IHO End of Season Awards

With the final Ivy weekend in the books, it's time to name the winners of the 2014 IHO Awards.
With the final Ivy weekend in the books, it’s time to name the winners of the 2014 IHO Awards.

After tallying up the ballots of six IHO writers, I am happy to unveil the 3rd Annual IvyHoopsOnline.com End of Season Awards.

IHO Player of the Year: Justin Sears, Yale

No player in the Ivy this year was more critical to his team’s success than Justin Sears. The Bulldogs’ sophomore star was one of the highest usage players in the league, and never shied away from putting Yale on his back. Sears ended up tying for the league scoring title, averaging 19.5 ppg during the 14-Game Tournament. The Eli forward also led the conference in rebounding with 7.9 boards per Ivy contest. On the defensive end, he was second in the league in blocks with 2.0 per game. A physical beast, Sears got to the line more than anyone in the Ancient Eight, save for Alex Rosenberg, fighting his way to the stripe for nearly 10 FT attempts per Ivy game. He connected on 76% of those, improving upon one of the few weaknesses in his freshman campaign.

He managed to score in double-figures in 13 of 14 Ivy games and put together four double-doubles, guiding Yale to a 2nd place finish. Even once it became clear that teams were focused on stopping him, Sears continued to score efficiently, finishing the season with 25 points per game in his last four contests on 34-53 FG (64%).

Also Considered: Alex Rosenberg, TJ Bray

IHO Coach of the Year: Kyle Smith, Columbia

The Columbia Lions were picked to finish dead last in this year’s preseason poll. Smith needed to replace his floor general in Brian Barbour, as well as experienced big men in Mark Cisco and John Daniels. On one surprising November night in East Lansing, it quickly became clear that this Columbia squad might have a bit more firepower than we all expected. The Lions came within minutes of knocking off then-#2 Michigan State, garnering some early attention with a spirited nationally televised effort.

Needing a win at Princeton, Smith– master of the out-of-bounds play– used a late timeout to draw up Meiko Lyles’ game-winning 3 as Columbia earned its best win of the season.

After the Lions’ devastating double OT loss to Harvard, Smith got the troops back on track quickly, cranking out four straight Ivy wins to get Columbia securely into the top half.

In 2013-14, Columbia achieved its highest ever Pomeroy rating (#89 in January, #128 end of regular season), swept its first Ivy weekend in five years, earned its first conference winning record in 21 years, and reached its highest overall win total since 1970. Next week, Columbia will almost certainly be invited to take part in postseason play for the first time in the modern era. It takes a lot of work to turn around a program that has been so miserable for so long and Smith has the Lions moving in the right direction. Columbia returns its entire roster in 2014-15.

Also Considered: James Jones, Tommy Amaker


IHO Co-Rookies of the Year: Steven Spieth, Brown & Spencer Weisz, Princeton

Also Considered: Leland King


IHO Defensive Player of the Year: Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown


All-IHO First Team:

TJ Bray, Princeton (unanimous)

Sean McGonagill, Brown

Alex Rosenberg, Columbia (unanimous)

Wes Saunders, Harvard

Justin Sears, Yale (unanimous)


All-IHO Second Team:

Siyani Chambers, Harvard

Maodo Lo, Columbia

Fran Dougherty, Penn

Steve Moundou-Missi, Harvard

Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown


All-IHO Honorable Mention:

Tony Hicks, Penn

Nolan Cressler, Cornell

Alex Mitola, Dartmouth

Kyle Casey, Harvard

Javier Duren, Yale

Laurent Rivard, Harvard

Hans Brase, Princeton

Gabas Maldunas, Dartmouth (injured)

17 thoughts on “IHO End of Season Awards”

  1. Appears you left someone off your Honorable Mention Selection.

    Only four players in Conference play averaged 14 points 4 rebounds and 3.5 assist. They would be TJ Bray, Sean McGonagill, Wes Saunders and Devin Cherry. Three of those players were selected as First Team All Ivy but Mr. Cherry does not even rate as a Honorable Mention???????????? Not only was very good in Conference play but in Overall Play this season Cherry was Top five in Assist , Top 11 in scoring and Top 20 in Rebounding not many in the Ivy have obtained those numbers!

    Believe Devin has been slighted and would really love to hear your reasoning for that decision!

    Waiting to hear!!!!!!!

  2. Cherry came on really strong late in the season. The 10 assist, 1 turnover performance against Brown was some of his best work, as was his 29 points vs. Yale. He carried a huge load all season for the Red along with Nolan Cressler, especially considering how thin that frontcourt is. I think you have an argument that he was close to All-Ivy.

    Only ten Ivy players (and four guards) make the all-conference teams. When you’re on a 1-13 squad, you’re probably only going to get one player at most onto those teams. That’s just the reality of what happens when your team has a tough year like Cornell did. I ended up going with Cressler on the 2nd Team for Cornell on my ballot because of what he accomplished shooting the ball this season.

    Our Honorable Mention players were guys who got at least one vote from our six writers for 2nd Team– we didn’t actually nominate Honorable Mentions (I believe this is similar to what the league does, too).To be honest, I may have put Cherry over a couple of those guys if we voted a 3rd Team, but that’s not how we vote for postseason awards.

    Maybe the league will agree with you though and he’ll get an honor! We’ll see in a few days.

  3. Thank you for the education on how your process works. These Students who participate in NCAA sports activities work hard to compete on the floor and in the classroom. The success of their respective programs should have little bearing on the individual awards afforded to them at seasons end! So many different variables go into a programs success or failure. One thing that is a constant is the play of individual players whether on a Title contender or a program fighting to get into contention.

    But again I thank u for your quick and concise response which made good sense out of a difficult process.

  4. Kyle Casey was as dominating a figure as Sears, if he played for other team but Harvard he’d be First Team all – Ivy.

    • It’s tough to make the IHO All-Ivy team. According to this thread, Devin Cherry is deserving but his team is too pathetic and Kyle Casey is also deserving but his team is so packed with superlative athletes that he can’t get enough touches.

      Lucky for Bray, Rosenberg and Sears that their teams were good — but not too good.

      • Appreciate the sarcasm, but it IS tough to make an All-Ivy team. The conference was stacked with talent this year and Harvard had its entire starting five recognized here (1st, 2nd, or HM).

        Kyle Casey is obviously a phenomenal athlete, one of the league’s best rebounders and a defensive beast. My reason for not including Casey on my ballot was that he really struggled to stay out of foul trouble. He ended up playing only 55.5% of his team’s minutes this year. You can’t maximize your impact if you can’t stay on the court.

        • Bruno, I actually wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. Excuse me if I came across that way.

          I actually fully agree that, while it’s simple human nature to overlook Cherry because his team is one of the worst in conference history, it’s also reasonable to discount Casey’s contributions because his team is too good.

          Harvard is completely stacked, not just their starting five but the first three or four guys off the bench as well. That means a defense can’t systematically double any Harvard guys on offense. Similarly, on defense, Harvard guys can stay home in position because their teammates are less likely to get beat.

          In this case, it is actually reasonable to discount individual players because their team is SO good. It’s simply easier to play on Harvard’s team. Compare that to being Rosenberg on Columbia or McGonagill on Brown. Those guys get doubled routinely. It’s like night and day what they face compared to what Casey faced.

  5. Is Rafi Maia not on the list because he was injured for part of the Ivy season. Columbia lost games two years in a row because of his outstanding play for Brown. He is a superior rebounder, an excellent shooter and improving at the free throw line

    • Maia fell short of All-Ivy this season for me mainly due to injury. He missed four conference games and also looked less than 100% in others. Clearly, he’s a tough kid who makes that starting Bears frontcourt about as good as anyone’s in the league. As you said, he’s outstanding on the glass– especially the offensive boards. He’s improving from the line but still shot just 58% this season.

      That Columbia game in Providence was his best of the season, going for 18 pts and 12 rbs. He scored in double figures in just four conference games this season after doing so eight times last season. Hopefully he can get healthy in the offseason.

  6. I am aware of the outstanding season that sophomore Justin Sears had. If this award were about MVP, considering how he stood at the head of and powered his team in crucial situations, POY should be Sears. Yale’s supporting cast behind Sears was good, but they have the potential to be excellent in the next year or two, considering the Dogs’ top seven players return.

    However, my understanding is that the POY Award cites the most productive player in the league from the start of Game 1 to the end of Game 28 (or so), with some extra emphasis on the league season. By most objective measures, Tiger senior TJ Bray gets the POY call. All his shooting percentages were far better than Sears’, making him more efficient. He scored more and had more assists. He was fourth among the league guards in rebounding. He fouled less and had fewer turnovers per minute. He stole about the same amount and did not block nearly as many shots as Sears. He actually put up Rosen-like numbers.

    One can perhaps also consider that at the middle of the second back-to-back, Princeton had played four road games and was 0-4 with two one-possession losses. Yale had played three of five games at home and was 4-1. A discouraging start to a tough schedule for the Tigers. A great start for the Dogs. However, from that point in the season, the Tigers were 8-2, while Yale was only 5-4 during the more road-concentrated part of its season. TJ Bray was the driving force in steering the Tigers into a third place tie after the disastrous 0-4 road start. That took alot of heart.

  7. Bray was nationally ranked in overall efficiency–at one point recently I believe he was the number one player in Division I with a large number of minutes played and possessions used. I still might have gone with Saunders for POY, though, because his defensive presence and ability to give the team whatever it needed were superlative.

  8. It should be Bray and it should be a no-brainer. Forget about the Ivy stats and look at where he stands on the national level. For further proof, look at what he did defensively against Sears and Rosenberg in their latest matchups. Sears is a strong candidate as is Rosenberg. You could put McGonagill in the mix too. The fact that Saunders was selected makes a mockery of it. That’s not to take anything away from him because he is a very good player. The sole criteria seems to be someone from the championship team and that’s a cop out. Does he get it if he plays for Cornell? Other conferences seem to be a bit more enlightened. Who was selected in the AAC? ACC? Big East? It looks like Doug McDermott has no shot on the national level then either. Shame on the coaches for the disservice they’ve done to the more deserving players.

    • Agree with MJ. Saunders is definitely deserving, but not POY. The Crimson would be just fine without him. Sears, Bray, Rosenberg did much more with comparatively less around them.

  9. It’s absolutely shocking that the coaches voted POY to Saunders rather than either Bray or Sears.

    The only explanations I can imagine are that [1] the coaches are biased in favor of Harvard (not likely, given that they probably resent Amaker for what he has done to fair play in the League); or [2] there is some quirk in the voting methodology.

    “Some quirk” does not imply underhandedness. In any vote among more than two candidates, there is always the risk that a majority prefers either Candidate A or Candidate B to all other options. However, if the majority splits their votes fairly evenly among Candidates A and B, then Candidate C can win a simple one-round vote. I wonder if this is what happened with the coaches.

    • No, I don’t think there’s any legitimate argument for leaving him off. Perhaps someone went with a 3 guard, 2 forward team of McGonagill, Bray, Chambers, Rosenberg, and Saunders? I don’t think that’s really justifiable though.

      I don’t think there’s much of an argument for leaving off Rosenberg either.

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