Mason’s graduate transfer: an important decision in more ways than one

Makai Mason, once a Bear-buster, is Baylor-bound come 2018. (Fansided)

Last week, Andrew Slater of 247 Sports reported that Yale rising senior Makai Mason will attend Baylor University in the fall of 2018 as a graduate transfer.  The 2015-16 first-team All-Ivy guard missed all of last season due to a foot injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage against Boston University.  Mason, who was recently named the Yale captain for the upcoming season, averaged 16.0 points, 3.8 assists, and 32.7 minutes of playing time per game in his sophomore campaign.

Mason declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, but withdrew his name a few days after the combine.  Since he did not choose an agent, he returned to Yale and retained his last two years of eligibility.  After his first-semester injury, Mason decided to continue his studies at Yale instead of taking a leave of absence, as opposed to Alex Rosenberg at Columbia or Siyani Chambers at Harvard.  By staying in school, Mason will earn his degree in the spring of 2018 and retain one year of athletic eligibility.  Since the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to participate, he is free to play his last season at any institution the following season.  That freedom has been exercised over the last few years by Cornell’s Shonn Miller (Connecticut), Penn’s Tony Hicks (Louisville), Harvard’s Patrick Steeves (George Washington), Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola (George Washington) and Brown’s Rafael Maia (Pittsburgh).  Recently, two graduating All-Ivy Princeton players, Hans Brase (Iowa State) and Henry Caruso (Santa Clara), have added their names to this ever-growing list.

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ESPN: Princeton’s Henry Caruso to become graduate transfer

Princeton senior guard Henry Caruso will become a graduate transfer next season, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Wednesday.

Caruso was reported out for the year last week with a toe injury, making him the second Tiger this week to be declared out for this season.

Caruso was a first-team All-Ivy selection as a junior last season, leading the Tigers in scoring and rebounding at 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shooting at a 52.7 percent clip. Caruso contributed 9.5 points and 4.3 boards per contest in eight games this season.

The San Mateo, Calif. native joins a long list of Ivy graduate transfers in recent years, including Columbia’s Grant Mullins, Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola, Brown’s Rafael Maia and Princeton’s own Denton Koon.

Fellow Tigers senior Hans Brase was declared out for the year Sunday after sustaining another season-ending knee injury.

Previewing Brown-Yale & Cornell-Columbia

IHO takes a closer look at Saturday’s two Ivy conference matchups.

Brown at Yale, 5 p.m.

Last season: Then-senior guard Javier Duren canned a jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining to break a 65-65 tie and help ensure a Bulldogs victory. Yale’s 69-65 win completed a sweep of Brown, and the Elis took the lead for good with 12:28 to go in the game after Brown had led 31-25 at halftime. Justin Sears and Duren scored 27 and 24 points respectively, combining for 15 of Yale’s 20 field goals. Brown got a more balanced scoring attack, with Rafael Maia, Steven Spieth and Tavon Blackmon combining for 50 of Brown’s 65 points just five days before it Leland King’s departure from the Brown basketball program was announced. (King played only in the first matchup of this series in Providence last season, his final game as a Bear.)

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Brown Season Preview – Get Out and Run

Coach Mike Martin enters his fourth season at the helm for the Bears, looking to improve on last season’s 4-10 Ivy record. With Martin’s early recruits coming of age and the addition of some under-the-radar talent, there’s reason for optimism in Providence.

First and foremost, this is Cedric Kuakumensah’s team, as the imposing senior center and captain looks to build upon the greatest defensive reputation in the league. Outside of Kuakumensah, the Bears will look to replace the contributions of reliable big man, Rafael Maia, and they’ll look to a young cast to do so. Watch out for Travis Fuller, the 6-9 freshman from Encinitas, Calif.  The early returns are positive on Fuller, as the skilled big man looks to fill Maia’s void in the frontcourt.

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Haiku Corner – Brown season preview edition

Welcome to Haiku Corner, where we analyze what to look for with each Ivy squad this upcoming season, three lines at a time (with supporting links to boot):

King Kuakumensah

But who else inside now?

Must shore up the paint


Rhythm from Blackmon

But don’t sleep on Daugherty

Or roster hiccups


Brothers on the wing

Brothers on the greenery

Brothers in big arms

Former Brown forward Rafael Maia out indefinitely for Pitt

Rafael Maia led the Ivy League in rebounding and field-goal percentage last season. (
Rafael Maia led the Ivy League in rebounding and field-goal percentage last season. (

Brown graduate transfer Rafael Maia will be out two weeks for Pitt with a right thumb injury sustained in a workout session earlier in the week, the school announced Friday.

Maia’s right hand is currently in a soft cast and will be reevaluated in two weeks. Maia averaged 10 points, 8.1 rebounds per game and 52.1 percent shooting from the field during his three-year collegiate career, played entirely at Brown up to this point.

Sizing up the Ivy transfers

It’s been an awfully busy offseason for transfers throughout the Ivy League. Shonn Miller is off to Storrs. Rafael Maia is pining for Pittsburgh, Alex Mitola is set for D.C. and Denton Koon is headed to Hempstead.

But which Ivy transfer is going to have the biggest impact on their team in 2015-16?

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Rafael Maia transfers to Pitt

The transfers keep leaving.

This time, it’s Brown senior forward Rafael Maia, who now joins Pittsburgh as a graduate transfer for the 2015-16 season. In his final campaign for the Bears in 2014-15, the Sao Paulo, Brazil native led the Ivy League in rebounding and field-goal percentage while providing the Bears one of the best post presences in the entire league.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Maia chose Pitt over Nebraska and USC, and that Maia is the second graduate transfer addition for the Panthers this offseason.

Like Shonn Miller, Alex Mitola and Denton Koon upon their graduate transfers, Maia is immediately eligible.

Maia seemed to pick up his game in league play after then-leading scorer Leland King left the team just two contests into the conference slate, shaking off a December slump in which he scored just 13 points in a four-game stretch. Maia takes smart shots and can post up with the best of them, as he showed with solid efforts against Northwestern and Illinois in nonconference play.

Alex Mitola to become graduate transfer, play final season elsewhere

According to several sources, including his high school coach, Dartmouth junior guard Alex Mitola will become a graduate transfer and play his final season at another school.

“Alex always wanted to see if he could play up at a little bit of a higher level,” Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mergin Sina told Jerry Carino. “Out of high school he didn’t have a chance to do it.”

The news represents a huge loss for Big Green coach Paul Cormier and the Dartmouth basketball program. Mitola averaged 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, good for seventh in scoring, first in free-throw percentage, 10th in assists, second in three-pointers made, second in assist/turnover ratio and second in minutes played.

“I’m disappointed and think he’s making a terrible mistake,” Paul Cormier said to the Valley News of Mitola. “He can’t get that (fourth year at Dartmouth) back. The decision that requires the most substance is staying here and following through with the teammates you came in with.”

The Valley News also reports that Mitola plans to play his final season of college eligibility with a higher-profile program and pursue a graduate business degree before playing professionally overseas.

“We’ve gone from nine victories to 12 to 14 since Alex has been here,” Cormier told the Valley News. “He could have left a real legacy. I hope this isn’t something he later regrets, because it’s not ending the way I think it should.”

“It was hard because I know the situation it puts them in, but I felt it was what was best for me and my career moving forwards,” Mitola said.

The Ivy League will miss Mitola’s potent long-range shooting, superior ballhandling and clutch play. Dartmouth would not have made its first postseason since 1959 this season without him. I discussed what I thought Mitola’s versatility meant to Dartmouth in an On the Vine in February, and One Bid Wonders correctly identified him as the “culture changer” in Hanover earlier this season.

2015 Outgoing Ivy Transfers

Denton Koon

Shonn Miller

Kenyatta Smith

Rafael Maia

Cam Crocker

Galal Cancer

Alex Mitola

IHO 2014-15 All-Ivy Awards

Ivy Hoops Online founder Ian Halpern, On the Vine host Peter Andrews and I combined to determine the 2014-15 All-IHO selections:


Justin Sears, Yale (Jr., F – Plainfield, N.J.)

Sears snared IHO POY honors for his yeoman’s work in the Yale frontcourt, registering 14.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, pushing the Bulldogs just short of their first NCAA tournament berth in 53 years. Sears eclipsed 25 points in four Ivy contests and anchored a stout Yale defense all season long. (For the record, I voted for Wesley Saunders for POY based on his second-half heroics in the Ivy playoff game, but I was outvoted 2-1. It’s a good problem to have several legitimate POY candidates, though, that’s for sure.)


Kyle Castlin, Columbia (Fr., G – Marietta, Ga.)

Castlin made an immediate impact in the Lions’ dynamic backcourt, posting 18 points in 30 minutes in just his second collegiate game and displaying levels of body control and offensive awareness that most players in this league never attain. He scored in double figures in 14 of 28 games and was one of the few constants in a Columbia offense that struggled to find options beyond Maodo Lo.


Shonn Miller, Cornell (Sr., F – Euclid, Ohio)

Miller anchored Cornell’s gritty and physically large defense, posting 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per game while notching a 28 percent defensive rebound rate that was good for seventh in the country. Cornell doesn’t beat Harvard late in the season without Miller’s defensive chops, and it certainly doesn’t finish third in the league in scoring defense without him either.

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