Ivy hoops roundup – April 10, 2022

Cannady completing a comeback

Devin Cannady is nearing the end of a 10-day contract with the Orlando Magic that has marked an extraordinary comeback from a devastating injury for the former Princeton standout.

Cannady signed the contract March 31, making the jump from the Lakeland Magic of the NBA G League, where he had been averaging 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16 games and 11 starts.

In four games for Orlando at the NBA level, Cannady has shown off the sharpshooting skills that Ivy hoops fans know well, going 11-for-28 (39.3%) from three-point range and averaging 8.8 points, two assists, 1.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 27.8 minutes in four games. Cannady’s production has increased over the four-game span, including 12 points in 28 minutes in a loss at Charlotte against the Hornets Thursday.

Cannady’s return to the NBA came nearly a year after he sustained an open right ankle dislocation with a severe lateral ankle sprain after landing awkwardly eight games into his previous NBA stint, which had come on a two-way contract after two years in the G League.

“I remember praying on the floor that night, or that day, and just say, “God, kind of take the wheel, you know, guide me how I might, I’ll do the work on my end, and if that means I’ll end up back on a NBA floor, you know, it’s so be it, and if not, I know I won’t leave any stone unturned,” Cannady said after signing the 10-day contract.

The Magic’s regular season finale is Sunday, and the team has been eliminated from playoff contention. Cannady looked ahead to an uncertain future in a tweet Friday:

Alarie steps away

With one former Princeton star returning to the NBA, another has stepped away from the WNBA.

The Dallas Wings announced Thursday that Bella Alarie informed the team she will not play this upcoming WNBA season for personal reasons.

Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb said in a statement released by the Wings that the team supported Alarie’s decision and looked forward to welcoming her back “at the appropriate time in the future.”

“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to take a break from basketball and forgo playing the 2022 WNBA season,” Alarie said in the same statement. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Dallas Wings for their full support regarding my decision and wish my teammates the very best of luck this summer.  I will miss my teammates, the fans, the city of Dallas and the game this season, but look forward to this opportunity to rest and recharge.”

Alarie will be placed on the team’s suspended list and ineligible to play in 2022. Her playing rights will remain with the Wings upon her return to the WNBA.

Back for more Big 5 competition 

Tuesday brought the news that the all-time winningest coach in Big 5 history isn’t done.

La Salle Athletics announced that Fran Dunphy, a 1970 La Salle alumnus, is the Explorers’ new head coach.

It’s been 16 years since Dunphy, 73, left Penn for Temple after a 17-year run as head coach that yielded a 310-163 (.655) overall record, 191-49 (.796) record in Ivy play and 10 Ivy titles while at the helm on 33rd Street. Dunphy won 270 more games, achieving a .625 winning percentage, in 13 years at Temple before he was forced to step down to make way for Aaron McKie. Dunphy then served as interim athletic director at Temple from July 2020 to October 2021.

La Salle’s program has struggled to win with consistency for decades, and turning it around will be a tall task. Dunphy may be up to it, but with facilities widely considered to be subpar and much of the roster in the transfer portal, Dunphy will need to be a fundraising and recruiting catalyst as well as a coaching wizard to lead the Explorers to steady ground both short- and long-term.

“Listen, I wrestled with this thing,” Dunphy said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It wasn’t like when the ask was made, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m jumping in feet first.’ I measured this. I have two little grandsons that I can’t get enough of and that means I’m going to spend less time with them. That’s sacrifice. But my family is behind me. … It’s my alma mater. It’s what we do. When we are asked to serve, we do.”

Mike makes like the Frans 

One of the Fran Dunphy’s greatest players at Penn is also seizing the reins of a new program.

That’d be 1999-2000 Ivy Player of the Year Mike Jordan, who was named head coach at Lafayette on March 29. Jordan succeeds Fran O’Hanlon, who took over as the Leopards’ head coach in 1995 after six years as an assistant under Dunphy at Penn.

Jordan was an assistant coach under former Penn teammate and head coach Matt Langel at Colgate, where Jordan served as assistant from 2012 to 2020 and for the 2021-22 season. Colgate won Patriot League regular season championships in Jordan’s last three seasons there, including two NCAA Tournament appearances. Jordan returned to 33rd Street to be an assistant under former Cornell assistant Zach Spiker at Drexel for the 2020-21 season, which culminated in the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth in 25 years. Trips to the Big Dance have become annual dates for Jordan, and Lafayette is hoping that holds true in Easton, too.

Brown’s loss is Florida State’s Gainey

It’s become common for Florida State under Leonard Hamilton to have long, strong frontcourt lineups that frustrate opponents inside – especially in the NCAA Tournament, where FSU has advanced to the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight in three of the last four seasons that had a NCAA Tournament.

Jaylan Gainey will fit that bill well. The two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year has committed to Florida State after leading the Ivy League in field-goal percentage by a wide margin at 70.3% and averaged an Ivy-leading 2.6 blocks per game in league play.

Cornell center Kobe Dickson and Penn forward Jelani Williams have committed to play at Howard for former Harvard and Columbia assistant Kenny Blakeney, who keeps attracting Ivy transfers.

Dickson’s contributions were key to propelling Cornell to an Ivy League Tournament berth, as the Holcomb, Kan. native finished second in the league behind only Gainey in blocks, seventh in assists and 13th in rebounding.

Williams finally got on the court for Penn in 2021-22 after three ACL tears robbed him of three straight seasons. The Washington, D.C. native persevered through a broken finger to play for Penn in its Ivy League Tournament appearance, capping a season in which he finished in the league’s top 25 in steal and block percentages in conference play, per KenPom.

Dickson and Williams follow former Columbia Lions Randy Brumant and Tai Bibbs as Ivy transfers to Howard, where both were key contributors during their stay this season.

Opting for the draft 

Former Harvard women’s sharpshooting stalwart Katie Benzan has renounced her NCAA eligibility to opt in for 2022 WNBA Draft consideration, the WNBA announced. The WNBA Draft will be held Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The draft will also be available live on the ESPN App.

Kaminsky dies 

Yale men’s basketball legend Rick Kaminsky died at 79 on March 26, according to an obituary published by the Jewish Herald-Voice. Kaminsky was a critical contributor in Yale’s 1962 NCAA Tournament appearance and shares of the Ivy League championship that year and in 1964.

“As I look back at the last 55+ years, I continue to feel I was very lucky to be able to play basketball at Yale and in the Ivy League,” Kaminsky told Ivy Hoops Online in 2019. “I received a great education, made friendships for life, and played college basketball at the highest level of competition. At graduation, I was prepared for the next stage in my life. Over the years, when anyone has asked me where I went to college, there has always been a sense of pride when I answered with Yale.”