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?

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Princeton all-time moment No. 9 – A most unlikely 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’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Superfudge is set.

As the new century dawned, cataclysmic changes were occurring in Jadwin Gymnasium. In the spring of 2000,Tiger center Chris Young signed a contract to play professional baseball, thus ending his eligibility for Ivy athletics. (In 2015, he signed on with the Kansas City Royals, continuing an impressive career as a big league starter.)

In June, first assistant coach Joe Scott took the head job at the Air Force Academy. Later in the summer, Bill Carmody departed for the top spot at Northwestern. Almost by default, John Thompson lll emerged from the Carril Cradle to assume the role of head coach.

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Princeton all-time moment No. 10 – The Comeback

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 Hoagie Haven is.


To most observers, Ivy League basketball in the 20th century was not much more than an annual ritual the purpose of which was to crown either Penn or Princeton as champions. Naturally, the annual home and home series between these two combatants developed into the fiercest rivalry in collegiate basketball. None was more intense … and none was as much fun.

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Princeton on the prowl under Mitch Henderson

I wrote a week ago that Steve Donahue is off to a great start as head coach at Penn.

But it’s Princeton’s head coach who has a program primed for an outstanding finish.

Mitch Henderson’s next season at the Tigers’ helm will be his fifth, and with the talent he has returning, it should also mark his first Ivy League championship.

This coming season, the Tigers will return all five starters and six of the first eight in their 2014-15 rotation. That means Princeton returns virtually all of its potent offense from last season too, one that finished 92nd in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency (behind only Harvard among Ivies). And Princeton was the highest scoring offense in the Ivy League last season at 68.9 points per game. The Tigers easily led the league in field goal and three-point field goal percentage a season ago.

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Sizing up the Ivy transfers

It’s been an awfully busy offseason for transfers throughout the Ivy League. Shonn Miller is off to Storrs. Rafael Maia is pining for Pittsburgh, Alex Mitola is set for D.C. and Denton Koon is headed to Hempstead.

But which Ivy transfer is going to have the biggest impact on their team in 2015-16?

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Denton Koon transfers to Hofstra

CBS Sports reported today that Princeton transfer Denton Koon has committed to Hofstra. The 6-8, 210-pound senior forward missed last season after suffering an MCL injury in October. He will be instantly eligible.

Koon was initially expected to return for the 2014-15 campaign but Koon later elected to graduate from Princeton this spring and use his final year of eligibility at another school. Koon played in just 18 games in 2013-14 and was ruled out for the remainder of last season in February due to a knee injury. Koon finished Princeton with career averages of 7.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. As a sophomore in 2012-13, Koon earned an All-Ivy honorable mention for his 10.5 points per contest, including 43.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Health permitting, Koon will provide a versatile frontcourt talent for the Pride who can drive in the lane with ease and stretch defenses with his shooting.


From the archives: “A Sense of Where You Are”

As noted in this space before, the 2014-15 campaign marked the 50th anniversary of Princeton’s 1965 Final Four berth. And as noted by The Classical earlier this month, the New Yorker freed one of its greatest all-time pieces from behind its paywall to coincide with March Madness – a longform masterpiece by the great John McPhee on Princeton’s Bill Bradley first published in the Jan. 23, 1965 issue of the magazine. The book, McPhee’s first, is 15,897 words long, so I’m not going to use a ton of words to set up the piece. Just read it here and be amazed by McPhee’s characteristically amazing storytelling and Bill Bradley’s talents as a basketball player and figure in the public eye, even as it appeared that Bradley might bypass the NBA en route to a less conventional career path at the time. Even if it Bradley hadn’t enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the New York Knicks or gave Al Gore a serious run for his money during the 2000 Democratic presidential primary race as a former three-term senator, he’d still be worthy of the longform piece that hopefully you’ve already started reading by now.

Courtney Banghart earns Naismith Coach of the Year honors

Courtney Banghart WSJPrinceton coach Courtney Banghart was named Naismith Coach of the Year Tuesday for leading the Tigers to a 30-0 regular season and notching the second ever NCAA Tournament victory for the Ivy League.

Banghart becomes the first Ivy League coach, women’s or men’s, to be named Naismith Coach of the Year. Banghart was also named to Forbes’ list of the 50 Greatest World Leaders last month, natch.

ALL FOOLS’ DAY: Courtney Banghart close to deal to take over at Kansas

A reputable source close to the Princeton women’s basketball team tells Ivy Hoops Online that coach Courtney Banghart is close to accepting a deal to become the next coach at Kansas, which fired Bonnie Hendrickson after 11 seasons last month.

The source said Banghart, who is 169-67 (.716) with five NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons at the helm at Princeton, became a frontrunner for the position after she was named on Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

Should Banghart leave Princeton, the same source said Princeton will likely draw from Fortune Magazine’s list as well and tap former Girl Scouts CEO Frances Hesselbein to succeed Banghart.

“(Princeton athletic director) Mollie Marcoux will be looking for someone who can encourage community service and outdoor adeptness among the players,” the source said. “Because these ladies deserve to be busy anywhere but the sadistic, Un-American spaceship that is Jadwin Gym.”

No. 8 Princeton's undefeated season ends at No. 1 Maryland

Maybe it ended sooner than it could have.

Previously unbeaten No. 8 Princeton was overpowered by No. 1 Maryland in the second half of the Round of 32 matchup on the Terrapins” home floor Monday night, reeling off a 17-2 run to start the second half that distanced themselves from Princeton for good and helped secure the 85-70 victory.

The Tigers (31-1) trailed 42-38 at the half and had harnessed momentum from the program”s first ever NCAA tournament win Saturday against Wisconsin-Green Bay. But Maryland (32-2) shot 12-for-20 from beyond the arc and enjoyed too many hot hands for Princeton to handle. Maryland”s Laurin Mincy led all scorers with 27 points and nbso online casino reviews seven assists, and Princeton guard Blake Dietrick notched 26 points in 40 minutes.

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