The Princeton basketball community lost a father figure Monday with the death of its legendary coach, Pete Carril.
It is difficult to express in a short essay the importance of Pete Carril to followers of Princeton basketball or to the game of basketball itself. Most of the epitaphs I digested in the immediate aftermath of the news of Carril’s passing emphasized his coaching record – 514 wins, which remains an all-time record among Ivy League coaches – and his signature style of coaching, including his frumpy demeanor, and of course his perfection of the Princeton offense, which became stylish after Princeton defeated UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament.
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.
The Princeton tree continues to sprout women’s basketball coaches in the Ivy League.
Yale named Princeton assistant Dalila Eshe as the 11th head coach in program history Monday. Eshe replaces Allison Guth, now head coach at Loyola Chicago.
Former Tiger assistants are now the head coaches at Yale, Harvard (Carrie Moore) and Columbia (Megan Griffith).
And it makes sense.
The Tigers are as close to a dynasty as one might find in the corridors of the Ancient Eight. Princeton won Ivy titles in 2018, 2019 and 2022, the last three years that the title has been contested, and have gone 40-2 during that period in the Ivy.
Eshe impressed at her opening presser today at John J. Lee Amphitheater. She gave immediate kudos to Yale president Peter Salovey, an American social psychologist who Eshe could identify with as a former college psychology major. She also credited Yale athletic director Vicky Chun and deputy athletic director Ann-Marie Guglieri on a very professional search.
“It is an honor and a dream come true to accept this position,” Eshe said, adding that the Bulldogs “will pride ourselves on putting in the work to win championships.”
Eshe comes to Yale from Princeton where she spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, helping Princeton to a No. 24 national ranking and a NCAA Tournament first-round win over favored Kentucky.
The Tallahassee, Fla. native was a WNBA player with the Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream and coached at Loyola Maryland, East Carolina and La Salle before her stop at Princeton. She knows talent when she sees it, having secured La Salle’s first-ever top 100 recruit. During her recruiting tenure at Princeton, the Tigers boasted three consecutive top-40 classes.
Eshe made it clear that she is a defense-first coach who also values the significance of a top-flight post presence like 6-foot-5 Yale junior Camilla Emsbo. Eshe knows her well, having coached her twin sister Kira at Princeton. The new Yale coach values post players who “can stretch out.”
The Florida alumna noted that in her first meeting with her new team on Tuesday night, team members urged her to help with community outreach to bolster women’s basketball attendance at Yale. Eshe also recognizes that the league has been, and can be in the future, a two-bid NCAA conference. With that in mind, Eshe wants to play a challenging yet realistic out-of-conference schedule.
Yale returns Emsbo and a large part of the squad which compiled a 16-11 record and a 9-5 mark in the Ivy this past season before falling in the Ivy League Tournament to Columbia.
Devin Cannady is sticking around the NBA for a while.
Having signed a 10-day contract with the Orlando Magic on March 31, the former Princeton standout signed off on a deal to stay on with the team, the Magic announced Sunday ahead of the season finale Sunday night.
The team didn’t disclose terms of the deal.
Cannady had made the jump from the Lakeland Magic of the NBA G League, where he had averaged 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 averaged 14.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists. and 1.1 steals in 31.1 minutes per game during 104 career games at Princeton from 2015 to 2019.
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.
Cannady was named G League Final MVP after helping Lakeland win the 2020-21 NBA G League championship.
Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony posted an excellent recap of the No. 11 Tigers’ gut-wrenchingly narrow loss at No. 3 Indiana Monday evening, Not much for Old Toothless to add.
One key to the outcome was the early foul trouble for Abby Meyers, sending her to the bench for nearly a quarter. Indiana defended her extremely well, which hasn’t happened often in her stellar career. As a result, she was not the factor she needed to be for the Tiger offense to get rolling. For the evening she shot 4-for-15 from the field. Her lone made three-pointer in seven attempts was a buzzer-beater after the outcome was sealed.
No. 11 Princeton couldn’t secure the first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth in Ivy League history in a thrilling second-round matchup at No. 3 Indiana Monday night, overcoming early foul troubles and a shaky second quarter only to fall just short, 56-55, in the final seconds.
Princeton (25-5, 14-0 Ivy) allowed the Hoosiers’ game-winning bucket from senior guard Grace Berger with 29 seconds left, giving Indiana (24-8, 11-5 Big Ten) a 54-52 lead. Princeton’s subsequent possession went awry with an errant pass from sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen in the final game of her first year of action.
Two free throws from Aleksa Gulbe sealed the Hoosiers’ victory, creating a cushion to absorb Ivy Player of the Year Abby Meyers’ three-pointer as time expired to arrive at the 56-55 final score at Assembly Hall.
Meyers and Chen each picked up two early fouls, hindering Princeton’s early efforts offensively. But they were both part of Princeton’s push to rise from a 43-29 deficit with 6:16 left in the third quarter to a 52-51 lead with 58 seconds left.
Berger subsequently hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 52-52, followed by a missed three from Meyers that led to Berger’s game-winning shot.
Princeton held Indiana to just six points in the third quarter, and the Hoosiers committed 17 turnovers.
But Indiana did just enough to squeak by, notching 22 points against Princeton’s fourth-ranked scoring defense nationally in the second quarter.
Junior guards Grace Stone and Julia Cunningham picked up the scoring slack early after Meyers and Chen quickly got into foul trouble, leading the Tigers with 13 points apiece.
Sophomore forward Ellie Mitchell lived up to her Ivy Defensive Player of the Year honor, grabbing 15 rebounds (10 defensive) and notching a steal and a block while adding six points in 40 minutes.
Berger led Indiana with 15 points and seven rebounds in 39 minutes.
Meyers picked up her second foul just four minutes into the game, all but ensuring she wouldn’t approach the 29-point mark she achieved in Princeton’s first-round win over No. 6 Kentucky Saturday. The Ivy Player of the Year finished with 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting in 31 minutes. Chen posted 10 points and five boards in 36 minutes.
Princeton’s loss ends an extraordinary run that saw the program pick up its second NCAA Tournament win Saturday and run up its win streak versus Ivy competition to 42 games.
The 2021-22 Tigers were one of the best, most complete Ivy teams in recent memory, women’s or men’s. Even with Meyers graduating, the Tigers are the class of the Ivy League until further notice, and with a roster so deep and devoted to stifling defense, they’ve got more big moments like this in store in the future.
The Princeton Tigers entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed matched against the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats in Bloomington, Ind. Ivy Player of the Year Abby Meyers paced the Tigers with 29 points as her club thoroughly outplayed their SEC opponent Saturday, administering a convincing 69-62 beating to advance to the round of 32.
Far from being intimidated by the moment, the Tigers clearly rose to it.
No. 11 Princeton led No. 6 Kentucky for all but 2:18 in the first quarter, maintaining a single-digit, multiple-possession lead most of the game en route to a 69-62 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Assembly Hall in Bloomington Saturday.
The win is the Tigers’ second NCAA Tournament victory in program history and sets them up for a second-round clash with No. 3 Indiana at Assembly Hall Monday at a time to be announced.