An Open Letter to the Team
JOHN B. TRAINER Trains of Thoughts
The Harvard men's basketball team hasn't been happy with the things I've written about it this year.
No, I haven't covered the team with glory. But let me make one thing clear:
This is a good team, nowhere near as bad as its record would indicate. It plays with heart and busts its butt every minute on the floor.
When Mike Minor says the team practices as hard as any team in the nation, he's speaks the truth. And you can see the results.
In the rebounding, for instance.
And on defense, where the team has played especially well.
Efforts like Tyler Rullman's, holding Pennsylvania star guard Jerome Allen scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting and Ron Mitchell's forcing probable NAC Player of the Year and NBA prospect Hartford center Vinnie Baker into scoring all his points from the perimeter are becoming a norm.
Mitchell hustles harder than anyone. In close games and in blowouts, he is involved with every play. He makes things happen. He dives for the loose ball. He'll kill someone for a key rebound.
Jared Leake and Eric Carter have grown by leaps and bounds. Leake, who often faces point guards quicker than he, has adjusted and learned to hound his man into making mistakes. Carter has added finesse to his game and become a major threat off the bench.
Minor is the perfect example of what is right with the Crimson. While he does not have the most talent on the squad, he hustled and worked his way into the starting role. He is not content to sit. If he was, he wouldn't start.
That's the Crimson way: heart, effort and desire.
It has been the combination of bad luck and difficult circumstances that has hurt this team.
Losing the starting point guard because his grades weren't good enough.
Losing the starting off-guard to a freak knee injury.
Most important has been the problem of adjusting to the radical changes Sullivan has made in the Crimson's style of play.
That said, let's also get one thing clear. The team has no right to take its frustrations out on the media.
After last night's game, Mitchell wouldn't say a word to The Crimson. "No comment," he growled.
Mitchell seems to think we shouldn't write that his team isn't playing well.
Sorry, Ron, there are only so many ways to say 2-14.
Mitchell is wrong on another account: he takes our stories personally. He seems to think we are directing our criticism at individual players, when, in fact, we've been focusing primarily on the team as whole.
The players have shined, but the team has not. Not talking to the media isn't going to help. Playing well as a team is...