Success begets confidence.
On the heels of its fourth straight conference championship, the Harvard men’s basketball team was selected in the Ivy League preseason media poll as the unanimous choice to finish first in the league for the 2014-2015 season, conference officials announced Wednesday.
Some players win the job through competition, others through attrition.
Such was the case for Jeremy Lin ’10, who nabbed the starting point guard job for the Los Angeles Lakers Monday after three competitors went down with injury. Lin will start on opening night Tuesday against his old team, the Houston Rockets. The Rockets traded the former Harvard star in the offseason for cap relief in its failed run at Chris Bosh.
Lin will benefit from a series of injuries that have ravaged the Lakers’ core. Two-time MVP Steve Nash was declared out for the season last week, with guard Nick “Swaggy P” Young already out until December. Journeyman Ronnie Price, who started the team’s last preseason game ahead of Lin, suffered a bone bruise in the final game and is only probable for Tuesday’s action. Wayne Ellington, Xavier Henry, and Ryan Kelly are also out. Overall, Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell reported that the team will only have 10 bodies to start the opener, two short of the maximum.
Last year, Lin was the first man off the bench for Kevin McHale’s Rockets team. He averaged 12.5 points a game in limited minutes, flashing an improved three-point stroke (35.8 percent) and better court vision overall. His statistics fell short of those he put up for the Linsanity-era New York Knicks, but represented his best efforts over the course of a full season.
In 2014-2015, Lin will be expected to defer more to Kobe Bryant, the alpha dog in the Lakers backcourt. Overall, the Lakers profile as a lower-tier lottery team after being decimated by injuries. Los Angeles has a couple nice pieces in the frontcourt with Ed Davis and Jordan Hill but boasts very little wing and guard depth behind Lin and Bryant.
New England may have the NFL’s most successful team of the past decade, but if professional football’s return to Boston demonstrated anything Friday night, there is a long way for it to go inside the city limits.
In the first professional football game at Harvard Stadium since 1970, the Boston Brawlers—a new Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) franchise—emerged victorious, 28-10, over the visiting Blacktips in front of a reported crowd of 3,265. The actual attendance did not appear to come close to that figure.
The FXFL, which debuted earlier in October, aims to become a feeder system for the National Football League. Unlike its companion leagues, the NFL has historically had no minor league akin to the NBA’s D-League or baseball’s affiliate system, leaving a tight bottleneck for players exiting the college ranks and looking for professional employment.
The most illustrious name to fall through the cracks Friday was Brawlers quarterback Tajh Boyd. The former Clemson star, who won the Orange Bowl nine months ago, played less than a quarter in the first half, throwing a 54-yard back shoulder fade to Jasper Collins for the team’s only touchdown of the half. Boyd added three more touchdowns in the second half, with former Florida running back Emmanuel Moody contributing 225 total yards, to break the game wide open.
Boyd was the highlight of a game that was otherwise sloppy, with numerous dropped balls and holding penalties delaying play throughout the first half. Blacktip quarterback Joe Clancy had perhaps the most difficult night of all, completing only 12 of 31 passes for 114 yards, with one touchdown, one interception, and nine dropped balls.
Boston moved to 1-2 with the victory, while the Blacktips fell to 0-2. The Brawlers will conclude its home season the following week against Brooklyn on October 31. The Blacktips are currently a traveling team with no home games scheduled.
--Matt Clarida contributed to the reporting of this story.
As the fall semester and the NFL season approach their midway points and the NHL and NBA regular seasons begin, it’s time to check up on three Harvard alums playing professionally.
While Cleveland fans wait for LeBron James to make his highly anticipated return to the Cavaliers, the Browns sit at 3-3 following their bye week. A win this week over the Raiders would give the team its best start since 2007. Desmond Bryant ’09 has been a starting defensive end for the Browns in five of the team’s six games. The 6’6” Bryant has 11 tackles and one sack this year for a much improved Cleveland front seven that has allowed only seven rushing touchdowns this season. Bryant was able to return to the field this year after missing the end of last season with an irregular heartbeat.