Men’s basketball to open season on the road at Boston College and Georgetown

The team will draw on veteran experience in its first games since March 2020.

by Jason Norris | 11/8/21 2:15am

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Source: Courtesy of Aaryn Rai

On Nov. 9, Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team will take the floor at Boston College to start its season. The Big Green has not played a game since the 2019-20 season, when the team posted a record of 12-17 and placed sixth in the Ivy League. The 20-man roster features experienced players such as graduate student Brendan Barry ’20 and fifth year Aaryn Rai ’21, along with nine players who have never played a collegiate basketball game.

The young team will have mentors to look to in veterans like Barry and Rai. Barry played for Dartmouth his whole undergraduate career, transferred to Temple University for a fifth year, and is now back at his alma mater as a graduate student. During his junior year at Dartmouth, Barry earned the A.D. “Dolly” Stark Award as Dartmouth’s team MVP and was named Ivy League Player of the Week in December 2018. During his one year stint at Temple, Barry played 27 minutes per game and shot an impressive 43.5 percent from behind the arc. This upcoming season, he said he is looking forward to using his experience to help lead the younger guys on the roster.

“I like to tell [the younger players] I've experienced everything you can at Dartmouth; I've been injured, I’ve been benched, I’ve gone through shooting slumps, and it’s important for me to be an outlet for those guys and help them through their experiences,” Barry said. “The Temple experience was cool to play at that level, and at the end of the day I'm happy to be back here and this is where I belong.”

Having not played a college game yet, Izaiah Robinson ’24 emphasized how important it has been to have experienced players like Barry to help him and the other younger players develop.

Despite not playing for a year, Robinson said he feels as though the team has improved a lot and is ready for the season.

“Last year when everything was restricted, Coach McLaughlin always emphasized development, always getting us ready and prepared,” Robinson said. “This year now it’s just applying what we’ve learned last year … I’ve been enjoying everything, coming out from high school and missing last year to being with all the guys now and building that chemistry and camaraderie.”

For head coach David McLaughlin, development is the name of the game. McLaughlin emphasized his main goal this season is to continue to improve his players as individuals and as a team. 

“We develop every day and every practice, which is very hard to do,” McLaughlin said. “If we continue to do that, it’s only going to give us a great opportunity to grow. And you’re only able to do that if you have a great group of staff and players who are willing to buy in, which is exactly what these guys are doing.”

So far this year, McLaughlin said he has enjoyed getting back into a routine with the team, stressing his appreciation of building relationships with his athletes. 

“One of our core values is relationships,” McLaughlin said. “I think it’s awesome to be working with these young men every single day. And we can’t develop these guys on the court unless you’re around them everyday, so being able to develop these guys as young athletes and young men is very special.”

For Barry, Robinson and McLaughlin, all eyes are on the season-opener at B.C. on Tuesday. Unlike the Big Green, the Eagles competed over the 2020-21 season, ranking last in the American Coastal Conference. Later in the week, Dartmouth will head down to Washington, D.C. to tip off against Georgetown University on Nov. 13. Each of these games will also be the season-opener for Georgetown and B.C.

“B.C. and Georgetown are really good challenges for us because it’s going to be their first games so there won’t be a ton of film, so the games are going to be all about our approach and preparing like we’re playing against anyone,” Barry said. 

For Coach McLaughlin, the season opener is his main focus right now.

“I’m very excited about having a road trip with the guys going down and competing against a quality opponent and seeing how our practice habits and preparation is going to prepare us for games,” McLaughlin said. “You don’t look too far ahead as a coach, you just focus on the next game and I’m excited to see how our practice has prepared us for a real, live environment.”

After playing their first two games of the season on the road, the Big Green will play their first home game at Leede Arena on November 16th against Northern Vermont University-Lyndon. For Robinson, these games and all future games this season are about winning, and about proving that a Big Green team that has not had a winning record since the 1998-99 season should not be counted out.

“This season, I want to win, to get experience, and that’s really it,” Robinson said. “Just to win, I don't like losing. I want to change the stigma Dartmouth basketball has and do well in our conference and win in our conference. I think we have the talent and the experience to do that.”

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