Tag Archive: Basketball

  1. MEN’S BASKETBALL: After season in Bulgaria, Blake Reynolds ’19 signs with Poland’s Zielona Góra

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    Blake Reynolds ’19, former Yale men’s basketball captain, was putting up big numbers in Bulgaria earlier this year when COVID-19 cut his rookie season short.

    Few Yale graduates take their first job in eastern Europe, but Reynolds thrived in his role, leading Chernomorets Burgas in its first season in Bulgaria’s top division, the National Basketball League. By the time he took a flight back home to the United States in early March, Reynolds ranked third in the league with 17.5 points a game and was averaging 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists for Chernomorets, which never got the chance to complete the final third of its canceled season. 

    Now, nearly five months after his last start in Bulgaria, Reynolds is set to return to Europe. Earlier this week, he inked a one-year deal with the reigning champions of Poland’s first division, Stelmet Enea BC Zielona Góra. Sportando, a European publication that covers basketball, first reported the signing on Tuesday.

    “Going into last season, I didn’t know what to expect,” Reynolds said. “After I was over there and was able to get a feel for everything, I felt like I could play at a higher level … It was midway through the season when I kind of started feeling like I can move up and continue to play for better competition and bigger clubs in Europe.”

    Reynolds said teams from leagues in Spain, France and Germany reached out to his agent, Charly Mandic, after seeing film from his first professional season. Former Yale assistant coach Tobe Carberry, who enjoyed his own successful career in Europe after graduating from the University of Vermont, was originally the one who helped connect Reynolds with his agent, the forward said.

    But Zielona Góra, which finished first in the Polish Basketball League five times in the last decade, stood out to Reynolds. The club’s head coach Žan Tabak, who also leads the Slovakia national team, played eight seasons in the NBA — and though he was never a star center in America, he began coaching after rounding out his playing career in Europe. Tabak served as an assistant at Real Madrid, one of the most dominant teams in Europe, before earning head coaching gigs in Spain, Israel, Italy and now Poland.

    With training set to begin at the end of August, Reynolds said he plans to fly to Poland early next week. Although he has not yet spoken with coach Tabak and his new teammates, the 6-foot-7 forward — whose height is advertised as 201 centimeters in European basketball circles — has shared calls with the club’s general manager and media relations director.

    For Reynolds, a return to Europe caps a year of significant change brought on by his first professional contract in Bulgaria and the coronavirus in America. A family move this summer from his hometown of Jackson, Missouri to Florida, where he participated in a Wednesday phone interview with the News, only added to the constant adjustment.

    “[Moving to Bulgaria] was a big, big lifestyle change,” Reynolds said. “I’d been to a lot of western European countries in the past, but never explored eastern Europe and the differences in lifestyle, in food and just overall culture … You miss your family a lot for sure, it gets lonely at times, you’re kind of questioning like, ‘Man, I’m in Bulgaria. What am I doing?’ But the game is amazing. I love it. I never regret being over there just because I get to wake up and play basketball every day and that’s my job. It doesn’t really get much better than that.”

    International basketball also presented differences. European teams play four quarters of 10 minutes each, which sums to the two 20-minute halves men’s college basketball teams play. But unlike the NCAA, Reynolds said his Bulgarian league lacked media timeouts, which required significant conditioning for a player who led his team with 33.7 minutes per game. Reynolds sometimes played eight or nine straight minutes without a break from the floor if neither coach called any timeouts.

    Zielona Góra welcomed Reynolds to the team earlier this week. (Photo: Courtesy of Blake Reynolds ’19)

    Professional basketball required serious commitment from Reynolds. At Yale he and other student-athletes balanced a significant amount of practice and competition with coursework and other campus activities, but his experience in Bulgaria was completely basketball-centric. He said his Bulgarian teammates “gave their whole lives” to basketball, and he appreciated being able to learn in that environment. His club often practiced twice in one day. He would wake up and leave his apartment for a morning practice, return home in the middle of the day for a nap and then head back to the gym.

    “There’s really not time for anything but that,” Reynolds said. “You eat, sleep and breathe it.”

    Zielona Góra promises a new adventure, though the focus remains on basketball. The club handles the flight to the city next week and will also set him up with a car and apartment, Reynolds said. Reaching the Polish city of about 140,000 residents requires a five-hour drive from the capital in Warsaw, but the city sits closer to the German border. Berlin and Dresden are about two and a half hours away by car. 

    Fellow Yale alumni in the midst of their own basketball careers also surround Reynolds on the continent. Justin Sears ’16 has played the past four seasons in the German Basketball Bundesliga (but parted with EWE Baskets Oldenburg last weekend), Brandon Sherrod ’16 has spent three years in Italy and Makai Mason ’18, who spent his rookie season with Alba Berlin in Germany, will play next year with Manresa in Spain’s top division. Yale’s all-time blocks leader Greg Mangano ’12 has also played overseas for eight years, landing with teams in Turkey, Spain, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Ukraine and Japan.

    Reynolds said he talked a lot last summer with the group of Mason, Sears and Sherrod as he was preparing to launch his European career, seeking advice on everything from how European teams operate to handling life with no family or friends in a foreign city. All four played on the 2015–16 Yale team that captured the program’s first NCAA Tournament win over Baylor. Mason went on to captain the Bulldogs during the 2017–18 season, and Reynolds succeeded him in the role. By the end of his career with the Blue and White, Reynolds had made 86 starts and scored 970 points.

    Reynolds walks off the court after the final game of his Yale career against LSU in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. (Photo: Joey Kamm)

    “Blake was definitely a guy that led by example rather than being super vocal all the time, and I think that’s a super important aspect that can be kind of forgotten by people in general when they’re thinking about leadership,” former captain Eric Monroe ’20 said last October as his senior season began. “If you’re a guy that shows up every day when you’re supposed to, gets extra work in, work as hard as you can on a daily basis, that will rub off on others … Blake was great with just being super professional about everything.” 

    In an official release, Zielona Góra announced that Reynolds will wear number 32, the same number he sported at Yale.

    William McCormack | william.mccormack@yale.edu

  2. MEN’S BASKETBALL: Yale assistant Tobe Carberry accepting position on Columbia staff

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    Yale men’s basketball assistant coach Tobe Carberry is leaving the Bulldogs to accept a position at Columbia, Yale head coach James Jones told the News. 

    Carberry, who arrived at Yale before the 2017–18 season, will join the Lions’ men’s basketball program as a full-time assistant, Jones said. In Carberry’s three seasons at Yale, the Bulldogs captured two Ivy League championships, going 30–12 against their Ancient Eight competition. Carberry did not comment for this story.

    “He added a tremendous amount to our program and our student-athletes, giving another view point,” Jones said of Carberry’s contributions to the Elis. “He played professionally in the G-League, he played professionally overseas, so for instance, he’s helped out guys a lot with getting contracts and agents after they graduate … he’s done a great job with us and really sad to see him go, but it’s the right thing for him.”

    At Yale, Carberry served as the Bulldogs’ third assistant, a position that Jones said is technically volunteer for every team in the Ivy League. Carberry was instead paid through the program’s summer camp, Jones added, and worked primarily with perimeter players, especially taking charge of improving the Bulldogs’ ball handling.

    In Carberry’s three seasons at Yale, the Bulldogs captured two Ivy League championships, going 30–12 against their Ancient Eight competition. (Photo: William McCormack)

    Carberry’s addition fills one of two spots that opened up on Columbia head coach Jim Engles’ staff this spring. Former Columbia assistant Jared Czech joined the Air Force coaching staff, while associate head coach Marlon Sears earned the head coaching job at Amherst College last month.

    Columbia’s Associate Director for Athletic Communications Mike Kowalsky said Engles could not comment until an official announcement has been made.

    The outgoing Yale assistant grew up in the New Haven area and attended Hillhouse High School before moving on to a successful career at the University of Vermont. He is the founder and director of Haven4Hoops, a basketball clinic for young players between the ages of 8 and 12.

    As a college senior during the 1999–2000 season, Carberry captained the Catamounts and visited the John J. Lee Amphitheater to play Yale in a November nonconference matchup. The Bulldogs won 72–69, giving Jones his very first of more than 300 wins as the Yale head coach and an early glimpse at his future assistant. Carberry, meanwhile, rounded out his collegiate career with 1,235 total points, a mark that ranks 21st in the program record books, and UVM’s honor for Most Valuable Player, the John C. Evans Award.

    Carberry attended Hillhouse High School before moving on to a successful career at the University of Vermont. (Photo: Ryan Chiao)

    After graduating, Carberry played five years of professional basketball in the NBA Development League — now G-League — and Europe. Jones said Carberry’s experience in Europe helped Blake Reynolds ’19 secure a contract in Bulgaria this past season, where Reynolds averaged just over 17 points a game for the Chernomorets Burgas.

    Jones has never previously lost an assistant coach to an Ivy League opponent, but he and the Bulldogs have occasionally competed against former colleagues. In 2014, Yale played Kent State and its head coach Rob Senderoff, who was an assistant for Yale during Jones’ first two seasons at the helm. “Once the game starts, you don’t even think about it,” Jones said.

    “We’re gonna root for Columbia every game but two next year,” Yale assistant Justin Simon ’04 said, adding that the program will miss Carberry.

    Carberry’s departure leaves Jones with two vacancies to fill heading into the 2020–21 school year. Former Director of Basketball Operations Rey Crossman, who is pursuing a basketball-related opportunity outside of college athletics, announced his departure from the Bulldogs in June.

    Carberry joins coaches in a huddle during Ivy Madness in 2019. (Photo: William McCormack)

    A University-wide hiring freeze through June 2021 complicates the search process for both positions.

    “Losing two guys is never easy,” Jones said last month. “The only jobs that are going to be hired are essential jobs, and if these jobs aren’t perceived essential, you can’t hire anybody for pay but you may be able to hire people for volunteers … It’s all well and good until you have to eat. It’s hard to find that.”

    As an assistant coach before his stint at Yale, Carberry worked with the men’s basketball programs at LIU Brooklyn, Central Connecticut, the University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State.

    William McCormack | william.mccormack@yale.edu

  3. A Sporting Chance

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    On the evening of March 14 at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Palestra arena, the Harvard and Yale men’s basketball teams were tied at 51 in a game that would send the winner to the NCAA tournament. Then, with seven seconds left, Harvard forward Steve Mondou-Missi hit a 15-foot jumper left to pull ahead of Yale by two points.

    Yale got the ball back in time for Javier Duren ’15 to make one final drive to the net, but he missed a layup as time expired, and Yale failed to advance to tournament play, just as they had for the past 52 years.

    Ansh Bhagat ’18, who doesn’t play a varsity sport, caught up on the highlights after the game.

    “I think I just forgot about it, to be honest,” he said. “I might have been asleep.”

    Many Yale students might have had a similar experience: of 155 students who responded to a News survey, 70 percent knew the game’s significance, but only 43 percent reported that they watched it. But Bhagat and others’ relative ambivalence would have seemed out of place on campus 50 years ago.

    History professor Jay Gitlin ’71, who teaches the course “Yale and America,” recalls the sense of dejection that gripped campus in the days following Yale’s infamous 29–29 “loss” to Harvard in 1968. In the last 42 seconds of the game, Harvard scored 16 points, tying the game against a heavily favored Yale squad.

    “We were in a foul mood,” he remembers. “These things affected the mood of the campus. When it was a Yale victory, everybody was happy.”

    But Gitlin also remembers that the Yale team won a lot more than they do now.

    UConn, for example, posed no problem. “We assumed that we’d win more than we’d lose, and the teams that we thought we might lose to were more often than not, Dartmouth or Harvard.”

    But even with the football team going 8–2 this season, attendance at their games paled in comparison to the sold-out games of Gitlin’s day. This part of Yale’s culture, it seems, has been lost to history.

    Some, though, are not content to let sports slip from the campus consciousness. Ralph Molina ’16 is the president of the Whaling Crew, an organization dedicated to supporting Yale’s sports teams.

    “I think the Whaling Crew’s job isn’t done until every single sporting game is sold out,” he says. “We’ll probably never get there, but that’s the goal.”

    * * *

    In 1914, construction crews finished work on the largest amphitheater built since the Roman Coliseum: the Yale Bowl.

    Costing the University $17.7 million, the imposing concrete stadium reflected the athletic dominance of a football team representing a school that had helped invent the sport. But the administration’s efforts came too late: By the time the Bowl was completed, the Bulldogs had already won 26 out of their 27 total national championships.

    The 80,000-seat behemoth would never again see the kind of national spotlight it once enjoyed. Since then, attendance has fallen, and renovations to the stadium have reduced its capacity to just over 60,000

    Still, attendance didn’t suddenly fall off once Yale stopped winning national titles. According to Joel Alderman ’51, “It was a gradual process.” Alderman, a retired lawyer who now writes about Yale athletics for SportzEdge.com, said Yale was still a top team in his day, and the noticeable decline in attendance came in the late 1980s through the 1990s.

    Prior to that, though, sports — and football in particular — remained an important part of campus life. Gitlin emphasized the greater importance that football had in the University’s social culture when he was a student.

    “Football was part of the social calendar,” he said. “You went to football games. We dated a lot, and dating often included going to the football game and then to a dance.”

    Since then, though, student interest in sports has declined markedly.

    Last fall, the Bulldogs celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl with a rare contest against Army. In an extravagant pre-game spectacle, the game ball was delivered by a cadet parachuting out of a helicopter and landing at midfield. That day, the Bulldogs managed an unlikely victory over a highly competitive team.

    But the Bulldogs’ rousing win came in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. Pat O’Neill, associate director of marketing for Yale athletics, estimates that there were around 1,000 fans in attendance, a figure dwarfed by the crowds of 50 and 60 thousand that Yale games drew during the mid-20th century.

    And the Army game offers only one example: 58 percent of survey respondents said they had been to three or fewer sporting events this year.

    Alderman thinks this dip in attendance is a symptom of something deeper.

    “Sports themselves don’t carry as much meaning to the students,” he said.

    * * *

    Yale students’ attitudes towards sports have been shaped by social and institutional factors. But according to athletes and administrators alike, the most important determinant in a team’s support remains its win-loss record.

    “In my experience being here at Yale, kids are pretty educated when it comes to our sports teams,” O’Neill said. “You can’t fool Yale students. Our teams need to win and they’ll come out.”

    But since their heyday early last century, Ivy League sports in general have ceded ground to other, larger institutions.

    In 1923, Harvard, Princeton and Yale signed the Three Presidents’ Agreement, affirming that all athletes would be admitted as students and would have to conform to the same academic standards expected of others. This restriction opened the door for schools like Michigan and Ohio State to surpass Yale in athletics by using scholarships to recruit top talent. In 1945, the other Ivies agreed not to offer athletic scholarships either, clearing the way for bigger schools with millions of dollars to spend on their athletic programs.

    An Ivy League policy prohibiting postseason play further isolated the league’s teams, preventing them from participating in much-publicized bowl games.

    “A lot of the time academia and national [athletics] don’t really work well together,” said Molina.

    But some say that certain aspects of Yale itself keep athletics from flourishing on campus. Many remarked on the distance from campus to athletic facilities like the Yale Bowl, Yale Field and Coxe Cage.

    Although Caroline Lynch ’17, a member of the women’s tennis team and secretary of the Yale Student-Athlete College Council, said sporting events at Yale are generally well attended. She added that those taking place at the Smilow Field House, as opposed to in Ingalls Rink or Payne Whitney Gymnasium, tend to attract fewer viewers because of the distance from campus.

    Ree Ree Li ’16, also on the women’s tennis team, reiterated that sentiment.

    “We always have good showings for sports that are in the gym because it’s so close,” Li said. “The biggest challenge is getting people to come out for the games that are at the fields.”

    Jackson Stallings ’17, a member of the football team and the president of YSACC, said he would like to see an investment in the Yale Bowl’s infrastructure. He thinks that making seating more comfortable or adding or a jumbotron, like Cornell or Harvard have, would encourage more students to attend football games.

    O’Neill said budget constraints left no room for investment in the Bowl’s infrastructure right now. But Li said there are non-financial measures that Yale can take to show more support for its athletes. She mentioned a policy in place at Princeton that ensures classes never take place while sports teams practice, meaning athletes could take whatever classes they want. Yale’s athletes, who must tailor their schedules to avoid conflicts, do not enjoy this luxury.

    Li said she didn’t receive full credit for a course last fall semester because she had to miss class to travel to California with her team.

    Those institutional features might also bleed over into Yale’s campus culture itself: Molina said one source of student disinterest might be administrative attitudes toward sports. Since Yale can’t give athletic scholarships, he said, many feel that sports aren’t important.

    But not everyone thinks that Yale’s campus culture doesn’t support sports.Lynch, for one, said the idea that Yalies don’t support their sports teams isn’t true. Some will know more about sports than others, she added, but that can be said of any aspect of Yale’s campus life.

    If people are divided as to how Yale students feel about sports, everyone agrees that a supportive campus is vital to thriving athletic programs. And key to that support is a sense of connection between athletes and non-athletes.

    “If we can create a culture where the students as well as student-athletes are all close, people will want to go out to support each other,” Li said. “I go to plays and dance shows because I have friends that are in them. If more people have friends who are athletes, they’d be more willing to go out to games.”

    But the distance that some Yalies feel between themselves and those representing them on the field became clear in a video released by the Harvard comedy group “On Harvard Time” before the Game last fall.

    In the video, disguised Harvard students interviewed Yalies about the state of Yale’s football program and asked them to sign a petition to defund it.

    Li and Molina said it disappointed them to see how easily the actors were able to convince Yale students to publicly endorse cutting funding for the football team.

    “We have funding issues already within athletics, and to see people wanting to take money from a program that hundreds of students are a part of, I was surprised by that,” Li said.

    * * *

    If such a petition ever passed, at least two names would certainly not be on it.

    In their first weeks as freshmen, Andrew Sobotka ’15 and Hal Libby ’15 noticed a lack of support for Yale’s sports teams. They decided to take matters into their own hands.

    “The first football game had decent attendance but the second one was absolutely abysmal,” Sobtoka said. “Hal and I were shocked that on this beautiful fall day, nobody was out at the Bowl cheering on the ‘Dogs.”

    In response, the pair founded the Whaling Crew, the organization of which Molina is now president. Starting out as a small group of friends, it now has over 1,300 likes on its Facebook page.

    This year alone, the Whaling Crew has organized student tailgates, ordered pizza for fans in the student sections at home games and arranged transportation so interested students can travel to away games.

    “Before the Whaling Crew existed, there was no group to get students to come out to athletics,” Molina said. “It was just the athletics office, or through the grapevine. It’s different when you’re hearing about it from students than when you’re hearing about it from the administration.

    O’Neill said the Whaling Crew’s efforts have had a tangible effect on sports attendance, enticing more students to come out to games, and the group now receives funding from the athletics office. “We value them immensely,” O’Neill says.

    The Whaling crew also appeared in August at a new event called Yale UP!, which Molina says added to their legitimacy and increased student interest in joining.

    Yale UP!, inaugurated this year during Camp Yale, consisted of presentations made by members of the athletics department to the incoming freshman class. Students were taught Yale’s historic cheers, and the event featured a relay race between residential colleges, among other competitions. Yale UP!, a conscious administrative effort to encourage support for Yale’s sports teams, was mandatory.

    * * *

    Despite the lackluster competitive spirit of the past few decades and the eight-year winless streak in the Game, Yale sports fans have reason to hold out hope.

    The Bulldogs have seen major successes in recent years that are leading to attention on a national scale: the men’s hockey team took home the NCAA title in 2013, Yale football star Tyler Varga ’15 is competing for NFL consideration and the men’s basketball team missed March Madness by a hair. And survey data suggests that campus support is on the rise: more than a third of respondents said they were more interested in Yale sports this year than last.

    “Sports are on the up at Yale,” said Molina. “My attitude about athletic attendance on campus is not necessarily proud, but it’s optimistic.”

  4. S.A.D.: Seasonally Affected David?

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    This is the second time I bought a pair of shoes and regretted it. The first time was in middle school. I showed up to the first day of basketball tryouts in a pair of beat-up blue Vans. Little did I know that Nike Air Force 1s and Jordans were the prerequisite to play ball. As a new seventh-grader — I had just moved back to the Bay Area and switched schools — I was psychologically and physically ill-prepared for that first day. I was the white boy who wasn’t “fitted” and had no “shoe game.” It didn’t help that I couldn’t shoot a free throw.

    Tired of being bullied for being uncool, I dragged my mom with me to buy my first pair of Jordans: red 14s. They were the most expensive shoes I had ever owned. Did they help ease the transition into my new school, dunk like Mike or make the friends I so craved? The short answer is no, so I gave up on fitting in. The next year, I made varsity like all of the eighth-graders. But more importantly, my classmates began to like me for the quirky, annoying kid that I couldn’t help being.

    When I arrived on campus this fall, I shopped around for my first pair of boots. As a transfer student from Southern California, the perils of the East Coast winter took on mythological proportions. People made it seem like frostbite was a natural occurrence. This time, I was convinced the boots were necessary. Yet when I received that thin, long, yellow slip for the package containing my Sorel boots, I already knew deep down that the East Coast winter wouldn’t live up to the hype I had fabricated. Even when I count my post-Nemo escapades, I wore my only pair of “East Coast shoes” a handful of times. My perception of how I would adjust to Yale was as skewed as my image of a New Haven winter.

    What my Sorel boots couldn’t have prepared me for was the shitty weather inside me. I can’t pinpoint when I started to feel depressed. It may have been when the temperature first dropped below San Diego’s average of 70, and I had to throw my sandals and shorts under my twin bed. More likely, it was seeing the leaves outside my window turn brown and then be ripped to shreds by the December winds that tipped off my consciousness. But it wasn’t the winter’s fault that I was feeling down and out. As much as I’d like to blame it on the weather, the roots of my melancholy lay elsewhere. I missed the life I left in San Diego (there were thoughts of sandy, warm beaches); some of my classes seemed dull, and many of my peers disengaged; I was lingering at the tail end of an unhealthy relationship. I put so much thought into preparing for the weather — buying boots, warm socks, thick padded jacket and let’s not forget the long underwear — as a coping mechanism for dealing with the emotional strain of transferring. I overestimated both the snow, and my ability to transition into Yale.

    The changing of the seasons wields an odd power over some, perhaps many, maybe even most of our campus. On the surface, there are the observable differences between fall and winter: the lack of people lounging on Cross Campus in tanks and salmon-colored shorts, the piles of snow strewn on the sides of York Street which make it difficult to jaywalk, and the vast emptiness of those competing frozen yogurt places.

    But the more important, and insidious, changes are happening internally and most often unseen. Many hibernate and find themselves unable or uninterested in getting out of bed. Mood lights flicker on, and antidepressants are prescribed. Comments like “the weather sucks” are uttered frequently, often in place of “I’m feeling crummy.”

    I complained about the weather too, but I was kidding myself. The snow and the cold were some of the least painful elements I braved this winter. While I feel a bit silly for buying boots better suited for the Alaskan tundra, there’s no shame in my game. You know what, I don’t regret buying those Jordans anymore, either! If I had to buy a pair of shoes for every formative experience, then I’d be content with a closet full of shoes I never wear. Luckily, I have all the shoes I need for this spring.

  5. M. BASKETBALL | Bulldogs earn first win of season

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    The men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday at the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Classic tournament in Evansville, Ind. where they overtook Buffalo in a 63–59 finish.

    The Bulldogs (1–3) built up an eight-point lead early in the second half, but the Bulls (1–4) found a way to tie it 55–55 with just 2.5 minutes left in regulation time. As the clock ran down, Buffalo switched to a zone defense and Yale guard Javier Duren ’15 drained a 3-pointer to retake the lead. The Bulls came within 61–59, but guard Austin Morgan ’13 sank two free throws with four seconds left to squash Buffalo’s hopes and secure the victory.

    Forward Justin Sears ’16 led the team with 19 points and Morgan added 16. On the defensive end, Yale held Buffalo to just 34.5 percent shooting from the field.

    Before returning home, the Bulldogs face Western Illinois on Sunday at 3 p.m.

  6. M. BASKETBALL | Harvard stars implicated in cheating scandal

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    Harvard’s chances to repeat as Ivy League champions this year hit a serious roadblock Tuesday, as two of the team’s best players were implicated in its recent cheating scandal.

    Co-captain Kyle Casey withdrew before Harvard’s Tuesday course registration deadline, Sports Illustrated reported early Tuesday morning. The magazine later reported that point guard and co-captain Brandyn Curry had also been implicated, but had not made a decision as to whether to withdraw. Casey’s departure alone is a serious blow to the team; the forward led the Crimson in scoring his junior year and would have been a top contender for Ivy League Player of the Year in 2012–13, according to the Harvard Crimson.

    The Crimson also reported that one other player with a lesser role on the team is also involved.

    The three players are involved in a cheating case involving the take-home exam from Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, which was taken by 279 students at Harvard last spring. The players have the choice to stay in school and challenge the case or withdraw and reapply to Harvard the following year.

    By withdrawing before the course registration deadline, Casey will maintain his fourth season of collegiate eligibility.

    Brandyn Curry’s father Herman Curry told SI.com that the younger Brandyn had not yet decided whether he would withdraw or remain in school while challenging the accusation.

    Casey led the balanced Crimson offense with 11.4 points per game last year. Curry was the teams leading assist man with 4.9 per contest. He also paced the team by averaging 1.6 steals per game, which was good for fifth in the Ivy League. He also led the Ancient Eight in assist-to-turnover ratio, registering 2.6 assists per giveaway.

    Without Casey and Curry, the Crimson would return to the court this year having lost four of their top five scorers from their Ivy League-championship team last year.

    Last year the Cantabs posted a 26-5 record on the way to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946.

  7. M. BASKETBALL | Harvard draws 12 seed in NCAA tourney

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    The Crimson will have to dust off its dancing shoes — this week, Harvard will be dancing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1946.

    Harvard (26-4, 12-2 Ivy) is the no. 12 seed in the East Region of the tournament bracket and will face the no. 5 seed Vanderbilt Commodores (24-10, 10-6 Southeastern Conference) in the second round.

    Both the Cantabs and the Commodores did not have to sweat out Selection Sunday waiting for an at-large bid to the tournament, as both teams received their conferences’ automatic bids. Vanderbilt ran the table in the SEC conference tournament to punch its ticket, toppling no. 1 Kentucky (32-2, 16-0 SEC) in the final 71-64 in New Orleans earlier today. Harvard earned the Ancient Eight bid by winning the school’s first outright Ivy League regular season crown.

    The Commodores will be looking to cut down the nets in New Orleans for a second time this season, but their road to the Final Four in April will have to go through a stingy Crimson defense that ranks fourth in Division I allowing only 54.8 points per game.

    If Harvard can survive against a Vanderbilt team that was ranked no. 7 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls in Albuquerque, then the Crimson will face the winner of the match-up between no. 4 seed and no. 13-ranked Wisconsin (24-9, 12-6 Big Ten) and no. 13 seed Montana (25-6, 15-1 Big Sky) on March 17.

    Two wins in the Big Dance and the Crimson would become the de facto home team, as Boston will host the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the tournament for the East region.

    On the ESPN program “Bracketology” that followed the release of the tournament bracket, the panel of experts discussed Harvard’s chances in the tournament.

    Former Duke baller and college basketball guru Jay Bilas asserted that the Crimson are a threat to Vanderbilt — particularly with their ability to slow the game down on defense — but he and the other panelists also focused on the game as a showdown of some of two of the premier institutes of higher learning.

    “At Vanderbilt they call Harvard the Vanderbilt of the northeast,” Bilas joked.

    The Crimson will tip off against the Commodores on March 15.

  8. M. BASKETBALL | Elis head to postseason tournament

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    Yale’s men’s basketball team has accepted an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), according to assistant director of sports publicity Tim Bennett.

    The Bulldogs are heading back to the postseason for the first time since the 2001-’02 season. That season, the Elis claimed their first postseason victory in school history by defeating Rutgers in the 2002 National Invitation Tournament (NIT), before falling to Tennessee Tech in the second round.

    Connecticut Six foe Fairfield University (19-14) stands between Yale and its second-ever postseason victory. A win would also secure the sixth 20-win season in the history of Yale basketball.

    The Stags enter the CIT after falling just short of an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament – losing to Loyola of Maryland (24-8) 48-44 in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

    The announcement that the Bulldogs will go dancing follows a string of good news for Yale basketball in the past few days. Center Greg Mangano ’12 was chosen as first-team All-Ivy for the second year in a row, and captain Reggie Willhite ’12 was honored as the Ivy League Defensive player of the year. Willhite was also selected as second-team All-Ivy.

    Mangano topped the league by averaging 9.7 rebounds per game on the year and blocking 64 shots. He also finished second to Penn guard Zack Rosen with 18.2 points per contest.

    Willhite paced the Ancient Eight with 63 steals on the way to a Yale single-season record. He also averaged 12.2 points and four assists per game.

    Although Willhite finished the regular season ranked 19th in the nation with 2.25 steals per game, head coach James Jones said that Willhite fills multiple roles for the Bulldogs.

    “I’m going to have to get [Willhite] a cape,” Jones said. “He does everything for us.”

    Although the Elis have not faced Fairfield in almost five years, Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson has battled the Bulldogs more recently. Johnson had coached the Princeton Tigers from 2007-2011.

    With Johnson at the helm, the Tigers went 5-3 against Yale. He also led Princeton to a 2011 Ivy League title.

    Tickets for Wednesday’s game will be on sale through the Fairfield athletic website at http://www.fairfieldstags.com/.

  9. M. BASKETBALL | Bulldogs drop last two to finish fourth

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    Entering this weekend just one game behind first-place Harvard, the Bulldogs had a chance to win the Ivy League title.

    After two disappointing losses, the Bulldogs will finish fourth.

    Yale (19–9, 9–5 Ivy) lost a close contest at Princeton (18–11, 9–4 Ivy) 64–57 Friday and then got run out of the Palestra 68–47 by Penn (19–11, 11–2 Ivy) Saturday.

    The Tigers came out roaring at home and ran out to a 23–8 lead, but the Bulldogs clawed back, cutting the deficit to nine at the half and then tying the game at 40 on forward Greg Mangano’s ’12 layup with 12:10 remaining.

    The Elis were never able to regain the lead, however, as Princeton responded with a 9–0 run. Forward Ian Hummer led the spree with four of his team-high 18 points.

    Yale would cut the lead to three twice within the final minute, but the Tigers hit all four of their free throws, and Hummer’s breakaway dunk off of a steal iced the game.

    The loss, combined with the Crimson’s 77–70 overtime victory at Columbia, obliterated Yale’s chances for even a share of the Ancient Eight crown.

    Although the Bulldogs still had a chance to finish second in the Ivy League with a win Saturday and a Penn loss at Princeton Tuesday, Quaker guard Zack Rosen squashed those hopes.

    Rosen started Penn’s scoring from way out in three-point land and never let up. He led all scorers with 20 on his final regular season home game.

    Down just 30–22 at the break, the Elis were ice-cold while the Quakers went on a 20-2 run to start the half. Penn led by as many as 29 points as it put itself in position to force a one-game playoff with Harvard for the Ivy League title with a win at Princeton on Tuesday.

    On Saturday, captain and forward Reggie Willhite ’12 was hampered by a hip-pointer injury suffered during Friday’s game, head coach James Jones said. Willhite was held to five points Saturday after scoring ten points Friday in addition to notching 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

    Mangano, leading the Elis’ scoring for the weekend, poured in 20 points at Princeton and ten at Penn.

    CORRECTION: March 13, 2012

    An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Yale’s men’s basketball team finished third in the Ivy League. The team finished fourth.

  10. M. BASKETBALL | Mangano ’12 to hit up Portsmouth

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    The future of center Greg Mangano ’12 and the Bulldogs’ season remains uncertain, but now Mangano knows that he will be able to suit up against top level collegiate talent at least one more time.

    Mangano has accepted an invitation to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va., from April 11-14.

    The tournament — now in its 60th year — allows college players hoping to pursue careers in professional basketball to show off their talents in front of scouts from all 30 National Basketball Association teams as well as from international leagues.

    It’s traditionally been rich in talent. Rich Barry, Dave Cowens, Earl Monroe, Scottie Pippen and John Stockton all competed in the tournament at one point. All five were selected by the NBA as part of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. Three players from last year’s tournament were selected in the 2011 NBA Draft. Tournament MVP Jimmy Butler from Marquette was the first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bulls, and in the second round, the Los Angeles Lakers picked up College of Charleston’s Andrew Goudelock, while Vernon Macklin of Florida was selected by the Detroit Pistons.

    Former Harvard guard and current New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin participated in the tournament in 2010.