Thursday, March 15, 2012
Hoops future is bright for Harvard
By Jack McCluskey
While the Crimson’s season ended in disappointment with a 79-70 loss to No. 5 seed Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the future remains bright in Cambridge.
Harvard co-captain Oliver McNally, left, is graduating, but Laurent Rivard, who scored 20 points (6-of-7 on 3s) against Vanderbilt, is only a sophomore.
Tommy Amaker loses only three seniors off the school’s first NCAA tourney team since 1946, albeit two of them starters and key contributors. Oliver McNally and Keith Wright, who’ve served as co-captains the past two seasons and played a huge role in putting the Crimson on the path they’re currently on, will be missed dearly.
But there’s a lot of talent remaining on the roster, and another highly regarded class incoming.
Kyle Casey, an all-Ivy first-teamer in 2011-12, and Brandyn Curry were juniors this season, and likely will be counted on to lead the team next season. Laurent Rivard was just a sophomore, and while his effectiveness tailed off after he became a starter midseason the Canadian native has showed great potential in his first two seasons.
In addition, Steve Moundou-Missi, Corbin Miller, Wesley Saunders and Jonah Travis all showed flashes as freshmen -- each being named Ivy Rookie of the Week at least once during the season. And while Corbin will leave the Crimson after this season to go on his Mormon mission, the other freshmen should improve with a year’s experience under their belts and an offseason of work on their games.
And Amaker has a four-player class committed for 2012-13, including one three-star prospect (Agunwa Okolie) and three two-star prospects (Mike Hall, Siyani Chambers and Evan Cummins). Four-star prospect Zena Edosomwan, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward from Harvard Westlake School in North Hollywood, Calif., is reportedly enrolling in prep school for a postgrad year to improve his grades and his game for Harvard.
He could come aboard in the Class of 2013.
So though the loss to the Commodores will sting for a while, all signs point toward Amaker & Co. making an extended run at the top of the Ivy League.
It’s unlikely that it will take another 66 years for Harvard to make it back to the Big Dance.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.