The Ivy League performed the last rites for the '78-'79 basketball season this week when it released the All-Ivy Team selections. The post-mortem held a few surprises, as well as plenty of disappointments.
The single most important factor in making all-conference appears to be playing for a winning team. Penn, undisputably the class of the league, placed three men on the squads (Tony Price and Matt White on the first team, James Salters on the second team), as did second-place finisher Columbia (Alton Byrd on the first squad, Juan Mitchell and Ricky Free on the second).
The most glaring irregularity in the Ivy selections must be the absence of the league's top scorer and second leading carom-grabber, Cornell's Mike Davis. The 6-4 forward placed on last year's All-Ivy second team and is the only-one of the top five scorers not to receive a distinction. The fact that he accumulated these impressive totals while playing on the worst team in the Ivies, does not justify relegating him to the honorable mention category.
The coaches' selections of Price and Byrd for the first team were unanimous and rightfully so. Price, who also garnered Player of the Year honors, has plagued opposing defenses for three years, averaging at least eight rebounds per game and scoring in double figures. This year, his point production rose to 19.1, second only to Davis, who averaged 19.8.
Byrd, too, was an obvious choice. He led the league in assists while also putting points on the scoreboard. While not really a bonafide All-American prospect as Lions boosters claim, Byrd is certainly the best guard the Ivies has to offer.
The presence of Dartmouth's Larry Lawrence and Matt White from Penn on the first team are the big surprises. At the fourth leading scorer and the number five rebounder in the Ivy league, Lawrence had all the stats to legitimately join the elite five. However, Princeton's team leader, senior Bob Roma deserved promotion to first team status after two years on the second team. This team, he fell just one vote short.
No Harvard cagers broke into the Ivy selections although Glenn Fine was a mere point away. In fact, Fine, undoubtedly one of the top four guards in the league, was displaced due to the election of Peter Moss of Brown in one of the guard positions, despite being listed as a forward throughout the season. The Crimson's freshman scorer. Don Fleming gained an honorable mention although Yale's Tim Daaleman copped Rookie of the Year laurels. Winnemuca Wiz" Bob Hooft also earned honorable mention.
In the future, the elevation of a Harvard hoopster, perhaps Fleming, to the first or second All-Ivy team will be no surprise.