Tag: Harvard

Tommy Amaker

Sunday proves fruitful on the recruiting trail for Harvard

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On the heels of the most successful season in the history of the program, reaching the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season and upsetting New Mexico in the Round of 64, the Harvard Crimson are expected to build on that success in 2013-14. Point guard Siyani Chambers, shooting guard Laurent Rivard and forward Wesley Saunders are all back in Cambridge, as are veterans Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey after they had to sit out last season.

Add to those returnees a talented recruiting class and it’s clear that Tommy Amaker’s program is well-positioned to continue its run of success. Recruits have certainly noticed, with the Crimson landing verbal commitments on Sunday from 6-foot-5 shooting guard Andre Chatfield and 6-foot-9 power forward Chris Egi.

Both players made their decisions after taking official visits to Harvard this weekend, and they join 6-foot-6 wing Zach Yoshor in Harvard’s 2014 class with Sunday’s news.

Chatfield attends Norcross High School in Georgia, where he played on a team that won the Georgia Class 6A state title and finished the 2012-13 season with a 30-4 record. Egi, who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, is an four-star big man who made news in another regard Sunday: instead of remaining in the 2015 class he’s reclassified to 2014. With that news it’s difficult to blame any Harvard fans who are imagining Egi playing alongside Saunders and freshman Zena Edsomwan next season.

While Harvard will lose Casey, Curry and Rivard after the 2013-14 campaign, players such as Chambers, Edsomwan and Saunders will be back, as will forwards Steve Moundou-Missi, Kenyatta Smith and Jonah Travis.

Harvard releases 2013-14 schedule

Jonah Travis, Tommy Amaker
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In the most highly anticipated season in Harvard basketball history — in fact, perhaps in Ivy League history — where there is already speculation of the Crimson beginning the season ranked in the Top 25, all but winning the Ivy League, and even making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, the pressure is also at an all-time high for Tommy Amaker.

Now in his seventh season in Cambridge, Amaker has brought Harvard from the basement of the Ivy League to the top of college basketball. Whether you like it or not, Harvard will be a story for the entire season. A big part of that story obviously revolves around who they play. Earlier today, Harvard released their schedule.

It is a solid schedule as a whole with games against several good teams, but it is by no means a rigorous schedule. At first glance, there projects to only be one team ranked in the Top 25 to begin the season on it, and that is Connecticut — Colorado is on the slate as well, but they are a fringe Top 25 squad.

The preceding two teams highlight the schedule, but a home game with Boston College — a team that Harvard has beaten five straight years, if you can believe it — provides Harvard with an opportunity for a quality win as the Eagles will be much improved this year.

Where Harvard got unlucky was with the field in the Great Alaska Shootout — a tournament that has gone down in quality over the years. They play what will be a good Denver team in the opening round, but quality wins after that may be hard to come by after as the remaining six teams in the field are relatively weak, save for Indiana State (Alaska, Green Bay, Indiana State, Pepperdine, TCU, and Tulsa).

Amaker spewed nothing but coach-speak commenting on the schedule:

We are excited about the schedule we have put together for this coming year. Our non-conference schedule will provide us with many opportunities to improve as a team before beginning another competitive Ivy League campaign. We look forward to getting the season underway.

A team’s resume is everything come NCAA Tournament time, and Harvard will need schools like Denver, Vermont, and Boston University to be Top 100 RPI teams at season’s end to help bolster their resume. Wins over teams outside the Top 100 won’t exactly impress the NCAA Selection Committee.

Brandyn Curry ready to return to Harvard

Brandyn Curry
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Harvard point guard Brandyn Curry went through a roller coaster season as a junior.

He helped the Crimson reach its first-ever NCAA tournament. The high of that accomplishment was matched months later by the low of being caught in the middle — along with teammate Kyle Casey — in a cheating scandal. The scandal, which included 125 students, resulted in Curry and Casey being removed from campus for an entire year, watching Harvard get back to the NCAA tournament without them, and even advancing in a second round  upset over New Mexico.

In early September, Curry and Casey withdrew from the university, a move that would save their final year of eligibility. Now, with classes soon to begin, Curry is ready to return to Cambridge, Mass.

A profile, written by Jacob Feldman of the Charlotte News & Observer, which chronicles Curry’s basketball career from the rise at Hopewell High (N.C.) to a year as a life insurance salesman watching Harvard on TV, all the way to last Tuesday when he received in an email allowing him to re-enroll in Harvard.

The year removed gave Curry time to reflect and grow as a person, while he admits to struggling as a salesman and finding it difficult to watch Crimson games instead of starting in them.

Curry and Casey — who spent his year away with the 3PointFoundation — are rejoining a team that would have been the favorite to win the Ivy League without them. Tommy Amaker returns leading scorer Wesley Saunders, Curry’s successor Siyani Chambers as well as shooter Laurent Rivard and four-star power forward Zena Edosomwan.

From Feldman’s piece, Curry is eager to suit up for Harvard this fall. The former Harvard co-captains earned their way back to school and the team, and through real-world experiences over the last calendar year, could be leading to Harvard to an even more successful campagin than the one they were apart of in 2011-2012.