In the modern era of sports, being a college coach carries with it the burden of constant media attention. Facing dozens of reporters at press conferences, head coaches have gotten savvier—they say what they need to and leave the rest up for speculation. Here at The Back Page, we’re happy to decode some of these media sessions, showing the average fan what we think coaches’ answers “really” mean.
It was a tale of two halves when Ivy play came to Lavietes Pavilion last Saturday. The Harvard men’s basketball team started out slowly, and it looked like the Crimson was in danger of being upset by league doormat Dartmouth, which held a 12-point lead early in the second half. But with suffocating defense and timely offense, Harvard went on a 31-10 run to close out the game, and it salvaged a 59-50 win. Though disappointed with the Crimson’s play, particularly in the first half, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was pleased with the spirit his team showed as it fought its way back into the game. We take a look at Amaker’s postgame remarks and interpret the state of the Crimson in this week’s edition of Sound Off.
Collegiate wrestling has been a long road for junior Corey Jantzen, and, unfortunately for the seventh-ranked grappler, it’s just gotten tougher.
After suffering a torn elbow ligament in practice over J-Term, the 141 lb. competitor learned that he will undergo surgery this Friday, ending his season. It will be the second competitive year that Jantzen has missed after losing significant time to a knee injury his sophomore season.
The Harvard men’s basketball team took down George Washington last Saturday, 67-62, with its top two scorers ailing on the bench. Thankfully for the Crimson, it looks like junior co-captain Keith Wright and sophomore forward Christian Webster will not remain on the sideline for too long.
“We’re hopeful for Saturday,” said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker of each player’s return. “Right now, they both are going through the process of getting treatment and trying to rehab their injuries.”
After Webster scored eight points in 14 minutes in a homecoming of sorts (his father played for George Washington in the 1980s), the D.C. native took a shot to the hip that left him immobile. The injury, which is being described as a hip pointer, kept him out of the remainder of the contest.
Wright, who is averaging a team-best 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, was also banged up in Saturday’s contest. After a blow to the ribcage, the big man experienced trouble breathing and missed the final 15 minutes of the game.
“They’ve been out of practice thus far,” Amaker said. “[But] we’re hopeful that they’ll be able to play.”
The bigger concern for the Crimson might be one of the heroes from Saturday’s win: freshman Laurent Rivard. Though the forward mustered 16 points in the second half, he was battling an ankle injury that has relegated him to a walking boot off the court.
“He’s had an ankle and an Achilles issue all year,” Amaker said. “The only thing that’s going to be able to allow it to heal is to take complete time off.”
Given Rivard’s increasingly important role as a sixth man on the Crimson (the freshman has reached double figures in eight of his last 10 games), the possibility of a break is remote.
“He’s been nursing it all the way through,” Amaker said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s been able to play through pain, and we anticipate he’ll continue to do it.”
While most of Harvard has been enjoying a long winter break, its athletes have been hard at work for a while now.
That includes recruits, such as future Crimson basketball player Kenyatta Smith. Saturday night, the senior center from Flintridge Prep School (La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.) guided his Rebels to a 57-49 victory at the school’s rival, the Polytechnic School, in Prep’s biggest contest of the year thus far.
St. John's Prep has become a recruiting hotbed for Harvard lately.
A state champion in football and lacrosse, Ryan Delisle has decided to bring his winning habits to Soldiers Field next fall. On Tuesday, the senior tight end and defensive end publicly confirmed a verbal commitment to play football for the Crimson next fall.