While the men’s basketball team doesn’t come into the season with a 10-time All Star like the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, the hype around the team in terms of Ivy League basketball is quite similar as many are anticipating a banner year from the talented roster.
“I think the season is going to be great,” said junior Adam Gore. “My freshman year, we didn’t have half of the talent we have now. It seemed like there was always help defense on me but this year, we can just spread everybody out.”
The confidence stems from a roster full with capable scorers and versatility. Returning to the fold is last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year sophomore Ryan Wittman and Ivy League Rookie team member sophomore Louis Dale. The duo combined to win 12 Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards. Classmates Alex Tyler and Geoff Reeves emerged nearing the end of the season. Tyler won the Ivy League Rookie of the Week award after two consecutive 14-point performances against Dartmouth and Harvard, while Reeves scored a career-high 16 points in an early March loss to the Crimson.
Also returning to the Red’s roster are juniors Jason Battle — who can play four positions on the court — Conor Mullen and forward Brian Kreefer.
In addition the returning cast, the Red will welcome back a healthy senior Jason Hartford, USC junior transfer Collin Robinson, St. Bonaventure junior transfer Jeff Foote and junior Andre Wilkins, who are all expected to be key cogs in the game-plan. With so much talent spread around, one concern will be defining roles for each player. So far, Donahue has not set on a solution.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and talent,” Gore said. “So the competition in practice has been very good everyday … It’s just going to be an all-year competition.”
With so much talent and speed in the backcourt, the Red plan to implement an up-tempo offense that will use its wealth of shooting and ball handlers to use.
“This year is a lot less thinking,” Gore said. “In a way, it feels like we are in high school because we are just going out there and playing.”
With so much depth and accolades spread amongst the backcourt, one might see a perceived weakness in the frontcourt but Kreefer begs to differ.
“We are all able to score,” Kreefer said. “J. Hart and myself can shoot from the outside and Andre, Pete and [Alex Tyler] have good low post skills. We know we won’t be expected to score as much but we will be able to.”
Regardless of who provides the scoring, the Red will enter the season with a lot of hype and a belief that this year will be the year that the Red wins the Ivy League championship for the first time since 1988.
“Nobody talks about it [an Ivy League championship],” Gore said. “But the confidence is there in the locker room … We realize nobody is going to give it to us.”