Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker addressed the media at Massachusetts media day and proceeded to tell a story about a message he got from President Obama before the start of last year’s NCAA tournament.
“There was a message that we received from someone who did speak to him that he wanted us to know that he did not pick us in his pool,” Amaker said Tuesday. “He picked Vanderbilt, but he wanted us to know privately that he hoped that we were the team to bust his bracket.”
And as great as that soundbite is, it doesn’t change the fact that a return trip to the NCAA tournament took a major hit last month when two of the most important players on the Crimson — forward Kyle Casey and point guard Brandyn Curry — were reportedly suspended for the season for their involvement in an alleged cheating scandal in a Government class.
Amaker is not allowed to comment on the status of either of those two players, but a quick glance at Harvard’s roster — which doesn’t include either player — and Amaker’s statement that “we have who we have, and we are who we are” is a pretty clear indication that the Crimson will be without the two seniors.
What that means is Harvard will head into the year with a talented, but young and inexperienced, roster. Four starters in total, including the graduated Oliver McNally and Keith Wright, are gone. Christian Webster and Laurent Rivard, both veteran wings that have averaged double-figures during a season, return, as do a slew of promising big men. Sophomores Wesley Saunders, Kenyatta Smith and Steve Moundou-Missi are all promising, as are a couple of the newcomers, but none of them are proven quantities, even at the Ivy League level.
Perhaps most troubling is the fact that the only point guard on the roster is freshman Siyani Chambers. Chambers had high-major interest coming out of high school, but when your only options at the point are a freshman or someone that isn’t a point guard, it’s not a good sign.
Harvard will still be very competitive in the Ivy and has enough horses to win the league, but they won’t have near the kind of season that they were expected to.