Ivy hoops roundup – A new Floor, opened coaching doors and promotions galore

Before commencing with the rest of the Ivy hoops roundup, a note of sorrow about the passing of James “Booney” Salters, the 1980 Penn grad whose dynamic scoring and passing made him one of the best guards in men’s program history.

Salters died July 7. He was 64.

Penn made the NCAA Tournament in all three of Salters’ three seasons with the Red & Blue. The Penn Athletics and Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Famer captained the often overlooked 1979-80 Penn team that advanced to the second round of the Big Dance, leading the squad in scoring and sinking the game-winning shot to triumph over Princeton, 50-49, in an Ivy League playoff matchup.

Salters was a key contributor to the 1978-79 squad that made the Final Four, averaging 9.3 points and 2.4 assists per game.

“Booney obviously was a great player and played a key role in some of the most iconic moments in our program’s history. But more than that, he was a guy who just lit up every room that he entered,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said in a statement. “You look at pictures of Booney at our alumni events and he was always surrounded by smiles and laughter. Just a magnetic personality.”

Salters is survived by his three children, Danielle, Jasmine and BJ, according to Penn Athletics.

A new crew of two for the men’s Red & Blue

In happier news, the Penn men’s program on Friday announced its two-member Class of 2026:

  • Cam Thrower, a 6-4, 195-pound prospect from Manhattan, Beach. Calif. Thrower comes from Harvard-Westlake High School, which has produced past Ivy standouts like Yale’s Alex Copeland and Harvard’s Zena Edosomwan. Thrower was a two-year captain and McDonald’s All-America nominee.
  • Chris Ubochi, a 6-9, 220-pound prospect from Lagos, Nigeria. Ubochi comes from the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Mass., where he garnered New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class A Honorable Mention honors.

Penn women welcome Class of 2026

The Penn women bring in a Class of 2026 more than twice the size of their men’s counterparts:

  • Saniah Caldwell, a 5-9 point guard from Jacksonville, Fla. Caldwell will join her sister Sydnei, who averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18 games for Penn last season after transferring from Arizona State. Saniah played at Saddle River Day School and won the New Jersey state title in 2019.
  • Georgia Heine, a 6-0 guard from Spring Lake Heights, N.J. Heine was a team captain at Manansquan in New Jersey and played AAU ball for Team Rio University.
  • Helena Lasic, a 6-4 forward from Brampton, Ontario. Lasic played at Westtown School (Pa.), won Westtown’s first PAISAA championship in 2022 and played AAU ball for DMV Lady Tigers.
  • Ella Ray, a 6-3 center from El Dorado Hills, Calif. Ray played at Oak Ridge High School, where she ranked 15th in the nation in blocks as a sophomore. Ray played AAU ball for YBA and Jason Kidd Select.
  • Simone Sawyer, a 5-11 guard from Lincolnshire, Ill. Sawyer played at Stevenson High School, where she a two-time All-State first-teamer and Lake County News Sun Player of the Year. Sawyer played AAU ball for Illinois Elite and Full Package Athletics.

Flooring it

The Penn women also add Floor Toonders, who transfers to Penn after spending the past two seasons at Florida. A 6-4 forward from Wageningen, Netherlands, Toonders has two years of eligibility. Toonders started 10 of the 29 games she played for the Gators last season, averaging three rebounds and 1.5 points per game. Toonders’ game averages were higher as a rookie in 2020-21: 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 points.

Against the alma mater

Princeton women’s coach and 1997 UConn grad Carla Berube will go up against her alma mater and college coach Geno Auriemma in an enticing December matchup between the defending Big East and Ivy champions. The Huskies announced that they’ll be hosting Princeton on Dec. 8.

Naval gazing and playing across the pond

The Princeton men have announced they will clash with Navy on Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, in the ninth annual Veteran’s Classic. The matchup at Alumni Hall in Annapolis will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 8:30 ET.

Princeton will travel much further when it takes part in the 2022 London Classic from Thurs., Nov. 24 through Sat., Nov. 26 at Copper Box Arena, the basketball venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Princeton will play a team to be determined in the opening round of the four-team London Classic on Nov. 24, Thanksgiving, while Manhattan and Northeastern square off in the other game. The winners will face each other in the championship game on Nov. 26, while the losers battle in the third-place matchup. Game times and broadcast details are to be announced.

Cancun calling

While the Princeton men spend Thanksgiving in London, the Harvard women will be competing in a warmer climate.

The Crimson will be one of 10 teams playing in the 2022 Cancun Challenge scheduled for Nov. 24-26 at the Hard Rock Rivera Maya. Harvard will play in the Mayan Division along with Florida State, Oklahoma State and Purdue. The division will consist of a three-game round robin.

The coaching carousel spins on  

Princeton men’s basketball named Lawrence Rowley to its coaching staff. The 2021 Emory graduate had been a graduate assistant at the College of New Jersey in 2021-22. Rowley’s arrival follows the departure of Jonathan Jones, who left Princeton after four years to become an assistant at American.

Princeton women’s basketball added Tiana Carter to its coaching staff. The 2018 Albany grad is the Great Danes’ all-time leader in blocks and comes to Princeton after two years as an assistant coach at Division II Bentley and a previous stint at Central Maine Community College.

The Penn men have a new assistant coach in Kris Saulny, a 2019 Widener graduate who was a grad assistant at George Washington last season after spending two years at Division III California Lutheran. Saulny replaces Trey Montgomery, who left to become an assistant under Penn grad Matt Langel at Colgate. Langel was looking to replace Penn grads Mike Jordan (who has succeeded former Penn assistant Fran O’Hanlon as head coach at Lafayette) and Dave Klatsky (the new head coach at NYU).

Joining Montgomery at Colgate will be yet another Penn alumnus, Camryn Crocker. Crocker was a well-regarded team leader at Penn, where he graduated in 2015. Crocker had spent the past three seasons as director of player development at Stanford.

Columbia women’s basketball has welcomed former Manhattan assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Allie Bassetti to its coaching staff. Bassetti spent six seasons with the Jaspers. She was a 2013 grad at Rowan and was an assistant at Ss. Neumann Goretti High School in South Philadelphia from 2010 to 2012. Former assistant Greg Roznick left the Lions’ coaching staff after five years to take over as head coach at Blair Academy.

Yale women’s basketball has a new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in Sara Mitchell. The 2014 King University graduate spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach at NJIT.

Rising up the ranks

The Cornell men and women promoted longtime assistants to associate head coaching positions.

The Big Red men bumped up Jon Jaques to associate head coach after nine years as an assistant under current head coach Brian Earl and former head coach Bill Courtney. Jaques also had spent a season on Kyle Smith’s staff at Columbia in 2012-13. Jaques was a four-year member of the Big Red program, registering 6.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the 2009-10 squad that made it to the Sweet 16.

Val Klopfer is now associate head coach for the Cornell women after 19 years with the program under head coach Dayna Smith. Klopfer has focused on the frontcourt the past three years after mainly working with guards for the bulk of her time on East Hill.

Kelly Killion enters her seventh straight year and ninth overall with the Penn women with the new title of associate head coach/recruiting coordinator. Penn has been a perennial Ivy title contender with Killion on the sidelines.

After six years as an assistant coach with Columbia women’s basketball, Tyler Cordell is now the Lions’ associate head coach. Cordell was already recruiting coordinator and recruited six of the program’s nine All-Ivy selections since she and head coach Megan Griffith arrived in 2016. Columbia set a new program record for wins (25) in 2021-22, claiming its first postseason wins since it joined Division I in 1986 en route to the WNIT national quarterfinals.