2021-22 IHO All-Ivy Men’s Awards

The Ivy League announced its major men’s awards Tuesday, but we know this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Ivy Hoops Online’s 2021-22 All-Ivy Awards, as determined by IHO’s contributors:

Player of the Year

Tosan Evbuomwan, Princeton (Jr., F – Newcastle, England)

Like IHO’s last men’s Player of the Year, AJ Brodeur, Evbuomwan is a skillful passing big man. But Evbuomwan takes it to another level, routinely feeding outside shooters on the Tigers’ eighth-ranked three-point shooting team nationally. Evbuomwan can also take games over inside himself, and he recorded multiple steals in half of the Tigers’ Ivy games. There’s nothing that Evbuomwan doesn’t do. That’s why Evbuomwan was KenPom’s game MVP for a whopping seven out of 14 Ivy contests.

Rookie of the Year 

Kino Lilly, Jr., Brown (Fy., G – Glenn Dale, Md.) 

Lilly ranked sixth in the conference in percentage of possible minutes played per KenPom, reflecting his instant importance to Bruno in his first year on the scene. Lilly shot 43.4% from beyond the arc in Ivy play and ranked in the league’s top 10 in scoring, assists, steals, three-point percentage and three-pointers made. Not bad for year one.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jaylan Gainey, Brown (Sr., F – Greensboro, N.C.)

Gainey picked up where he left off before the pandemic, notching his second Defensive Player of the Year award by patrolling the paint like no other in the conference. In his final season at Brown, Gainey averaged an Ivy-leading 2.6 blocks per game in league play, more than double the next-highest player (Yale’s EJ Jarvis) in addition to ranking second in defensive boards behind only teammate Tamenang Choh.

Most Improved Player of the Year

Tosan Evbuomwan, Princeton (Jr., F – Newcastle, England); Dean Noll, Cornell (Sr., G – Medford, N.J.) (tie)

Noll was critical to Cornell shaking off its seventh-place projection in the Ivy Preseason Media Poll to earn an Ivy League Tournament berth, coming up large after having a limited off-the-bench role throughout most of his Cornell career. Noll’s insertion into the starting lineup in league play elevated his game and the Big Red’s, yielding four KenPom game MVP performances. Noll finished in the Ivy’s top five in assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, free-throw percentage and steals, bolstering Cornell’s effective aggression at both ends of the floor.

Evbuomwan jumped to Player of the Year-caliber play after not scoring at all in 10 games in Princeton’s previous season in a markedly reduced role. But like Richmond Aririguzoh between his sophomore and junior seasons, Evbuomwan suddenly became one of the Ivy’s standouts, a credit to him and Princeton’s coaching staff. On that note …

Coach of the Year

Brian Earl, Cornell; Mitch Henderson, Princeton (tie)

Princeton was expected to vie for the Ivy League title, but few expected the Tigers to go 12-2 in conference play, especially down a late-season stretch consisting of six of eight games away from Jadwin Gym. The Tigers progressed as the season did, a Henderson hallmark. Princeton is one of the nation’s most efficient and offensively disciplined squads, ranking sixth in effective field-goal percentage and 11th in turnover percentage. This team knows what it wants to do and does it because players like Evbuomwan and Ethan Wright rise to the occasion in significantly expanded roles, with Henderson overseeing it all.

The Big Red shouldn’t have sniffed the Ivy League Tournament given the many question marks on their roster going into the season. But an acceleration in tempo – Cornell went from 325th to third nationally in average possession length – and a markedly more turnover-oriented defense lifted the Big Red into  the Ivy’s top half. The Big Red don’t have big names, but they have a deep bench, ranking fourth nationally in bench minutes played. Earl gets the most out of his roster.

Game of the Year

Princeton 72, Cornell 70

All-Ivy First Team

Tosan Evbuomwan, Princeton (Jr., F – Newcastle, England)

Jordan Dingle, Penn (So,, G – Valley Stream, N.Y.)

No team relied on one player more than Penn did on Dingle, who led the Ivy in percentages of possessions used and shots taken in league play. The conference’s leading scorer is lethal off the dribble and a sharp outside shooter, and he saved his best moments for the most crucial games in Penn’s successful bid for a place in Ivy Madness. Dingle averaged 32 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two key wins over Harvard and elevated his play against Ivy competition, collecting four KenPom game MVP awards in Penn’s final nine contests.

Noah Kirkwood, Harvard (Sr., G – Ottawa, Ontario)

One of the Ancient Eight’s most versatile players can’t be blamed for Harvard failing to make the Ivy League Tournament in its own gym. Kirkwood finished in the Ivy’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, assists, blocks and minutes while leading the league in steals. Kirkwood was one of the conference’s most consistent contributors.

Azar Swain, Yale (Sr., G – Brockton, Mass.)

Long one of the league’s best sharpshooters, Swain stepped up his game as a senior, finishing third in minutes. One of the conference’s best rebounding guards, Swain makes teams pay from outside for a team that otherwise doesn’t get much from beyond the arc, adding to his value. Yale fans shouldn’t take for granted his league-leading 89.9% shooting from the foul line, either.

Ethan Wright, Princeton (Sr., G – Newton Centre, Mass.)

Another highly versatile Tiger, Wright is one of the league’s most efficient scorers (third in field-goal percentage) and prolific defensive rebounders (third). Wright came through in clutch moments for Princeton, notching 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, nine boards and five assists in Princeton’s pivotal late-season win at Yale and earning KenPom game MVP honors in the Tigers’ Ivy season-opening win over Penn.

All-Ivy Second Team

Tamenang Choh, Brown (Gr., F – Lowell, Mass.)

Choh was again one of the Ivy’s most consummate stat sheet-stuffers, placing in the league’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding and free-throw percentage. Choh also finished third in the Ivy in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, ranking alongside Evbuomwan as the league’s best frontcourt passers. The Ivy’s leader in fouls drawn per 40 minutes in conference play was hard to guard and, for Brown fans, easy to appreciate.

Jaelin Llewellyn, Princeton (Sr., G – Mississauga, Ontario)

Llewellyn stood out again for his passing and outside shooting prowess. With an Ivy League championship in reach, Llewellyn helped the Tigers close the deal with dominant performances in late-season wins over Harvard and Penn. Evbuomwan may be Princeton’s main conduit offensively, but Llewellyn has been a vital component in the Tigers’ offensive flow, too.

Brendan Barry, Dartmouth (Gr., G – Fair Haven, N.J.) 

The Ivy’s minutes leader by a wide margin upon his return from a graduate transfer season at Temple, Barry did what a guard should do at both ends of the floor, leading a three-pointer-happy conference in treys made and finishing third in the conference in steals. The Ivy League will miss Dartmouth’s all-time leading three-point scorer.

Jalen Gabbidon, Yale (Sr., Harrisburg, Pa.)

A smartly aggressive pickpocketer and Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Gabbidon has also been a sure thing in Yale’s offense, finishing fifth leaguewide in field-goal percentage and second in free-throw percentage behind Swain. Gabbidon led Yale in scoring in important wins over Harvard and Penn down the stretch.

Jaylan Gainey, Brown (Sr., F – Greensboro, N.C.)

Gainey was more than just a shot-blocker, leading the Ivy in field-goal percentage by a wide margin at 70.3% in registering his 9.3 points per game and finishing second in rebounding in league play behind only Columbia’s Patrick Harding. He was KenPom’s game MVP in four of his final six games in a Brown uniform, including a program-record eight-block performance in a win over Columbia and a 20-point, 18-rebound outing in a season finale loss at Yale. Gainey averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds in the final nine games of the season, maximizing opportunities for a Bruno squad that couldn’t capitalize on enough of them to nab the program’s first Ivy League Tournament berth.

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