The conference is more than a one-man show, however. For a league that was previously considered an afterthought, the Ivy League has brought down Big East, Pac-10, and Big Ten giants in the tournament the past five years.
“It is as good a group of coaches as the Ivy League has ever had I think,” said Carroll. “They’ve had really really great coaches historically, but across the board, you have real depth, knowledge, and expertise. Some really good guys, excellent recruiters, they understand their universities. I think this as good as it gets or as good as its gotten as far as the eight Ivy League schools.”
As the competition of the Ivy League has increased, so have the number of recruits from prep schools attending the Ancient Eight. Top recruits have flocked to schools like NMH to better their academic standing and receive an offer to play Ivy League basketball.
“The prep schools are great for a number of different reasons,” Yale coach James Jones said. “Some kids, it bolsters them academically. It helps them because they can take classes that will be helpful going forward.”
The prep-to-Ivy route has become more common and consistent as the Ancient Eight has come up with wins against the likes of Arizona, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin. The Ivy League is also now in its second year of a television contract with NBC Sports. In 2013-2013, this contract extended to 39 televised games, not including the two tournament games apiece Harvard and Yale played in front of national audiences.
“I think [the NMH grads at Harvard] could all play in power conferences,” Albrecht said. “I tell Evan that all the time. He had a bunch of big time offers but he chose to stay locally. I can’t blame him going to the best school in America.”
Cummins, like Edosomwan and Brown, was highly recruited out of NMH. But his preparation for Division I basketball began long before Amaker stepped into the NMH gym.