In this way, the rise of Ivy League recruiting is self-fulfilling; once the core base of former NMH and other prep school players is established, the growing relationships bring in more top-flight prospects, further strengthening the program. There is perhaps no better example than Edosomwan—the highest profile recruit to hit Harvard’s campus this century.
When Edosomwan actively chose to attend NMH in order to meet the Academic Index and qualify to play at Harvard, he became a pioneer. A player of Edowsoman’s talent would be seen much more of in the Big East or ACC, but the 6’10’’ power forward chose the Ivy League—turning down Texas and UCLA along the way—because he didn’t see top-level basketball and an Ivy League diploma as mutually exclusive.
"Four years from now, when no one cares who Zena Edosomwan is, I know a lot of opportunities will be there for me to be successful on and off the court,” Edosomwan told Sports Illustrated in 2012. “... If I become successful, people will remember that I took that chance, that I had a higher purpose than basketball.”
Carroll concurs, noting that the success of the Ivy League on the NCAA’s biggest stage—the league has posted a 4-5 record in the NCAA Tournament since 2011—has changed the college basketball landscape at NMH.
“The shift has already happened--now there is no longer a conversation of you should explore the Ivy League, [and] I don’t have those conversations anymore,” Carroll said. “The kids are already coming to me with those schools on their list and they don’t have to be convinced that the Ivy League is a strong enough basketball conference...these kids are now putting those schools on their list right off the bat.”
INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
In New Haven, the Crimson walked away with a 70-58 victory to clinch its third straight outright title and an NCAA Tournament bid. All in all, five Ivy League teams made a postseason tournament in 2014, as the league has continued its push for national recognition.
But people were taking notice of more than just the Ivy League. A year earlier at the Dance, NMH talents were on full display.