When Harvard opens its 2005-06 season against Vermont on Nov. 19, sophomore Tyler Klunick won’t be found at point guard.
Klunick tore an ankle ligament in May. An injury to his hand kept him sidelined for much of last season, but the decision to sit out next season was what assistant coach Bill Holden called a “personal choice,” rather than the product of an injury.
“He was injured, and yeah, he’s just decided to pursue other things,” Holden said.
Klunick is no longer listed on the Crimson’s roster. The athletics department had Klunick “pegged as the Crimson’s point guard of the future,” a “promising freshman who will get a long look right away at the point guard spot.” In his freshman year, he scored 10 points in 14 games, playing a total of 63 minutes.
Harvard has little depth at guard, with the graduation of starters David Giovacchini, Kevin Rogus, and Jason Norman. Senior Michael Beal and junior Jim Goffredo are the only players remaining who have logged substantial time on the court. Since the Ivies are characteristically a three-guard league, the loss also opens up a spot in the backcourt, and Holden mentioned junior Ko Yada and sophomore James Lambert specifically.
“We have an opportunity for some younger players in the program to develop,” Holden said. “Obviously, the last two years we’ve had consistent leadership out of the junior and senior class at the premier spot. This gives some players the opportunity to establish themselves. They have the opportunity to stand out.”
The Crimson also has three recruits at guard coming in as freshmen, including McDonald’s All-American nominees Drew Housman and Andrew Pusar.
“I definitely know I couldn’t play next year, so as of right now, it’s not looking good, but there is always an open door for the years after that. My gut feeling is that right now it is pretty much over,” Klunick told the Springfield State Journal-Register.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Last month, Harvard announced its schedule for the 2005-06 season, a lineup featuring a spate of home games against non-league opponents and a few games against potentially ranked opponents.
Vermont, which topped heavily favored four-seed Syracuse in the first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament, will offer the Crimson’s first competition when Harvard opens at home on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m.
“Vermont actually owed us a game from the previous coaching staff,” Holden said. “They were supposed to play us last year.”
A call from ESPN requesting that Vermont play a televised game against North Carolina led the Catamounts to skip out on Harvard.
In its 2004 season opener, the Crimson rallied to tie Notre Dame at 57 with just over two minutes remaining in regulation before falling, 66-59.
Harvard’s non-league season reaches a climax on Dec. 22, when the Crimson will jump for a 7 p.m. tip-off against Boston College, last year’s Big East champions.
“It’s a game we’ve always played every four or five years. We’ve always played pretty well over there,” Holden said. “They think they’re going to be picked in the top half of the ACC, if not the top two or three. It gives our kids something to get worked up about, playing a national team like that.”
Like Vermont, BC fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Holden said the lineup isn’t ground-breaking.
“It’s pretty much the same schedule we’ve always played,” he said.
CRASHING NEW BOARDS
When the Crimson opens against Vermont, it will play in a renovated home arena that can now rival the best courts in the nation—at least with regards to the floor beneath the players’ feet.
The floor in Lavietes Pavilion has been replaced with a state-of-the-art Robbins Bio-Channel Classic floor system, the same floor beneath the Blue Devils at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We came to the conclusion that they had the best to offer what we needed,” Assistant Manager of Operations Mark Bresnahan said. Robbins claims the floor’s continuous-strip XL450 maple outlasts the competition by a decade. The floor in Lavietes had not been replaced since the center opened in 1982.
“The floor is the original floor from when we started playing basketball here [almost] 25 years ago,” Holden said. “We’ve been very fortunate in that, knock on wood, we haven’t had knee injuries.”
Recently, however, the quality of the floor had been compromised.
“There was water damage in the facility, and it caused...some problems with the floor,” Bresnahan said.
“They did a great job in replacing it,” Holden said. “It’s got good bounce to it. Obviously, the making of floors has come a long way in the last 25 years.”
—Staff writer Samuel C. Scott can be reached at email@example.com.