Columbia’s hopes of contending in the Ivy League took a hit back on October 24, when senior forward Alex Rosenberg suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot. The expectation at the time was that Rosenberg, who averaged 16.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season, would miss six to eight weeks with the goal being to be healthy for the start of conference play in early January.
That will not be the case however, as according to a report from the Columbia Spectator the first team All-Ivy League selection has decided to withdraw from school. With the Ivy League not allowing graduate students (you can redshirt), this move could be the first step towards Rosenberg ensuring that he plays a full senior season.
The key for Rosenberg, should that be the case, is to receive a waiver from the Ivy League that would grant him an extra season of eligibility.
Student-athletes can request a leave of absence to extend eligibility to a fifth calendar year, but need to meet with an academic advisor to demonstrate that such an action would be in line with academic and career goals, and is not the result of pressure from coaches or other athletics staff. The student-athlete would then need to get a waiver approved by the conference.
Even with a healthy Rosenberg, returnees such as Grant Mullins (11.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.4 apg), Corey Osetkowski (7.5, 3.9) and Luke Petrasek (5.3, 3.2) were expected to contribute more alongside guard Maodo Lo (14.7, 3.8, 2.1) as the Lions look to overtake Harvard atop the Ivy League.
Now that there’s no longer the possibility of Rosenberg returning in 2014-15, those players become even more important for Columbia.
Columbia is hoping to compete with Ivy League leaders Harvard and Yale this season, but the Lions will have to do so in the early portion of the season without all-Ivy senior forward Alex Rosenberg.
According to a report from the Columbia Spectator, the 6-foot-7 Rosenberg suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot during practice on Friday. The typical recovery time for such an injury is six-to-eight weeks. If Jones fracture sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant suffered the same injury this preseason.
Rosenberg was one of the best players in the Ivy League last year, averaging 16 points per game and garnering first-team all-Ivy honors.
“But these things happen,” he added. “And we’re going to adjust.”
Coming off of a 21-win season and a third-round appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, the Lions were expected to compete for the league title this year as they return Rosenberg and other double-figure scorers like point guard Maodo Lo and guard Grant Mullins.
But without Rosenberg in the fold for around two months, the Lions will face some tough decisions. Ivy League play doesn’t begin until January 7th for Columbia, but if Rosenberg is slow to recover, he could choose to redshirt for the full season. As the Spectator story notes, the Ivy League doesn’t allow medical redshirts, so Rosenberg has to weigh his options.
Columbia could also benefit from the loss of Rosenberg by giving minutes to more inexperienced players and hoping that one of them emerges into an impact player. Sophomore forwards Luke Petrasek, Jeff Coby and Chris McComber are most likely to earn more playing time in Rosenberg’s absence.
The favorite to win the Ivy League, as has been the case for the last three or four years, is Harvard. The Crimson are coming off of a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament in which they won a game (No. 3 seed New Mexico in 2013, No. 5 seed Cincinnati last year) and return the two best players from that team in Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders, both of whom have a strong argument to be named Preseason Player of the Year. The Crimson will also boast a deep and talented front court, headlined by Steve Moundou-Missi and Zena Edosomwan, but their perimeter depth will be a concern. An injury to either Chambers or Saunders would be a major blow.
Harvard went 13-1 in league play last season, with their one loss coming at home against Yale. The Elis have a chance to put together a truly special season, as junior big man Justin Sears, our Preseason Ivy Player of the Year, is flanked by a pair of all-league caliber guards in seniors Javier Duren and Armani Cotton. Yale is big and they are physical and they love to attack the glass at both ends of the floor, but until they find a way to shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter, the game plan to beat the Bulldogs is fairly straight forward.
There are some other good teams in the league, as the Ivy should once again be one of the toughest mid-major conferences in the country. Columbia is the sleeper, as the Lions bring back everyone from last year’s 8-6 campaign. Kyle Smith’s club controls tempo, is loaded with dangerous perimeter shooters, has a handful of big-and-slow-but-tough front court pieces and a pair of big-time scorers in Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg.
Princeton loses T.J. Bray, which would hurt anyone in the conference. They bring back some pieces up front and landed a terrific recruiting class, headlined by high-major prospects Amir Bell and Alec Brennan. Brown, Dartmouth and Penn should all fight for that fifth-place spot, while Cornell looks like it’s destined for the cellar once again despite getting Shonn Miller back.
PRESEASON IVY LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Justin Sears, Yale
Harvard is the most talented team in the Ivy, and while Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders are both deserving of consideration for Preseason Player of the Year, neither does as much for their team as Sears does for Yale. The Elis are built around their ability to attack the glass and control the paint, and Sears (16.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is the reason why they’re able to do that. A physical, 6-foot-8 forward, he rebounds, blocks shots and can step out and beat a defender on the perimeter. The rising junior will be the focus of every opponent’s game-plan again this season.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-IVY TEAM:
Siyani Chambers, Harvard: There have been very few Ivy League point guards that are capable of doing what Chambers (11.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) has done in his first two seasons. His influence goes well beyond his stat line.
Wes Saunders, Harvard: A 6-foot-5 wing, Saunders is the leading scorer (14.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg) and most talented player on the best team in the conference.
Shonn Miller, Cornell: Miller missed the 2013-2014 season, one in which the Big Red went 2-26. But he’s a beast that will put up numbers (11.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 spg, 1.9 bpg in ’12-’13).
Alex Rosenberg, Columbia: A 6-foot-7 forward, Rosenberg is the leading scorer (16.0 ppg, 43.2% 3PT) for a Columbia team that has an outside chance of winning the league.