The Redshirt Senior: Ivy League Basketball Preview

by Evan Griffith | 1/7/19 2:25am

The Redshirt Senior: Ivy League Basketball Preview

This college basketball season has certainly provided a fair share of excitement. Duke’s star freshmen have been providing dunk highlights to Instagram pages throughout the season, the Pac-12 seems to be getting worse after the three schools in the NCAA Tournament last season didn’t make it past the first round, and Syracuse has once again spent this break giving me hope and letting me down (how do you lose to Old Dominion?). The Ivy League has even pulled off a few upsets on top-tier teams as well, with the University of Pennsylvania defeating Villanova University 78-75 for the first time since 2002, and Princeton University upsetting Arizona State University 67-66 immediately after the Sun Devils defeated top-ranked University of Kansas the week before. The transitive property holds here, right?

Fortunately, the start of winter term at Dartmouth aligns with the start of conference play in the Ivy League. These games are what really matter for the Ivy League Tournament and for a potential postseason berth. As such, I want to highlight some players from each school, so you know who to look for during these conference games.

A quick recap of Dartmouth’s season so far: the Big Green is currently 9-7 on the season, although that record could easily be 11-5 if two one-possession games against Davidson College and Bryant University went the team’s way. Davidson is a very good team and the fact that Dartmouth almost upset them, especially after leading for most of the second half, speaks volumes to the team’s potential this season. Although we can talk for hours about potential, Dartmouth doesn’t have a signature win to show for it. The two best teams on Dartmouth’s non-conference schedule, No. 20 State University of New York at Buffalo (13-1) and University of San Francisco (14-2), both beat the Big Green by double digits, with Buffalo winning by 39. The team’s best win arguably was at home over an 8-7 Boston University team expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the Patriot League. Dartmouth’s strength is its three-point shot. Three of Dartmouth’s starters — point guard Brendan Barry ’20, shooting guard James Foye ’20 and shooting guard Ian Sistare ’20 are all shooting .480 or above from three, which ranks among the top five in the Ivy League. Dartmouth opens conference play against Harvard next Saturday, January 12th.

Harvard University: Freshman point guard Noah Kirkwood

Two of Harvard’s returning starters, last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns and 2017 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Bryce Aiken, have not played at all this year due to injuries. Freshman Noah Kirkwood has performed in a major way to fill the role at guard that Aiken left. Kirkwood, as a freshman, has scored 20 points twice this season and is currently one of two players leading the Crimson in three-point shooting percentage, shooting 44 percent beyond the arc. His best game was a home matchup against George Washington University, where he came off the bench and led the team in minutes played (30), points scored (20) and assists (6) to help Harvard defeat the Colonials 75-61.

Yale University: Junior guard Miye Oni

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has said of Yale forward Miye Oni, following a 91-58 win over the Bulldogs in which Oni had 12 points and nine rebounds, that he should be a first round pick in the NBA draft. Since that comment, Yale has won five straight games, in four of which Oni scored in double figures. The 6-foot-6 guard was also instrumental in Yale’s 77-73 win over ACC powerhouse University of Miami, leading the team with 29 points. Oni will be a player to keep an eye on this winter and in the future if he ends up going pro.

Penn: Junior power forward AJ Brodeur

Another 2018 First Team All-Ivy Selection, junior AJ Brodeur has scored in double figures in all but two games for Penn this season and led the team with 16 points and six rebounds when Penn beat No. 17 Villanova earlier this season. It’s safe to say that the Penn offense runs through Brodeur.

Brown University: Sophomore guard/forward Desmond Cambridge

Last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Desmond Cambridge is the kind of hybrid player teams must be wary of. Measuring 6 feet 4 inches and 180 pounds, Cambridge played more of a small forward role last season with the Bears but has been getting more playing time as a guard this year. Head coach Mike Martin has complimented Cambridge’s length, mentioning he can play great defense (averages 1.7 blocks per game) and can shoot the ball well (averages 18 points per game with a field goal percentage of .452). Cambridge has scored 15 points or more in his last six games, and he’ll look to continue that momentum into conference play.

Princeton University: Senior guard/forward Devin Cannady

Cannady, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Week this season, is Princeton’s leading scorer averaging 19.5 points per game with a .445 shooting percentage. Cannady is playing his way into the record books at Princeton; he currently has 1,438 career points, and is on pace to finish second all-time in scoring at Princeton behind Olympic gold medalist and former New Jersey U.S. senator Bill Bradley. A common trend among these players is scoring in double figures; the only time Cannady hasn’t put up a double figure game this season was against Duke, when the Tigers lost 101-50. Princeton has only made the NCAA Tournament once during Cannady’s time as a student — he’s looking to change that with his play.

Columbia University: Senior guard Quinton Adlesh

Quinton Adlesh is returning for his senior season after leading the Ivy League in three-point shooting percentage last year (.442) and currently leads the team with 12.8 points per game. He’s kept up similar production from last year with a .440 shooting percentage from three and looks to be a bright spot for a Columbia team that sits 4-9 on the season.

Cornell: Senior point guard Matt Morgan

This is one player I know for a fact can make an impact, as I saw him almost singlehandedly dismantle Syracuse in the Carrier Dome this December in a 63-55 loss (26 points while shooting 60 percent from three). Morgan tested the NBA waters after last season and decided to return for his senior year; it looks as though it’s paid off so far. Morgan averages fantastic numbers with 22.6 points per game with a .502 field goal percentage and 1.1 steals per game on a statistically mediocre Cornell team. Cornell and Columbia are currently the only Ivy League teams that have below a .500 record, but the Big Red could make some noise with a playmaker like Morgan.