As Ivy League basketball emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, new opportunities abound for new and returning Ivy players, coaches and even windows:
Big Green coaching additions
David McLaughlin has completed the Dartmouth men’s coaching staff, and it features a familiar name.
Jabari Trotter is back with the Big Green nine years after graduating from the program and three years after his first coaching stint in Hanover ended.
He’s coming from a 13-hour flight away.
Trotter rejoins McLaughlin’s staff after three seasons as an assistant at Hawaii, where he was responsible for wing player development. The former Big Green guard was previously an assistant under McLaughlin from 2016 to 2018, the latter’s first two seasons at the helm in Hanover. Trotter served as recruiting co-coordinator during that span.
In the second-most games in program history (112), the Northridge, Calif. native averaged 6.9 points and two rebounds in 25.3 minutes per contest.
After serving as Dartmouth director of basketball operations during the pandemic, 2016 Pittsburgh graduate Josh Einhorn has been named an assistant on staff, with Zack Curran joining the staff to succeed Einhorn after two seasons in the same role at George Mason.
On the women’s side, new head coach Adrienne Shibles has filled out her coaching staff, hiring Sarah Assante as an assistant and Lydia Caputi as director of operations. Assante comes to Hanover from Division III Washington and Lee, where she was an assistant for two years. Caputi was previously an assistant at Trinity for three seasons. Assante and Caputi join assistant Megan Phelps, another Shibles hire who served for four years as an assistant at Bowdoin. Shibles is the winningest coach in Bowdoin women’s history and was 2019 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.
Jalen Gabbidon will get to lead the Yale men in a season that is actually a season.
The 2020 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year was recently re-elected captain after being named 2020 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year.
“Serving as captain during the past year was definitely a challenge in ways I didn’t expect,” Gabbidon told Yale Athletics. “With guys living in different time zones and countries, it was difficult finding time for our team to get together virtually and to find ways to continue building teamwork and camaraderie throughout. The biggest thing I learned from this past year is that leadership is always on display. Even with virtual meetings, the way you carry yourself every day matters and impacts others – punctuality, attentiveness, and one’s willingness to speak up are great examples of this.”
New to Bruno
Brown has made it official that junior transfer Paxson Wojcik has joined the program from Loyola Chicago, where the 6-foot-5 guard spent the last two seasons. Wojcik played in 15 games for the Ramblers en route to their Sweet 16 appearance in 2020-21. The Charleston, S.C. native averaged 2.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game in his two seasons as a Rambler, canning 12 of 29 three-point attempts. Wojcik’s brother Denham will be an incoming first-year for the Harvard men. (More on that below.)
Incoming first-years – Yale women
The Yale women have announced their five-member Class of 2025:
Mackenzie Egger, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Mount Pleasant, Mich. (Mount Pleasant High School) who was named AP second team All-State Division 1 after averaging 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game her senior year and has volunteered at a local thrift store whose proceeds go towards free preschool for underprivileged children
Avery Lee, a 5-foot-8 guard from Los Altos Hills, Calif. (Menlo School) who led the West Bay Athletic League in scoring (14.2 points per game) in 2019-20 and played with Yale rising junior Klara Astrom in AAU competition
Christen McCann, a 5-foot-9 guard from Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Lincoln Park Academy), where she was a 2021 McDonald’s All-American nominee and three-year captain
Nyla McGill, a 5-foot-8 guard from Charlotte, N.C. (Providence High School), where she was named to the Charlotte Observer’s 2021 all-star team and compiled a https://www.parley.tv/#fortheoceansschool record 563 assists
Grace Thybulle, a 6-foot-3 forward from Irvington, N.Y. (Irvington High School), where the cousin of Philadelphia 76er Matisse Thybulle was 2019 New York State Championship MVP and member of youth activism group Ocean Uprise under the nonprofit Parley for the Oceans.
Incoming first-years – Harvard men
The Harvard men have announced their four-member Class of 2025:
Louis Lesmond, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound guard from Paris (Notre Dame College Prep in Illinois) who was an all-area first-teamer and all-conference selection in 2019-20 and 2020-21
Bennett Pitcher, a 6-foot-9, 285-pound forward from Deerfield, Mass. (Deerfield Academy) who was a three-time NEPSAC Class A all-league selection
Tyler Simon, a 6-foot-5, 187-pound guard from Houston (Dream City Christian School) who played AAU ball for Basketball University (Adidas Gauntlet)
Denham Wojcik, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound guard from Charleston, S.C. (Porter-Gaud School) who was named to the 2021 SCISA All-Tournament Team and played for the Illinois Wolves in AAU competition from 2018 to 2020
Jack Scott, son of former Princeton and current Air Force head coach Joe Scott, has committed to the Tigers. The Hun School of Princeton guard joins Princeton’s admissions process highly touted.
Amaker heads to Allen, Allen bound for Detroit
Tommy Amaker is headed for a blue blood – just not the one some thought he’d end up at.
Amaker and Harvard will take on Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 29, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Amaker has entered his 15th year helming Harvard after being considered to succeed Mike Krzyzewski following the 2021-22 season. Duke assistant Jon Scheyer got the job instead, but the other coaching candidate most seriously considered to take over at Duke was Amaker, according to The Athletic.
Amaker played for Krzyzewski at Duke from 1983 to 1987 and served as assistant coach under him from 1989 to 1997 before becoming head coach at Seton Hall.
While Amaker will be coaching in Boston for the foreseeable future, former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen no longer is.
Allen has joined the Detroit Pistons as assistant coach after serving in that same position for the Boston Celtics for the past six seasons under Brad Stevens. Allen departed the Celtics after Stevens stepped down as head coach to become president of basketball operations. Allen was expected to garner consideration to succeed Stevens before Stevens hired Ime Udoka instead. But now that he has joined the Pistons, at least one writer for the Piston Powered Fansided blog covering the team thinks Allen could eventually become head coach in Detroit.
Allen likely won’t be coming back to coach at the college level anytime soon after getting hit with a 15-year show-cause order for taking bribes from Florida businessman Philip Esformes to place his son, Morris Esformes, onto Penn’s recruited athletes list for the entering Class of 2015.
From one brother to another
Alington Paul was an assistant under Joe Jones. Now he’s an assistant under James Jones.
Paul has joined Yale’s staff under the elder Jones brother after three years on the staff under former Columbia head coach Joe Jones at Boston University. That stint included the 2020 Patriot League Tournament championship a berth in the 2020 NCAA Tournament called off due to COVID-19.
Paul was video coordinator and director of player development at BU in 2018-19 and director of operations in 2019-20. The Long Island, N.Y. native had previously served two years as an assistant coach at Putnam Science Academy and two years as a graduate assistant at Castleton University.
Devin Cannady recently thanked his hometown, the City of Mishawaka, and its mayor, Dave Wood, for honoring him with a court in his name. Onsite signage indicates that the court will be complete in August.
Towns asks for help
Towns pleaded for support on Twitter earlier this month for his extended family after his uncle, aunt and 16 cousins lost their home to a fire in the Linden area of Columbus. The GoFundMe account set up to support the family has raised $40,602, still well short of the goal of $300,000.
No NBA luck, so again a Duck
Jeremy Lin has announced he is returning to the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association after a year with the G-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors didn’t result in the return to the NBA Lin was hoping for.
The 2010 Harvard graduate played for the Ducks in 2019-20 after becoming a NBA champion as a Toronto Raptor in 2019. Lin had excelled in the G-League last season, averaging 19.8 points, 6.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 31.2 minutes.
Lin recently expressed frustration on Instagram over not getting another shot in the NBA after his successful G-League stint.
Lin spoke at Harvard’s virtual Class Day last month. “I hope that you will take your identity and whatever background and life experiences you have to help change the lives of those around you,” Lin said. “Because after being at the top of the world during Linsanity, I can tell you that success without community is absolutely meaningless.”
A Raider once more
Former Penn standout and 2000 Ivy Player of the Year Mike Jordan’s return to 33rd Street only lasted one season.
Jordan has rejoined the staff of fellow Penn alumnus Matt Langel at Colgate after a season as assistant at Drexel in which the Dragons made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years.
Jordan previously spent eight seasons at Colgate from 2012 to 2020, a run that included the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years in 2019 and program records for wins from 2017 through 2020. Colgate’s staff again consists of three Penn alumni: Langel, Jordan and Dave Klatsky.
After a season off from Ivy hoops due to the pandemic, the Palestra will come back with an upgrade.
The windows are being replaced, Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli recently reported on Twitter.