Ivy news roundup – July 8, 2017

Steven Spieth to take part in NBA Summer League

Former Brown Bear Steven Spieth, a 2016-17 first-team All-Ivy forward, has been signed to play for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League.  Spieth was the leading scorer in conference play last season with 19.5 points a game.  For his career, the Dallas native started 117 of his 118 games played, totaling 1,367 points, 337 assists, 447 free throws and 136 steals.  The Mavericks will have its opening game on Sat., July 18 at 1:30 p.m. against the Chicago Bulls. The game will be televised on NBA-TV and streams online at NBA.com.

Spieth is not the only former Ivy Leaguer participating in the Summer League.  Jerome Allen, a three time All-Ivy and two-time Player of the Year for Penn, as well as a one-time head coach for the Quakers, is the head coach of the Boston Celtics team.  Since leaving Penn, he has been an member of Brad Stevens’ staff in Boston.

Brown, Yale and Dartmouth get first 2018 commits

Mike Martin was able to secure his first member for the Class of 2022, when David Mitchell committed to Brown on Thursday June 29th.  Mitchell, who is a junior at the Belmont Hill School in suburban Boston and a member of the Mass Rivals AAU team, is a two-star shooting guard.  According to a write-up at New England Recruiting Report, Mitchell is a strong player on the wing and a hard-nosed defender with the ability to defend bigger players.  Three of Mitchell’s Mass Rivals teammates, Tamenang Choh (Brown), Azar Swain (Yale), and Jarrod Simmons (Penn), will be arriving in the Ivy League this fall.

Eze Dike-Nwagbara committed to Yale on June 26th.  Nwagbara is a two-star point guard from Montreal, who moved to New Hampshire to attend the Kimball Union Academy.  He chose the Bulldogs over offers from Dartmouth, Boston University and Lafayette.  

In an interview  with Elias Sbiet of North Pole Hoops, the future Eli shows himself to be a very confident player who is ready to take the reigns from Makai Mason in 2018-19.   “With Makai Mason graduating next year, they took me really seriously in the past two live periods and there was a real need for a PG.  I know that the coaching staff recognizes my upside and believe in what I could become. I know that there’s still a lot of work I have to do in further developing my shot. One thing’s for sure, when I come in, I’ll be ready.”  While Alex Copeland, Eric Monroe and Azar Swain will be ahead of Nwagbara on the depth chart, the Nigerian-Canadian will try to earn his playing time with his ability to provide intense full court defense.

Taurus Samuels, a 6’0” three-star point guard from Vista High School, committed to Dartmouth on July 5th.  Throughout the 2015-2016 season, he was getting interest from Harvard, Colgate, San Diego, UC Irvine, Boise State, and Pepperdine.  Before choosing to join Coach McLaughlin, Samuels had received offers from Colgate, Northern Arizona, Montana, UC Bakersfield, UC Davis, and Cal Poly.  While Samuels will have to compete with Brendan Barry and incoming New Zealander Isaac Letoa, Dartmouth fans should be pleased that the second-year coach has been able to secure a highly rated recruit and a strong building block for the program’s future.

Ivy assistant coaching news continues

Cornell has announced that David Elliott has joined Danya Smith’s staff as an assistant coach.  For the past two seasons, Elliott has been the recruiting coordinator for the University of Denver.  In Ithaca, he will be responsible for post players, as well as assisting with recruiting, scouting and alumnae development.  Prior to Denver, Elliott worked at Knox College from 2013 to 2015 and Columbia during the 2012-13 season.

Former Big Red coach becomes a Blue Demon

Bill Courtney, who led Cornell men’s basketball from 2010 to 2016, was hired as an assistant coach with the DePaul University of the Big East.  The Blue Demons are led by Dave Leitao, who was the head coach at Virginia when Courtney was an assistant from 2006-2009.  Courtney was 60-113 (27-57 Ivy) during his six seasons on East Hill, and never placed higher than fifth.  In addition to his coaching duties with the Big Red and the Cavaliers, he has been on the staffs of American University, Bowling Green, George Mason, Providence and Virginia Tech.

Incoming Ivy Leaguers at the FIBA U-19 World Cup

Danilo Djuricic, a 6’8” power forward heading to Harvard this fall, is playing for Team Canada in the FIBA U-19 World Cup that is presently taking place in Cairo, Egypt.  The Brampton native, who played at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto,has international experience playing with the U-17 team at the 2016 FIBA World Championship and the U-16 team at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.  After the first four games, the Canadians have made it to the quarter-finals, and Djuricic is the 9th leading scorer in the tournament.  He is averaging 14.3 points per game, and 21.0 in the last two contests.  He is shooting 60% from the field, including 90% from two (12 of 13) and 42% from three (10 for 24).  Next up for Djuricic and the rest of Team Canada was a final-eight matchup against France on Friday, which Canada won, 73-67, with Djuricic contributing five points.

Isaac Letoa, who will attend Dartmouth in 2017-18, played for New Zealand at the World Cup.  This was his third time playing for his national team, with other appearances with U-18 squad at the 2016 FIBA Oceania Championship with the U-18 team in 2016 and the U-16 squad in 2013.  The 6’0” point guard started all four games, averaging 25.6 minutes, nine points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.  Unfortunately, Letoa’s team lost 72-65 to Germany in the July 5th Round of 16 knockout contest.

Dartmouth forward earns spot on Puerto Rico Women’s National Team

At the end of June, Isalys Quiñones a rising junior for the Dartmouth women’s team, was named to the Puerto Rican National Team.  Quinones is a 6’3” forward from Chula Vista, California. This past year, she started 21 of 27 games, averaging 9.1 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.  She will represent Puerto Rico in the Women’s Centrobasketball Championships in the Virgin Islands from July 12 – 16, as they look to secure one of the three available spots for the FIBA Women’s America Cup on August 6-13.

Lonzo Ball’s agent, a former Quaker hoopster

Last week, Sports Illustrated did an in-depth profile of Harrison Gaines, the agent for Lonzo Ball, the first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in last week’s NBA Draft.  Gaines, a guard from Victorville, California, played for the University of Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2009.  Impressed with the mystique of the Palestra and the possibility of running the point after the graduation of two-time Player of the Year Ibrahim Jaaber, Gaines chose Penn over Stanford, Oregon, Colorado State and Boise State.  He averaged 6.7 points and 3.6 assists a game in his first-year. When future Player of the Year Zack Rosen arrived the next year, Gaines moved to the shooting guard spot and  increased his offensive production to 9.9 points a game.  Wanting to go back to running the point, he decided to transfer to UC Riverside for his last two seasons.  While his basketball career never lived up to its potential, Gaines was able to use his innate tenacity to better effects in law and sports management.  Eventually, he was able to bond with Ball family and now finds himself as the present agent for Lonzo and the future representative of his brothers LiAngelo and LiMelo.

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