Even though he grew up nearly 1,000 miles from Lavietes Pavilion, Siyani Chambers, point guard of the Harvard men’s basketball team, is at home in a Crimson uniform.
The sophomore, who propelled Harvard to a road sweep of Penn and Princeton this past weekend, is an integral part of the Crimson offense, averaging 11 points and 4.9 assists over the 2013-2014 season.
Chambers made his presence felt on Friday and Saturday as Harvard travelled to face the Quakers and Tigers, averaging 11 points and nine assists in each contest. The weekend marked the first time in 25 years that the Crimson has swept the series against its conference foes.
His performance earned him the award of Ivy League Player of the Week for the third time this season.
“[These were] big moments, obviously a big weekend for us,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “We go on the road for four in a row and for those two there at Penn and Princeton. I thought he deserved to be Player of the Week. I don’t know about other players in the conference and what they did, but you can just see his value and what he’s brought to the team.”
Chambers had one of his best games of the year on Friday night, ending the game against the Quakers with 10 assists, nine points, and two steals. He was also 6-for-6 from the free throw line and an impact player working with his teammates.
“He’s dynamic at [the pick-and-roll],” Amaker said. “He’s a magnificent ball handler. I think he’s the best ball handler and the best passer in our league. I just think his presence and his leadership is daring. He seizes moments. If there’s something there, he seizes it. He really has a knack for that.”
Chambers seized the moment once again against Princeton on Saturday night in New Jersey, when the Crimson fell behind by 12 points in the first half.
Understanding the importance of the game for their Ivy League ranking, Chambers and the team approached the contest with particular intensity.
“We all wanted that game very bad,” co-captain Brandyn Curry said. “It’s something we talked about and a lot of the seniors spoke up about at practice…. [Chambers is] a fiery one, and he always has a lot of energy. That’s who he is and that’s why we love playing with him. He definitely brings a lot of emotion to the game and loves winning.”
Chambers fueled the Harvard effort that tied the game and ultimately put the Crimson ahead, with a layup in the second half that tied the game at 30-30.
Later in the half, he recorded another bucket that put Harvard ahead for the first time since the game’s beginning.
The Crimson held the lead for the rest of the contest.
“We talk about him all the time and his spirit, his presence and his quarterbacking, how he handles himself out on the floor in terms of never looking like something’s wrong,” Amaker said. “He has that vibe and that step about him. Our players rally around that…and he did it last year as a freshman and now this year as a sophomore.”
Chambers finished the game against Princeton with 13 points, eight assists, and five rebounds.