Four days after a 58-57 loss to Holy Cross knocked the Harvard men’s basketball team (1-1) out of the Top 25, the Crimson will retake the court against the Florida Atlantic Owls Thursday night (8:00 P.M., Lavietes Pavilion). Below, The Back Page takes a look at the three main things to keep your eye on as Harvard aims to regain its footing.
The day after senior Wesley Saunders stuffed the stat sheet in a matchup against Holy Cross, the wing got word that he had been tapped for the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. The award, according to its website, “is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball.”
The news came just two weeks after ESPN deemed Saunders the 46th best player in the nation and six days after he “headline[d] the Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List.”
Saunders was the only Ancient Eight player to be named to the Wooden Award list, and will have to best the top players in the nation if he is to earn individual honors in late March. Others nominated include prospective No. 1 2015 NBA Draft picks Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns, who hail from Duke and Kentucky, respectively.
Past winners of the Wooden Award include NBA phenoms Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Anthony Davis. Per Harvard Athletics, Saunders is just the second Harvard men’s basketball player in program history to appear on the list, joining the ranks of Jeremy Lin ’10.
On Sunday, Saunders tallied 24 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, three blocks, and three assists in a loss to Holy Cross.
Just before the Harvard men’s basketball team started off its season, it already began to plan for the next one. On Tuesday, Vermont Academy three-star guard Corey Johnson became the fourth player to join the Crimson’s class of 2015.
Johnson, who boasts size (6’6”) and a nice shooting touch, is part of Harvard coach Tommy Amaker’s effort in recent classes to replace the shooting that left Cambridge last spring—when able shooters Brandyn Curry ’13-14, Kyle Casey ’13-14, and Laurent Rivard ’14 graduated.
The signing cements Harvard’s growing ability to recruit north of the border. Johnson, who is from Ontario, would be the fourth Canadian on the Harvard roster—joining freshman Chris Egi (Markham, Ontario) and juniors Agunwa Okolie (Ajax, Ontario) and Patrick Steeves (Montreal, Quebec).
Johnson will join Tommy McCarthy, Weisner Perez, and Blasa Dragovic in the four-person class, which could expand to five later this fall. McCarthy and Johnson, along with current sophomore Corbin Miller and freshman Andre Chatfield, will be the core of the future in the backcourt for Amaker’s squad.
After the Harvard men’s basketball team (1-0) opened its season with a 21-point win over Cambridge neighbor MIT, it faces a stiffer challenge Sunday against Holy Cross in the Coaches v. Cancer tripleheader. Below, The Back Page takes a quick look at the three main things to keep your eye on heading into Sunday’s tilt.
In his first Bracketology prediction of the year, ESPN expert Joe Lunardi has placed the Crimson as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This would be the highest seed that Harvard has ever had in the Big Dance by a factor of a half after the Crimson entered the Big Dance last year as a then-record 12th seed.