Ivy hoops roundup – Recruits and assistants coming, transfers going

Our latest Ivy hoops roundup features critical hires amid new starts for Harvard and Yale women’s basketball, an especially promising recruiting class for the Princeton women, some big men’s graduate transfer losses and more:

Princeton women introduce No. 19 class of recruits 

Princeton women’s basketball announced what ESPN.com deemed the No. 19 recruiting class in the nation:

  • Madison St. Rose | Guard | 5-10 | Parlin, N.J. | St. John Vianney – three-team captain who ranked No. 46 in the in the ESPNW Rankings for Class of 2022, which said St. Rose has “all-around skill with poise and leadership intangibles that will help Princeton for years to come”
  • Taylor Charles | Forward | 6-2 | Elgin, Ill. | Burlington Central – AP All-State second teamer whose team won four regional titles
  • Tabitha Amanze | Forward | 6-4 | Lafenwa, Nigeria | Blair Academy (N.J.) – ranked No. 43 in the ESPNW Rankings for Class of 2022

Columbia men’s new class

Columbia has announced its four-member 2022 signing class:

  • Zinou Bedri | Forward | 6-9, 220 | Tebessa, Algeria | DME Academy – played a post-graduate year at DME Academy, averaging 18.2 points and nine rebounds per game after playing three varsity seasons at Spring Creek Academy in Plano, Texas
  • Avery Brown | Guard | 6-4, 180 | Beacon Falls, Conn. | Northfield Mount Hermon – received first team All-New England Prep School Athletic Conference honors as a senior and played AAU basketball for the PSA Cardinals and New York Gauchos
  • Kenny Noland | Guard | 6-3, 180 | Apex, N.C. |  The Hotchkiss School/Apex Friendship High School – won New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class A Player of the Year honors and played AAU basketball for Team Loaded NC 3SSB
  • Blair Thompson | Forward | 6-7 190 | New York | Northfield Mount Hermon – received first team National Prep Showcase All-Tournament honors in 2022 and played AAU basketball for the New York Jayhawks from 2019 to 2021

Now a Michigan man 

One of the Ivy League’s best offensive conduits and three-point shooters from this past season is now a Wolverine. Jaelin Llewellyn recently committed to Michigan after establishing himself as one of the Ivy League’s most consistent scorers and passers. The guard played an integral role in the Tigers’ league-best offense in 2021-22, finishing fifth in the conference in points per game and eighth in assists and three-point percentage.

New Blue Devil

An efficient scorer who flew under the radar amid Harvard’s underachieving 2021-22 campaign, Kale Catchings has transferred to Duke after three seasons with the Crimson. The O’Fallon, Missouri native finished with 9.1 points per game in 2021-22 on 49.7% shooting from the field. That clip was fifth-best in the Ivy League. Joining the forward in Durham will be what Sports Illustrated has ranked the top recruiting class in the country.

Westward bound

Mason Forbes has committed to Saint Mary’s after making 10 starts in 11 games for the Crimson in 2021-22. The 6-9 forward and Folsom, Calif. native was an impressive rebounder and should make a difference on the boards for the Gaels.

From Penn to Pride 

After 51 games at Penn, Bryce Washington is joining the Pride. Washington had some explosive moments as a rookie in 2018-19, hitting the 20-point mark in wins over Saint Joseph’s and Brown and earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors four times. But injury robbed him of much of his junior season, and he saw limited action in 2021-22.

Gone Gopher 

Dartmouth men’s graduate transfer Taurus Samuels will spend his final year of eligibility at Minnesota, joining the Golden Gophers after averaging 9.4 points. 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 28.5 minutes per game this past season. The Oceanside, Calif. native was one of the Big Green’s best passers and the team’s third-leading scorer in 2021-22. He recalled Dartmouth’s 2019-20 season-opening win at Buffalo and victory at Georgetown (in which he scored a career-high 25 points) as highlights of his hoops career in Hanover in an interview published by The Dartmouth.

Harvard women’s new class 

The Harvard women have announced its four-member Class of 2026, the first incoming class to be announced under first-year head coach Carrie Moore:

  • Gabrielle Anderson | Guard | 5-11 | Columbus, Ohio | IMG Academy – Anderson was three-time captain, selected to the All-State second team her sophomore year
  • Saniyah Glenn | Guard | 6-0 | Staten Island, N.Y. | Christ the King – Glenn was a team captain and led Christ the King to state championship and city championship titles
  • Katie Krupa | Forward | 6-1 | Morton, Ill. | Morton HS – Krupa was an All-State, All-Conference and All-Area selection from 2018 to 2022
  • Katie LeBuhn | Forward | 6-3 | Irvington, N.Y. | Irvington HSLeBuhn was team captain and helped  lead her team to three-time league championship titles in 2018, 2019 and 2022

Into the Mystics 

Harvard’s future Katies hope to live up to the standard of another Katie from the program’s recent past.  Former Crimson standout Katie Benzan signed a training camp contract with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics last month and has made the most of opportunities to prove she belongs on the roster, including a 12-point, 3-for-5 shooting performance in 15 minutes in Washington’s 89-76 win over the Las Vegas Aces on May 10, prompting teammate Alysha Clark to coin the phrase “Benzanity” to describe Benzan’s rise, playing off the “Linsanity” name for the buzz surrounding Harvard alum Jeremy Lin taking the NBA by storm in 2012. Jenn Hatfield chronicled Benzan’s sudden rise to the WNBA and the precariousness of sticking there in an in-depth story for The Next.

Benzan set Harvard’s school record of three-pointers made and claimed the top three single-season three-point shooting records in program history before playing two years at Maryland.

Crimson coaches starting over

Moore is putting together a staff designed to help her carry the program forward in her first year taking the reins from Kathy Delaney-Smith after the latter’s 40 years at the helm. Harvard Athletics announced earlier this month that Moore hired Steve Harney and Ali Sanders as assistant coaches.

Harney was an assistant at Dartmouth from 2016 to 2018 under former head coach Belle Koclanes and spent the past four years at Rider, where he was assistant coach, director of player development and international recruiting coordinator.

Sanders was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Monmouth last season and an assistant at La Salle in 2020-21, focusing on post players and recruiting for the Explorers.

New Yale assistant 

Dalila Eshe made a similar move in forming her own staff in her first year leading the Yale women this month, hiring her own former La Salle assistant – Sam Guastella. Guastella was an assistant at La Salle in 2019-20 after a year as a graduate assistant. Guastella was an assistant at Temple the past two seasons.

Back with the Polar Bears

Megan Phelps has left the Big Green’s women’s coaching staff after one season to take the head coaching job at Bowdoin, her alma mater which she left as an assistant to come to Hanover. Phelps was an assistant for the Polar Bears from 2017 to 2020.


1 thought on “Ivy hoops roundup – Recruits and assistants coming, transfers going”

  1. When Carla Berube arrived at Jadwin no one questioned her ability to coach. She compiled a better than 80% winning record at Division lll Tufts over 17 seasons. Many observers wondered how long it would take to establish her recruiting chops on the D l level. The loss of a tournament opportunity kept the jury out after her initial Ivy season, although she took the club put together by her predecessor to remarkable success by emphasizing team defense.
    Losing the entire second season to COVID concerns threatened to stall the program entirely. Recruiting by ZOOM was a new experience for coaches across the nation.
    The arrival of the highly-regarded Kaitlyn Chen and Chet Nweke was greeted with approval by the chatting class. Chen was one of the most highly rated recruits to reach the Ivy League in decades. When neither player cracked the starting lineup at the outset of the season, the questions lingered. Chen proved her value early, however, and was inserted into the first five in mid-December. She became an indispensable part of the most successful squad in Tiger history.
    By the end of the campaign Nweke was first or second off the bench, improving with each
    appearance, demonstrating tremendous potential for the future.
    If any issues about Berube’s recruiting ability remained they have been resolved by this year’s class of incoming players. Any Ivy coach, and most coaches across the Dl spectrum, would be happy to welcome the Tiger class to their own teams.
    While it is true that the Tigers lose POY Abby Meyers, the other 4 starters return and the bench is packed with high level contributors.
    New coaches at Harvard and Yale, the rising strength of the Columbia Lions and the expected return of the Penn Quakers to prominence promise an Ivy season for the ages. Perhaps the League will send two teams to the tournament for only the second time in history. It could definitely happen!

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