Men's Club Ultimate Frisbee Advances to National Championship

Published by Ariel Smolik-Valles on May 30, 2016 at 6:50PM

For the first time in program history, the Red Line, Harvard's men's ultimate frisbee team, will compete in the championship game of USA Ultimate's College Championship, held this weekend in Raleigh, N.C.

It has been a weekend of firsts for the Red Line, powering past Georgia and North Carolina on Sunday en route to taking its spot in the top two in the playing field.

In its first semifinals appearance ever, Harvard went up against the hometown favorite North Carolina Darkside in a game that was riddled with weather threats. The Red Line held a 7-5 lead before North Carolina cam back and tied the game at nine. With a 12-11 lead late in a game to 13, Harvard channelled recent USA national team qualifier John Stubbs for its final goal, extending its weekend of first-time appearances to the championship game of the tournament.

Earlier that day, the quarterfinals matchup between the Red Line and University of Georgia's Jojah Ultimate team saw five breaks in the game, spaced from beginning to end, and traded between the teams. Stubbs was once again Harvard's anchor on the field, drawing many Jojah defenders and opening up space for his teammates. The Red Line went on to win 14-13 in a move to the semis.

Harvard will match up against the Minnesota Grey Duck in the championship game today at 2:30 pm.

Check thecrimson.com for updates.

Three Things to Watch For in Sunday's Men's Lacrosse Final

Published by George Hu on May 07, 2016 at 8:38AM

On Friday night, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team (8-7, 3-3 Ivy) rode a record-setting nine-goal performance from sophomore attacker Morgan Cheek to an upset victory over No. 2/2 Brown (14-2, 6-0). With the win, the Crimson has earned a spot in the Ivy League tournament championship game, where it will face off against No. 7/6 Yale. At stake for Harvard is not only its first tourney title, but also a bid to the NCAA tournament. Here are three things to watch:

1) Cheek’s Hot Streak

Cheek has scored 13 goals in his past two games, including a four-goal output against the same Bulldogs defense he will be facing on Sunday. He sits second on the team in both goals and assists, with 35 and 23, respectively. Senior attacker Devin Dwyer leads the Crimson in both categories.

On Friday, Cheek found the back of the net in a variety of situations, including in both man-up and man-down sets. To contain him, Yale has several options to call on. Senior defender Michael Quinn and junior defender Chris Keating were recently named All-Ivy selections, but one will potentially have to be tasked with stopping Dwyer as well unless the Bulldogs play more of a zone set.

2) Crance Capitalizing on His Chance

In bold move for a team that was ranked in the Top-5 nationally at the time, Yale slotted freshman goalie Hoyt Crance into the starting lineup with only a few games remaining in the season. Sophomore Phil Huffard, who started the first ten games, has assumed a backup role as Crance has taken full advantage of his opportunity.

Crance sports a 4-1 record, with his save percentage increasing in each of the past three games. Despite being a freshman, he showed composure in guiding the Bulldogs to a 7-6 victory over Penn in the semifinals of the Ivy tournament.

While Harvard is not known for a high-scoring offense, it has the playmakers to challenge Crance on Sunday. Dwyer and Cheek lead the attack, but the Crimson has a stable of experienced senior attackmen who have all shown abilities to find the net this season.

3) Closing the Game

When Harvard and Yale meet on Sunday, only eight days will have passed since their previous meeting. In that encounter, the Bulldogs rallied from a 8-4 deficit to win, 9-8, as the Crimson lacked a spark on offense in the fourth quarter to hold onto its lead.

Harvard responded well after the letdown with a resolute performance at the end of the game against Brown, but it is to be seen whether the collapse against Yale last weekend will be on the minds of Crimson players if Sunday’s final goes down to the wire.

—Staff Writer George Hu can be reached at yianshenhu@college.harvard.edu.

No. 2 Men's Basketball Prospect Wendell Carter Jr. Plans Official Harvard Visit

Published by David Freed on April 29, 2016 at 9:01PM

Just before it became the first Ivy League team to crack the top 10 of the ESPN recruiting ranking lists, the Harvard men’s basketball team signaled that it wasn’t satisfied. On Saturday, the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2017, Wendell Carter Jr., announced that his first official visit will be going to Harvard in the fall.

Carter Jr., who has been ranked among the top 10 prospects for the Class of 2017 all year, listed Harvard alongside Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky as his choices last weekend at the Nike EYBL. He is the most prominent prospect to ever take an official visit to Cambridge; rumors of Mohamed Bamba—a similarly high-quality prospect in the Class of 2017—taking a visit to Harvard a couple weeks ago proved to be unsubstantiated, per sources close to the athletics department.

The prospect had previewed the move in early January, when he announced on his USA Today blog that he was “planning to visit Harvard … soon”. In that same post, Carter Jr. discussed a common theme surrounding his recruitment—his tie to Gary Trent Jr., a fellow five-star guard. The two have discussed their recruitment as a package deal, with Carter Jr. putting the chance that they play together at “maybe 75 percent”. Trent Jr. has not been tied yet to Harvard, however.

Carter Jr. also noted on Saturday that he and Trent will be visiting Kentucky for Big Blue Madness, the school’s midnight festival introducing its basketball team for the upcoming season.

Carter said that he wants to “just see what the atmosphere is like during big games, how the fans treat players, and them coming out and filling up in the gym” during his trip to Kentucky.


—Staff writer David Freed can be reached at david.freed@thecrimson.com.

Men's Basketball Nabs ESPN's 10th Best Recruiting Class

Published by David Freed on April 29, 2016 at 5:56AM

After a disappointing fourth-place Ivy League finish in 2016, the Harvard men’s basketball team showed why pundits think it is on the fast track back to the top of the league Wednesday, finishing with ESPN’s No. 10 recruiting class of the season. It is the first time an Ivy League team has ever cracked the top 25 of the recruiting rankings.

The Crimson cracked the top 20 on the strength of one of the largest and deepest recruiting classes in the nation. Harvard had seven recruits in the class, which matched Mississippi State (ranked No. 5 overall) for the most in the nation. Kentucky, which led the rankings, was the only other school with six or more prospects.

In addition to size, Harvard boasted a deep recruiting class that had four members of the ESPN top 100. The Crimson had assembled the class over the entirety of 2015, starting with the addition of power forward Chris Lewis (No. 68 overall) in January 2015. Lewis, the son of former New York Jets player Mo Lewis, was the highest ranked recruit ever to pick Harvard.

Lewis’ signing kicked off a trail of ensuing decisions. Five months later, small forward Seth Towns committed to Harvard, marking the first time the Crimson had ever received two top-100 recruits in the same season. Robert Baker Jr. and Bryce Aiken, four-star recruits from Georgia and New Jersey, respectively, committed during the late summer and early fall to bring the class together. All three players finished towards the bottom of the top 100, but their recruiting score was a single point lower than Lewis’.

Harvard’s success was atypical in the Ivy League, which did not enjoy a large recruiting haul outside of the Crimson. Two-time defending champion Yale receives a single three-star in 2016, South Carolina native Jordan Bruner. While Princeton brought in two three star recruits, the Tigers could not match the Crimson in either size (three total players) or depth (their best player ranked eight points worse than the Crimson’s best).

How each of the recruits will become involved in the framework of the team is unclear. The team faces a glut at the point guard position behind captains Siyani Chambers and Corbin Miller and last year’s starter Tommy McCarthy. Harvard coach Tommy Amaker could not offer any guidance on Aiken’s position before the end of the season. Lewis will likewise face a crowded big man rotation, needing to stand out alongside second-team All-Ivy Zena Edosomwan to find success.

—Staff writer David Freed can be reached at david.freed@thecrimson.com.

Former Crimson Standout Temi Fagbenle Drafted By WNBA

Published by Julio Fierro on April 18, 2016 at 7:03PM

After a year away from Cambridge in Los Angeles, former Harvard women’s basketball standout Temi Fagbenle was drafted 35th overall in the WNBA draft to the Minnesota Lynx. Fagbenle transferred to the University of Southern California to pursue a graduate degree after playing three years for Harvard. She is the second Harvard player ever to be selected in the WNBA draft.

During her time in Cambridge, Fagbenle was voted rookie of the year and was a three-time All-Ivy selection. In her senior year she paced the Crimson squad with 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and set a single game school record of 24 rebounds against Temple. She was also the highest ranked women’s basketball player to play for an Ivy League team and as a sophomore she represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London where she was youngest player on the team. Despite only suiting up three years, she is one of 19 players to score over 1,000 points for the Crimson.

At USC, Fagbenle lead a Trojan squad to a 12-0 start as she led the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. She also led USC in blocks, steals, and minutes per game. She was one of seven PAC-12 players to be drafted on Thursday night and the only one from USC. The Trojans finished 8th overall in the PAC-12 and made it to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

Fagbenle won’t join the Lynx until 2017 as she’s staying at USC to finish her masters in strategic public relations. At 6’4’’, Fagbenle will be the second tallest player on the Minnesota roster. After winning this year’s WNBA championship, the Lynx have won three WNBA championships in the past five years.