After co-captaining the Harvard men’s basketball team to its first Ivy League Championship, junior Keith Wright has a new title to add to his resumé–Ivy League Player of the Year.
The center beat out two other big men–Yale’s Greg Mangano and Princeton’s Kareem Maddox–for the award. Wright was also voted unanimously to the All-Ivy First Team.
During the regular season, Wright finished third in the Ancient Eight in scoring at 14.9 points per game and second with 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest. The junior also led the conference with a 58.8 shooting percentage.
“It’s a team award,” a humbled Wright said. “It’s not just mine. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Wright was joined on All-Ivy squads by the sophomore trio of forward Kyle Casey and guards Brandyn Curry and Christian Webster. Casey and Curry were named to the All-Ivy Second Team, while Webster was named All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
Casey–last season’s Ivy Rookie of the Year–finished an oft-injured sophomore campaign ranked seventh in the league with 6.0 rebounds per game and fourth with a 51.1 percent field goal percentage. He also averaged 10.8 points, including 24 last Saturday night in Harvard's championship-clinching win over the Tigers.
Curry ended the regular season as the conference leader in assists with 5.9 per contest and ranked fourth with 1.4 steals per game, while also averaging 9.5 points. Webster finished tenth in the Ancient Eight with 13.3 points per game and tenth nationally in free throw percentage at 90.6 percent.
But it was Wright who carried the team time and time again, blossoming into the centerpiece of the offense after the departure of Jeremy Lin '10. He finished with 12 double-doubles, won Ivy League Player of the Week honors three times, and raised his production to 15.4 points and 8.9 rebound in Ivy contests.
After missing five conference games to injury in 2009-10, Wright's improvement was one of the key reasons why this year's Crimson squad was able to set the franchise record for wins in a season despite losing Lin to the NBA.
The Suffolk, Va. native was joined on the All-Ivy First Team by Maddox, Mangano, Columbia guard Noruwa Agho, and Penn guard Zack Rosen.
He becomes just the second player in Harvard basketball history to win Player of the Year, following in the footsteps of Joe Carrabino ’85.
The co-captain will have to come up big on Saturday, when the Crimson takes on Maddox’s Princeton squad for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.
“It is an honor to have won this award,” Wright tweeted Wednesday night. “But I would take an Ivy League championship over individual awards any day of the week.”
—SCOTT A. SHERMAN