Following the reported withdrawals of co-captains Kyle Casey ’13 and Brandyn Curry ’13 from the College due to their alleged involvement in the cheating scandal surrounding a government course, senior Christian Webster ’13 and junior Laurent Rivard ’14 were recently chosen to replace them as the squad’s co-captains for the upcoming season in a team-wide vote.
“It’s a great honor that my teammates see me in that light,” Webster said. “The team embraced me with open arms, and it’s been a great ride so far [in my career]. I’m just looking forward to what’s to come.”
Players on the squad noted that the departure of Casey and Curry along with the graduation of 2011-12 co-captains Keith Wright ’12 and Oliver McNally ’12 left Webster and Rivard as the most game-tested members of the squad.
“They have a lot of experience, the most experience on the team,” forward Steve Moundou-Missi ’15 said. “I’m sure they’ll be ready to lead us this year.”
According to guard Alex Nesbitt ’15, the pair is well suited for the leadership position.
“They complement each other very well,” Nesbitt said. “They’re both really vocal, they both really care about the team, and they’ll do whatever [it takes] to make sure we do well.”
“During games and practices, they’re always the ones telling us to go harder, to talk more, to step up,” Mondou-Missi echoed.
Webster emphasized Rivard’s strength as a leader by example.
“Everyone’s going to have to live up to how hard [Laurent] works every day in practice, and even when we’re not practicing,” Webster said. “Just by how hard he works he really demands a level of respect.”
Casey and Curry could not be reached for comment Monday night, while Rivard declined to comment. Team spokesman Tim Williamson also could not be reached, while men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Webster was a member of Amaker’s second recruiting class, a highly touted group headlined by the trio of Curry, Casey, and Webster. As a sophomore, Webster finished second on the squad in scoring, averaging 13 points per game.
But after suffering a minor injury and turning in a number of inconsistent performances to start the 2011-12 season, Webster was replaced by Rivard in the starting lineup.
Rivard finished the year as the team’s third-leading scorer while Webster’s production dipped to 4.5 points per game.
Now, following the departures of four of the five starters from Harvard’s 2011-12 Ivy championship winning squad, Rivard and Webster will likely often be asked to play together—and to lead the team together, as well.
“As two older guys who have played a lot of minutes, we’re just going to have to show the young-ins how to do it,” Webster said. “Everything starts with the veterans in our program; we’re just going to have to lead more vocally and show those guys what has to be done.”
With practices set to get underway in two weeks—initiated by the second-ever Crimson Madness, which will take place on October 13—Webster said Amaker has made clear that despite the departures of his two stars, the coach was still expecting to win in 2012-13.
“Coach Amaker’s adjusted well [to the losses of Casey and Curry],” Webster said. “He’s made it clear that we’re not as much of an under-the-radar team anymore, and everyone’s embraced it.”
Despite the national media attention surrounding the withdrawals of Curry and Casey, Webster hopes the team can now turn its attention to the upcoming season.
“It’s no different than the last three years I’ve been here,” he said. “Everyone’s excited and ready to go. We’re just trying to get better every day. That’s all we can do.”
—Staff writer Scott A. Sherman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.