In front of an enthusiastic yet sparse Saturday matinee crowd at the Palestra, the Penn men bounced back from last Saturday’s loss to Columbia to defeat Dartmouth, 78-68, and move to 3-1 in Ivy League play.
Penn broadcaster Vince Curran said he and Penn coach Steve Donahue reviewed the starting lineups for the team’s Ivy opening day game against Brown 20 minutes before tip-off. Shortly afterwards, Donahue inserted first-year guard George Smith into the starting five and it turned out to be the be the smartest move of the afternoon. The Salem, N.H. native had a day to remember, scoring a career-high 23 points to give the Quakers a huge 77-73 victory over the Bears.
The Penn men went wire to wire for a 71-63 win over Old Dominion to close out the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Sunday afternoon. While the Quakers’ record over the four-day tournament in Conway, S.C. was 1-2 and they finished the eight-team tournament in seventh place, the Red & Blue jumped from a KenPom ranking of 210 to a season-best 196.
Two days after the Media Day for Ivy women’s hoops, the men had their turn at the virtual podium. A day prior, the results of the preseason poll were released. While five different teams earned top votes, the overall totals showed no changes from the last day of competition in 2020.
Yale, two-time defending Ivy champion, was again picked to come in first with 115 points and seven first-place votes. Harvard, the 2019 co-champion, was close behind, tallying 110 points and four first-place votes. Princeton, the 2017 title winner, closed out the top tier with 108 points and two first-place votes.
Penn, the 2018 co-champion, secured the last slot in the upper division with 93 points and two first-place selections. Brown, which last held the title in 1986, again found itself behind the Quakers for fifth place with 79 points and a pair of title votes.
Dartmouth, which last entered the winner’s circle in 1959, was tabbed in the six slot with 43 points, four points more than Cornell, which last held the top spot in the Sweet Sixteen season of 2010. Columbia, the 1968 champion, was projected to finish last with 25 points.
M. Grace Calhoun is making one big intra-Ivy move.
Calhoun, a 1992 Brown graduate and former track and field athlete there, will become vice president of athletics and recreation, a newly created position after former athletic director Jack Hayes left the university last month.
Rudy Fuller, Penn’s senior associate athletic director for intercollegiate programs and longtime former Penn men’s soccer coach, will serve as interim director of athletics and recreation until a permanent appointment is made.
Bruno says hello
Brown men’s basketball last week announced the program’s five early decision admits that are part of the Class of 2025 and will join the Bears for the 2021-22 season:
- Aaron Cooley, 6-5 G/F from Roxbury, Mass., All-NEPSAC Class A in 2019 and All-NEPSAC Class B in 2020
- Lyndel Erold, 6-3 G from Boston, ISL Honorable Mention
- Sam Klores, 6-1 G from New York, New York State Class B Player of the Year in 2020-21
- Kino Lilly, Jr., 6-0 G from Glenn Dale, Md., Dematha Summer League MVP in 2018
- Nana Owusu-Anane, 6-8 F from Burlington, Ont., won a gold medal with Team Ontario
With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.
The short answer is no.
“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”
The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:
We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:
- As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
- When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
- Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
- We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
- Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.
This is just the beginning.
Just a day after graduating from Harvard, former Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns was detained and subsequently released by police Friday in his hometown of Columbus after he protested nonviolently in response to the death of unarmed black people at the hands of police officers across America.
The protest in Columbus was one of many sparked by the video record of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis while three other officers stood nearby Monday.
Seth Towns addressed the incident on Twitter Saturday afternoon, noting that he was as proud of his nonviolent protest in downtown Columbus to cry out against the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician fatally shot in her home by police in March.