The Back Page takes a step back from the NCAA tournament bracket madness to reconnect with some Crimson alums from years past.
He’s Got Heart: Desmond Bryant ’09
A little over a year ago, Crimson sports alumnus Scott Sherman covered Bryant’s new contract with the Cleveland Browns. Since his multi-million dollar contract, Bryant has been busy; after recording 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 12 games in his first season with the Browns, the former Crimson star underwent an emergency medical procedure in December to correct an irregular heartbeat.
With his career on hold, Bryant worked hard to return to his former strength. Just a few weeks ago, the defensive end was given full clearance to return to full football activities. He is currently preparing to make a full comeback to the Brown’s starting defensive line.
The 6’6” Bryant turned town offers from Duke, Florida A&M, and Towson to come to play for the Crimson, and he became a key starter on the perfect 10-0 2005 Harvard team that was led by fellow future NFL player Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05.
After the promising start, Bryant ran into some trouble and was suspended from the team twice, first for violating team rules and then for academic reasons. He returned for his senior year, though, recording 4.5 tackles for a loss and was granted second-team Ivy League honors.
Undrafted coming out of Harvard, Bryant got his chance with the Oakland Raiders as a rookie in 2009, recording 32 tackles in 16 games. Since then, the 310-pounder has found continued success in the NFL, recording five sacks in his third year and four in his fourth year.
While you were busy power-watching housing day videos and writing strongly worded letters to your various friends in Kirkland house, here is what happened in Harvard sports this weekend.
With its 70-58 win over Yale on Friday night, the men’s basketball team secured the Ivy League championship outright and earned its third straight bid to the Dance. Sports writers nationwide rejoiced with the win, immediately pitching Tommy Amaker features to everyone around them. “It is such a great story for a long-form feature,” they exclaim. TRUST US, WE KNOW. JUST STOP ALREADY. Besides, the original is still the best.
Speaking of top-notch basketball coaches, women’s basketball coach Kathy Delaney-Smith now owns the most wins in Ivy League basketball history, passing Princeton legendary men’s basketball coach Pete Carril with her 515th against Yale on Friday night. It remains unclear whether Delaney-Smith will be getting the Amaker treatment or not (she is certainly more than deserving), but Bartley’s Burger Cottage, known for its special burgers named after pop culture references, did have a Delaney-Smith special on Friday afternoon. While rumors abound on the Cambridge community’s desire for a “Fire Donato!” special, Bartley’s has neither confirmed nor denied that such a burger is in the works.
The following is play-by-play from the Harvard baseball team's April 29 game against Boston College at Fenway Park. The contest was the last of the Crimson's 2013 spring campaign, a number of Red Sox players "joined in" on the action (see the third inning), and all three Harvard seniors saw playing time.
It's a beautiful day for baseball here at Fenway Park at the Beanpot consolation game. The Harvard baseball team takes on Boston College, with the Crimson (10-31, 7-13 Ivy) representing the home team in the first base dugout. The two squads met earlier this season in Chestnut Hill on April 3, and the Eagles (9-35, 2-21 ACC) stole a tight 8-6 victory.
When you hear the score 20-19, you might think of a close, hard-fought football game. Or maybe a basketball game halfway through the first quarter. But a baseball game? How crazy would that be?
Yet when the Harvard baseball team (6-21, 3-5 Ivy) faced off against Princeton (7-20, 5-3) on Sunday, the result was just that. Playing at O’Donnell Field in the second game of a doubleheader, the Crimson outlasted the Tigers in a wild nine innings and walked off in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 20-19 victory. The win was the team’s sixth of the year and third in Ivy League play.
Such an unusual game was filled with appropriately unique stats. Here’s a look at the epic showdown by the numbers.
2: Grand slams, one from sophomore infielder Tanner Anderson in the bottom of the sixth and another the very next inning from Princeton first baseman Mike Ford. Tigers catcher Tyler Servais also belted a grand slam in the first game of the doubleheader.
38: The number of hits in the slugfest, 23 for Harvard and 15 for Princeton. The Crimson’s previous season-high was 14 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
9: Errors made in the game, with Harvard committing five and Princeton committing four. Despite the high error total, only six of the game’s 39 runs were unearned.
5: The number of Crimson batters who registered at least three hits. Freshman catcher DJ Link went 4-for-5, and sophomore outfielder Brandon Kregel scored five runs.
11: The number of frames that teams scored in, with all but two coming as multiple-run innings (the high was Princeton’s seven-run second).
20: The number of runs Harvard scored, double its previous season high of 10 versus Cornell last weekend.
19: The number of runs Harvard runs allowed, six more than the season’s previous high of 13 that came just a few hours earlier in the first game of the day against Princeton.
3: Runs Harvard scored in the bottom of the ninth to win the game, all of which came on wild pitches.