The Harvard men’s basketball team was nearly unanimously considered a favorite to repeat as Ivy League champions four days ago. After the withdrawal of co-captain senior Kyle Casey and the expected departure of Brandyn Curry, the team’s championship prospects have significantly diminished.
“From a purely Bball perspective, this season feels wide open now,” Ivy Hoops Online tweeted Tuesday night. “[Princeton] probably out front but anyone could crack top half this year. #fun.”
Basketball writer Andy Katz said that their expected absences create an opportunity for Yale and Columbia in particular.
The parity in Ivy League competition this year may be fun for Ivy fans, but players are not viewing the current situation that way.
“My heart automatically went out to [Casey and Curry] because they’re both good guys and good competitors,” Penn junior Miles Cartwright said. “I know it’s hard for both of them to go through this.”
Even from the perspective of a rival and potential benefactor of Harvard’s loss, Yale senior Austin Morgan believed the situation was unfortunate.
“Obviously we are inextricably linked, Yale and Harvard,” Morgan said. “As a competitor, I would never wish this on anybody.”
“Kyle Casey is a great player,” Morgan added. “He is one of the players that is most respected in our league. It is unfortunate that this had to happen during his senior year.”
Though both players showed sympathy for the situation players are in, they did not condone the alleged actions.
“When you’re super busy and you’re juggling a lot of different things, it’s hard,” Cartwright said. “But it should never come down to that point to take shortcuts.”
From a basketball perspective, Katz said that the potential loss of Curry would have a larger impact on the team.
“If Brandyn is gone, that’s a major, major blow,” Katz said. “One thing they don’t have is experience in the backcourt, specifically at point guard.”
Katz said that the loss will be most evident early in the year as Curry's and Casey’s younger replacements adjust to their larger roles. By the time the team reaches the heart of its conference schedule though, the team should look strong.
“I don’t think it affects them long term,” Katz said. “I think they’ve recruited well enough where I think they’ll be ok.”
Tom Stemberg ’71, the honorary chairman of Friends of Harvard Basketball, believes that the scandal will not affect the alumni support group nor its relationship with the team.