Lions and Tigers and Bears. Oh my!
With these intimidating team names, how can the Big Red men’s basketball team compete? Well, with new head coach Steve Donahue at the helm, the team has a new attitude, a new style of playing, and a new philosophy on winning. But can the Red compete against perennial Ivy League bigwigs Penn and Princeton? With all due respect to former Sun editor Mark Hale ’00, we were not brave enough to choose Cornell to finish in first place. The race for the third spot on the standings should be as competitive as ever, and the Red promises to be in the mix as Coach Donahue and his team embark on a new era in Cornell men’s basketball.
1. Pennsylvania Quakers (21-8 overall, 14-0 Ivy)
Outlook – This year, Penn will be without its version of the Michael Jordan, as the other Michael Jordan graduated. He took with him his 16 points per game. Replacing Jordan at point guard will be sophomore Dave Klatsky. Ivy League Rookie of the Year Ugonna Onyekwe also returns to the lineup to solidify the Quaker front-line. Last year he averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game. Senior center Geoff Owens was granted fifth-year eligibility and hopes to build on his school record 152 blocks. Head coach Fran Dunphy will be looking for his third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. Penn seems to have all the ingredients for the three-peat.
Magic Eight Ball — “Unlike the Chicago Bulls, the loss of Michael Jordan will not end this dynasty.”
2. Princeton Tigers (19-11 overall, 11-3 Ivy)
Outlook — First year coach, John Thompson III, will have to reshuffle the last year’s lineup to make up for the loss of two of the Tigers’ big men, Mason Rocca and Chris Young. Also, Spencer Gloger decided to leave the Northeast for sunny California to play for nationally-ranked, UCLA. Still, the Tigers have Bill Walton’s son, Nate, to anchor the team. Last year, Walton averaged 5.4 points, but that number is expected to reach double digits this year with his increased playing time. WIthout Gloger, forward Mike Bechtold will be counted on to strike from long distance with his three point shooting touch. This team has a history of winning, and it will do just that.
Magic Eight Ball — “Everybody’s leaving New Jersey. Just ask former Tiger coach Bill Carmody.”
3. Cornell (10-17 overall, 3-11 Ivy)
4. Columbia Lions (13-14 overall, 7-7 Ivy)
Outlook — With the return of all five of its starters, and nine of its ten letter winners, Columbia could roar to the top of the league. Leading the charge is forward Craig Austin, who was the first Lions’ player since the 1992-93 season to be named first team All-Ivy. Center Chris Wiedemann is a 6’9” force inside and should add to his career total in blocks. Last year Columbia surprised critics with a late season surge to tie Harvard for third-place. They will be not be satisfied with anything less this year. The Lions are the sleeper pick of the Ivies.
Magic Eight Ball — “The Yankees are the only New York team that can consistently win.”
5. Harvard Crimson (12-15 overall, 7-7 overall)
Outlook — This team finished tied for third overall last season. Senior forward Dan Clemente will lead the offensive arsenal. Last year he averaged 18.6 points per game despite missing 11 games with a detached retina. A healthy Clemente is an unstoppable Clemente. To assist Clemente, sophomore Elliot Prasse-Freeman will play point guard and try to build upon his league leading 7.3 assists per game. Andrew Gellert will complement Clemente in the backcourt, and he looks to finish first in the Ivies in steals just as he did last year. With three starters returning and Clemente’s playing status uncertain, there are too many questions for the Crimson.
Magic Eight Ball — “You might be on the top of U.S. News and World Report, but you’ve never won an Ivy title.”
6. Dartmouth Big Green (9-18 overall, 5-9 Ivy)
Outlook — The Big Green has a great opportunity to gain some prestige in the Princeton/Penn dominated league. Though it lost Shaun Gee — the leading scorer in the Ivies last year — Dartmouth nonetheless compensates with senior Greg Buth, the third leading scorer last season. Look for Buth to continue the Dartmouth tradition of heading the scoring leaderboard. Joining Buth on the outside are junior point guard, Flinder Boyd and forward Charles Harris. Donahue considers this tandem to be the preeminent triumvirate of perimeter players.
Magic Eight Ball — “It’s not easy being Green.”
7. Yale Bulldogs (7-20 overall, 5-9 Ivy)
Outlook — Second-year coach, James Jones, looks to build upon his inaugural season. With a year under his belt, he has more of sense of the players and their roles. Sophomore guard Chris Leanza and senior center Neil Yanke will combine to make a potent 1-2 inside-out combination. Yanke is the captain and finished second in the Ivies in rebounding last year. Guard Isiah Cavaco needs to be healthy and contribute with his three-point prowess for the Elis team to be successful.
Magic Eight Ball — “What’s an Eli?”
8. Brown Bears (8-19 overall, 4-10 Ivy)
Outlook — Glenn Miller, the Bears’ head coach, has the task of working on his up-tempo style of play this year. Sophomores Alai Huualiitia and Earl Hunt provide versatility at either a guard or forward position. Hunt was second in Ivy scoring at 17 points per game. Junior forward Shaun Etheridge needs to be healthy this year, after missing 20 games last year with a broken foot.
Magic Eight Ball — “At least they don’t pay their basketball players.”
Archived article by Jason Skolnik