2008-09 Team Capsules
The Bears' offense will look a good deal different this season, and that's not just because they have a new coach. The graduation of Damon Huffman
and Mark McAndrew
means Brown will be without two players who took a combined 338 3s last season and made them at a 43.8 percent clip. The rest of the team took a total of 218. The good news starts with the return of jack-of-all-trades senior forward Chris Skrelja
(8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 4.1 apg). Sophomores Peter Sullivan
and Adrian Williams
(son of former Super Bowl-winning QB Doug Williams
) should see a lot more minutes this year after playing complementary roles as freshmen.
The Lions were one of the Ivy teams most hurt by graduation, as first-team All-Ivy forward John Baumann
departed, along with physical center Ben Nwachukwu
(now at Harvard Medical School) and guard Mack Montgomery
. The exits leave this feeling like a transitional year in Morningside Heights. The best news for the Lions is that they should get point guard Patrick Foley
back into the mix. He played only nine games last season, and Columbia sorely missed his on-ball leadership. With Baumann's 16.1 points a game to replace, more pressure will fall on guards like Niko Scott
and K.J. Matsui
. Head coach Joe Jones is encouraged by his incoming freshman class, but it will take some time before they are collectively ready to make an impact.
The Big Red's only significant loss is forward Jason Hartford
. While the competent Alex Tyler
and others will step into the void, a team that already struggled at times on the glass may miss the physical Hartford's presence inside. On the perimeter, look for more of the same as Ryan Wittman
, Adam Gore
and Louis Dale
make up a sweet-shooting perimeter. Last season, the Big Red finished in the nation's top 10 in both 3-point shooting (40.2 percent) and free-throw shooting (76.1 percent). Fun question to ponder: Depending on how Indiana's walk-on-laden roster pans out, could Cornell actually be favored
in Bloomington this fall?
Athletic wing Alex Barnett
is back for his senior season, but he won't have classmate DeVon Mosley
running the point after Mosley left the program in the offseason. That could be a problem because many of the Big Green returnees were already high-turnover guys, and now they'll have an inexperienced lead guard running the offense.
The Crimson have a wealth of returning talent from a team that beat Michigan, head coach Tommy Amaker's former program, last season. The headliners are guards Drew Housman
and Jeremy Lin
and forward Evan Harris
. This is going to be an upperclassman-oriented team in what is going to be a young league, so the Crimson could be much better defensively this season. They'll have to be if they want to compete for upper-division status. Freshman wing Max Kenyi
is the best of a promising recruiting class that should add quality depth and a platform for growth for 2009-10 and beyond.
The Quakers' only real loss is do-it-all wing Brian Grandieri
, but an influx of perimeter talent should boost Penn's offensive firepower while helping fix what was a leaky team defense last season. Even if David Whitehurst doesn't come back, a rotation of freshman point guard Zach Rosen
, junior 2-guard Darren Smith
, sophomore wing Tyler Bernardini
and sophomore combo guard Harrison Gaines
is a good match for Cornell's dynamic trio. Penn's chances to contend likely will depend on its frontcourt, where hard-working Jack Eggleston
and mercurial Andreas Schreiber
likely will be aided by freshman Mike Howlett
, who spent a second prep season last year after decommitting from Lehigh. Even with all the new faces, one thing seems nearly certain: The Quakers will need at least three games to get over the .500 mark. Why? Their season opener is at North Carolina.
The Tigers bring back their leading scorer from last season in center Zach Finley
(10.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg), along with Marcus Schroeder
in the backcourt, so there is talent returning. However, while second-year head coach Sydney Johnson's recruiting class has promise, poor recruiting efforts in Joe Scott's final couple of seasons at Old Nassau have left the roster devoid of quality depth. Princeton, which averaged just 57.7 points a game last season, needs to improve offensively.
The Bulldogs will have to overcome serious graduation hits, as guard Eric Flato
(11.9 ppg), twins Caleb
and Nick Holmes
and center Matt Kyle
are all gone. On the plus side, returnees Ross Morin
and Travis Pinick
are all-league types, and guard Alex Zampier
is back as well. For a team that plays as physically as the Bulldogs, they are a surprisingly poor offensive rebounding team. Last season, that was exacerbated by their turning the ball over on 22 percent of their possessions, making the offense inconsistent.