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.
Last season, the Brown men’s basketball team went 9-7 in nonconference action. The nine wins tied the program’s record for non-league victories with the 2001-02 and 2014-15 teams. The Bears’ 8-0 start at home was the best beginning since the 1934-35 squad. In league play, Brown appeared to get a boost of confidence from its nonconference schedule, dominating Penn and Cornell on the road and losing by one at home to Yale. With a 2-3 start in Ivy competition, the Bears were looking good for the fourth spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.
Unfortunately, Brown lost its next five matches, derailing its hopes for an upper division finish. Despite beating Dartmouth on the road to start the next to last weekend of the season, the loss to Harvard the following evening eliminated the Bears from postseason play. The team did bounce back in its penultimate game, beating Columbia by 20 and damaging the Lions’ hope for the league’s final four. A Senior Night loss to Cornell left the Bears with a 4-10 record (13-17 overall), tied for sixth in the Ancient Eight.
New Hampshire 88, Brown 77
This could have been a really solid win against a KenPom No. 165 team for Brown, but it didn’t happen because its defense hasn’t gelled around two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah yet. New Hampshire shot 54 percent from the floor and got to the line 34 times, making more free throws (28) than Brown made field goals (26). Freshman forward Travis Fuller fouled out in just 10 minutes and the Bears racked up 23 fouls on the night. On offense, the Bears play fast and loose, and tonight, junior guard JR Hobbie stepped up with 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc in 25 minutes off the bench. But just because Brown has a strong bench full of sharpshooters (now including freshman guard Corey Daugherty) and a defensive anchor doesn’t mean it has ample defensive discipline to make a run at the top half of the Ivy League.
Columbia 70, Wofford 59
This was a weird game for the Lions, and yet it revealed them to have one of the most complete offensive attacks the league has seen in some time. In the first half, senior forward Alex Rosenberg and senior guard Maodo Lo struggled offensively, with junior forward Jeff Coby leading all Lion scorers early into the next stanza – more than Lo and Rosenberg combined at that point. The Lions’ best ball distributor wasn’t Lo but senior guard Isaac Cohen, who notched nine assists. For more on Cohen’s crucial performance, check out Sam Tydings’ story on Columbia’s wonderfully weird win over Wofford.
Coach Mike Martin enters his fourth season at the helm for the Bears, looking to improve on last season’s 4-10 Ivy record. With Martin’s early recruits coming of age and the addition of some under-the-radar talent, there’s reason for optimism in Providence.
First and foremost, this is Cedric Kuakumensah’s team, as the imposing senior center and captain looks to build upon the greatest defensive reputation in the league. Outside of Kuakumensah, the Bears will look to replace the contributions of reliable big man, Rafael Maia, and they’ll look to a young cast to do so. Watch out for Travis Fuller, the 6-9 freshman from Encinitas, Calif. The early returns are positive on Fuller, as the skilled big man looks to fill Maia’s void in the frontcourt.