ball with the best of them. Childs-Klein will compliment Sherrod on the interior as a true center who can take up space and finish around the rim.
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