Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Saunders wins Ivy POY; six Crimson All-Ivy
By Jack McCluskey
The player Harvard coach Tommy Amaker has repeatedly called the Crimson's best is now officially the Ivy League's best, as on Wednesday the league named Wesley Saunders the 2013-14 Ivy League Player of the Year.
Saunders, a unanimous pick for the All-Ivy first team for the second straight season, is the third Crimson player to earn Ivy player of the year honors after Keith Wright in 2011 and Joe Carrabino in 1984.
Ivy League player of the year Wesley Saunders' season isn't over yet, as Harvard awaits its NCAA tournament seeding.
The Crimson, who matched a program record with 26 total wins and set records with 13 Ivy wins and a 7-0 Ivy road record, landed six players on All-Ivy squads -- tied for most all time, with the 1994-1995 Penn team -- with Siyani Chambers, Steve Moundou-Missi and Laurent Rivard voted to the All-Ivy second team and Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry receiving honorable mentions.
A Los Angeles native, Saunders filled up the box score as a junior, averaging 14.0 points (8th in Ivy), 4.7 rebounds (17th), 3.9 assists (third), 1.7 steals (first). He finished in the top 10 in the league in field goal percentage (46.6), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), blocked shots (0.8) and minutes per game (33.7).
Saunders was often asked to both guard the opposing team's best player and lead the Crimson in scoring, which he did 10 times.
Chambers, the Ivy Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, earns a second consecutive All-Ivy honor after averaging 11.1 points and 4.7 assists (second in the Ivy) on the Ancient Eight's most potent offense (73.6 points per game).
After receiving an honorable mention last season, Moundou-Missi and Rivard each earned their first All-Ivy second-team spot.
Moundou-Missi, a native of Yaounde, Cameroon, was named the Ivy's player of the week for his performances in the Crimson's season-ending weekend sweep, averaging 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins at Yale and Brown. He finished the season averaging a career-high 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Rivard, the Crimson's all-time leader in made 3-pointers (282), averaged 10.0 points and shot a career-high 42.6 percent on 3s.
And after sitting out the 2012-13 season after being implicated in a university-wide academic cheating scandal, Casey led the team in blocked shots (1.2, fourth in Ivy) and Curry matched his career high with 9.3 points per game.
The Crimson clinched the Ivy title outright with their win over Yale, their third straight outright and fourth straight overall, and will wait 'til Sunday to find out who they will play in the NCAA tournament.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.