Yale's Makai Mason Declares for NBA Draft

Published by David Freed on March 25, 2016 at 2:02PM
Makai-ing Moves

Yale sophomore point guard Makai Mason, shown above being defended by Harvard point guard Siyani Chambers in the 2015 Ivy League playoff, has declared for the NBA Draft.

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Monday, Yale sophomore point guard Makai Mason shook the Ivy League by declaring for the NBA draft. Seniors declaring for the NBA draft is rare enough in the Ancient Eight; Mason’s decision, even coming on the heels of a 31-point outburst against fifth-seeded Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, is nearly unprecedented.

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Athlete of the Week Runners-Up: Week of 3/14

Published by Bryan Hu on March 25, 2016 at 9:40AM

Although men’s baseball junior pitcher Nick Gruener posted a 2.81 ERA over 16 innings with 11 K’s in two starts, Harvard spring break athletics featured another prominent team star whose performance warranted recognition.

In eight starts for the No. 19 Harvard women’s water polo team, sophomore goalkeeper Cleo Harrington recorded a total of 91 saves and provided core defensive reliability to power the Crimson to a 7-2 record on its annual spring break California roadtrip. Harrington was rewarded with six wins, posted a career-high 20 saves in a victory over Azusa Pacific, and made several critical stops during Harvard’s six-game win streak. The California native also recorded totals of 13, 12, 11, 15 saves in four other games.

During the Crimson’s streak, Harrington’s goals-against average was 7.6. The Crimson offense averaged just under ten goals per game to back her up.

In losses to No. 20 SDSU and No. 11 UCSD, Harrington made 13 and nine saves, respectively, but posted double-digit save totals in a shootout against No. 25 CSUN and in a win over No. 13 UCSB. Harrington was also efficient, allowing only 4 and 5 goals in defensive grinds against No. 14 LMU and Santa Clara.

Harrington now has 182 saves, to go along with 15 assists and 6 goal-saving steals, on the season. With one non-conference and seven games of conference play still remaining, the sophomore has already surpassed the mark she set last season with 162 saves.

The team has placed a focus on defense throughout the season, and Harrington’s consistent performance have been a central component to the team’s 18-4 record. Senior captain Yoshi Andersen has attributed some of the success on improved communication in the pool, increased trust amongst the players, and more recently, taking good care of their physical state through icing, warm-ups, and warm-downs in the face of its busy nine-game stand.

In the one game that Harrington did not start, backup goalie freshman Sam Acker performed solidly, making nine stops while allowing through four goals against Redlands.

–Staff writer Bryan Hu can be reached at bhu01@college.harvard.edu.

Former Men's Basketball Assistant Coach Caught Up In Scandal

Published by David Freed on March 17, 2016 at 10:27AM

On the eve of the first NCAA Tournament Harvard won’t be participating in since 2011, the Crimson made their way into the news for the wrong reasons. Tuesday afternoon, former Harvard assistant Yann Hufnagel was fired from his post in the same role at The University of California (Berkeley). In a statement, the school said that Hufnagel’s firing directly follows a ruling that he violated the university’s sexual harassment policy.

Hufnagel is fighting the ruling, denying the incident in an interview with ESPN.

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Three Things to Watch: Men's Basketball Closes Season Against Penn

Published by David Freed on March 06, 2016 at 6:55PM

After securing its best win of the season, a 73-71 victory over rival Princeton, the Harvard men’s basketball team (13-16, 5-8 Ivy League) wraps up its regular season by hosting the Penn Quakers (11-15, 5-7) Saturday night at Lavietes Pavilion. Staff writer David Freed has three things to watch as Harvard looks to sweep an Ivy League weekend for the first time this year.

1. Which Team Shows Up — If Harvard had played all year the way it played Friday night, it would be in the title conversation. From the opening tip, the Crimson played with aggression. Captain Evan Cummins had eight early points by aggressively going at the rim, something that has been missing all year. Seniors Patrick Steeves and Agunwa Okolie repeatedly took smaller Tigers defenders off the dribble and helped Harvard ring up a 40-28 advantage in points scored in the paint.

After the performance of the season, the question is how Harvard will respond. Historically, the answer is well: the Crimson has won the last two Saturdays after dispiriting losses on the front half of the back-to-back. A day after beating Brigham Young, its then-biggest victory of the year, Harvard trounced Auburn in the Diamond Head Classic. Against Penn, it will draw on those memories to try and come out with energy on Senior Night.

2. Battle of the Freshmen — Last time the two teams played, Penn’s freshman backcourt of Jake Silpe and Jackson Donahue got the better of Harvard’s rookie tandem of Tommy McCarthy and Corey Johnson. While Johnson drilled a trifecta of threes early in the game, he missed all seven shots he took in the second half—including five triples. McCarthy faired worse, getting his shot twice blocked by Silpe and letting frustration boil over, committing a flagrant foul on the opposing rookie.

The Penn backcourt has taken divergent paths since the last outcome, however. Silpe has struggled, posting nine or more points just twice in seven outings. Against Columbia at home a week ago, he didn’t attempt a shot in 19 minutes. Donahue, by contrast, has flourished, draining three or more triples in six of seven. Yet it will be Silpe’s defense against an improved McCarthy that will be key if Penn wants to walk away victors.

3. Containment — Without leading scorer and rebounder Zena Edosomwan, Harvard could not contain Penn’s forwards in the last outing. Three different Quakers finished the game with double-doubles, with senior Darien Nelson-Henry pacing the team with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The glass will be a focus for Harvard, not a great rebounding team, in the rematch. Given Edosomwan’s recent struggles with foul trouble, perhaps the biggest key to the game is simply whether he can stay on the floor.

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

Athlete of the Week Runners-Up: Women's Basketball's Senior Duo Shines in Final Home Weekend

Published by Patrick J. Anderson on March 03, 2016 at 1:39AM

Harvard softball’s Rhianna Rich earned the honor of Ivy League Rookie of the Week, as well as The Crimson’s Athlete of the Week, for her outstanding performance at the JU Green and Gold Classic last weekend. With a batting average of .563 and four RBIs over a four-game stretch, the freshman infielder helped the Crimson to a 3-1 record to start off its spring season. Along with Rich’s success, three other Harvard athletes had impressive performances this week:

AnnMarie Healy, Women’s Basketball

This senior forward helped the Crimson (14-11, 9-3 Ivy) to back-to-back victories over Yale and Brown this week by scores of 65-63 and 92-79, respectively. In addition to putting 21 points on the board—her 24th time scoring in double-digits this season—against the Bulldogs, Healy clinched the victory, sinking the game-winner off her own rebound at the buzzer.

Shilpa Tummala, Women’s Basketball

Further demonstrating strong senior leadership on the team, Shilpa Tummala also helped Harvard secure victories over Yale and Brown this week. Tummala scored a career-high 24 points against the Bears to go along with 12 assists—her fourth double-double this season.

Riding a six-game winning streak, Tumalla and the rest of the Crimson squad will look to extend the run into this weekend, where Harvard will play its last two games of the season against Princeton and Penn, who both sit 10-1 in conference play.

Devin Dwyer, Men’s Lacrosse

Senior attackman Devin Dwyer capped off his second consecutive seven-point game with an overtime game-winner on Saturday, lifting Harvard (3-0) to a 10-9 victory against UMass. Dwyer’s final score—his fifth of the game—came just 10 seconds into overtime and was assisted by sophomore Morgan Cheek. The Garden City, N.Y., native will look to help the Crimson maintain its perfect record in its upcoming matchup against Duke this Saturday.