The only problem for Crimson coach Frank Sullivan is that the unit with that experience will be the vast throng that treks across the river every game in support of junior captain Jason Norman, not the teammates with whom he’ll share the court.
That entourage in the stands will likely be applauding its favorite star as often as it turns to its media guides to figure out which former pine jockey or freshman has just entered the game to provide a spark to this team marked by young, unproven upstarts and ever so different from the one that took the court just a season ago.
“It’s the youngest team we’ve had around here in a long time—certainly the youngest team that I’ve had in 12 seasons,” Sullivan said.
Out With The Old…
Gone are Brady Merchant, Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Sam Winter and Brian Sigafoos of the class of ’03. Shooting guard Patrick Harvey left months before for academic reasons.
Just a brief glance at last season’s statistics gives a sense of the size of the several pairs of shoes that this year’s squad will need to fill.
“It’s a new group of people,” Sullivan said. “I think we were defined by some of the guys on last year’s team, be it Elliott or Brady or whatever it was. It’s going to be an interesting situation to see how it all emerges.”
Harvard’s top scorers last season? The senior fivesome.
The Crimson players who spent the most time on the court? The same group, even though Harvey missed the final eight games of the season completely.
The guys who pulled the most rebounds down off the glass? Winter, Sigafoos, Merchant and Prasse-Freeman constituted the top four.
Team leaders in assists and steals? Prasse-Freeman, Merchant, Harvey and Winter again topped the squad.
The list goes on and on, right down to free-throws attempted.
The quintet led the way every single game until Harvey bowed out. From that unit came the top scorer and rebounder in all but two games last season. Sophomore Brian Cusworth cleaned the glass better than anyone else on a pair of occasions.
But the contributions of the seniors can’t even be remotely appreciated by just looking at statistics.
To get a sense of what is gone, one need look only so far as the energy and perseverance that carried Harvard through the final eight games of last season without Harvey, its leading scorer and a player who defined the team’s seniors and bound them together.