#114 Harvard: 2010-11 Basketball Preview

    
September 6th, 2010

Overall Rank: #114

Conference Rank: #1 Ivy League

 

2009-10: 21-8, 10-4

2009-10 postseason: CIT

Coach: Tommy Amaker (43-43 at Harvard, 219-182 overall)

 

The last time Harvard made the postseason, Albert Einstein was working at rival Princeton. That is until the 2009-2010 season when Jeremy Lin led the Crimson to the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament. Lin and his 16.4 points and 4.5 assists per game are gone, but Coach Tommy Amaker had three players on the Ivy’s All-Freshman team and the future looks very bright. It helps that Cornell’s three year run should be coming to an end, so it is down to Harvard and Princeton to battle for the Ivy title.

 

Key Losses: G Jeremy Lin, F Pat Magnarelli, F Doug Miller

 

Key Newcomers:

The newcomers will not be asked to do too much this year, a far cry from last year’s freshmen class that was immediately thrown into the fire. However, this is a team that needs to find some depth up front. If power forward James Moore and center Ugo Okam can do half of what last year’s class did, Harvard will be in good shape to win the conference. The backcourt adds a couple shooting guards in Laurent Rivard and Matt Brown. Rivard is a superb scorer, especially from beyond the arc, and Coach Amaker will find it difficult to leave him out of the regular rotation.

 

Backcourt:

There are plenty of options for replacing Lin. Brandyn Curry and Oliver McNally can handle the point guard duties and Christian Webster and Dee Giger can do plenty of scoring. McNally, a 6-3 junior, is the experienced player of the bunch. A year ago he averaged 7.0 points and 3.0 assists and, as one of the few upperclassmen available to the backcourt, he should emerge as a leader whether he runs the point or not. Webster is the most likely candidate to replace Lin’s scoring numbers. As a freshman Webster averaged 8.8 points per game and proved to be a very capable outside shooter. Once the 6-5 sophomore is ready to attack the basket more often, he will be a great scorer. Giger did not play too much as a freshman last year, but he is a decent shooter and should provide a spark off of the bench once again. Max Kenyi is not much of a scorer, but he is an upperclassman who plays great defense. While the talented group of sophomores may keep him out of the starting lineup, Kenyi will provide Harvard with plenty of talented depth.

 

Frontcourt:

The frontcourt has a few more issues than the backcourt. But what they do have returning is the conference’s freshman of the year in Kyle Casey. Casey only started ten games, but he was second on the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game and led the team in rebounding. Casey should be ready to step into a full time starting position as long as he can keep his foul issues under control. The 6-7 forward can stretch out the defense with his shooting ability and he picks up a lot of extra points with his solid free-throw shooting. Expecting some improvement between his freshman and sophomore campaign is not asking too much and Casey should put up some really good numbers. Keith Wright is the likely starter beside Casey in the frontcourt. Wright has struggled with injuries during his two seasons with Harvard, but he has been very productive on both ends of the floor when healthy.

 

Who to Watch:

Curry may not have too much pressure on him since McNally can run the point if necessary, but Curry’s development could put the Crimson over the top. Curry only started ten games as a freshman, but he averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals. Curry was shooting the ball very well last season and connected on 43.1 percent of his attempts from long range. Harvard does not need to turn into a team that shoots a lot of long balls, but Curry can make the opposition pay if they play loose defense.

 

Final Projection:

Harvard beat everybody they were supposed to be last year, going 10-0 against teams that finished below them in the standings. However, they got swept by both Princeton and Cornell. Coach Amaker has to get his young team mentally prepared to take on the big name teams in the conference or this a squad that could disappoint and let a less talented, but more experienced team take home the Ivy League title.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Brandyn Curry, Sophomore, Guard, 7.3 ppg

Oliver McNally, Junior, Guard, 7.0 ppg

Christian Webster, Sophomore, Guard, 8.8 ppg

Kyle Casey, Sophomore, Forward, 10.4 ppg

Keith Wright, Junior, Forward, 8.9 ppg

 

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