Key Sophomore Nucleus Looking Ahead to Success

Rankin, Gilmore, Mann Comfortable

So they're not exactly the Michigan Fab Five.

But that didn't stop Harvard sophomores Michael Gilmore, Terrence Mann and Darren Rankin from playing a big role on the Harvard men's basketball team last year.

As freshmen, all three got considerable amounts of playing time, and they're hungry for more this season, when they'll form part of the nucleus of the team.

The entire trio, ironically, found the initial adjustment to college basketball difficult.

"It was a very tough transition," Gilmore said. "It took about half a season to get used to the different style. When I first came on, everyone was a lot better than I expected." Rankin and Mann expressed a similar surprise.


"I guess I didn't know what to expect," Rankin said. "Coming from the Midwest, I didn't know too much about the Ivy League. I had to work much harder than I thought I would."

"I came from a different high school background," said Mann, a California resident. "It took me awhile to get caught up. For half the season I didn't really know the plays very well.

At a place like Harvard, such difficulties merit no surprise, according to Sullivan: "The transition from high school to a Division One college is demanding, especially when you factor in the academics."

Late night study sessions notwithstanding, the sophomores encouraged the coaching staff with their progress.

"All three of them have maintained a high level of play consistently," Sullivan said. "Darren and Mike became starters, and Terry proved to be valuable off the bench." Their talents weren't lost on the rest of the Ivy League, either.

"I think they're going to be great players," said Fran Dunphy, head coach of the powerful Pennsylvania team. "They've had a significant impact. Darren's a great rebounder, and Gilmore has good shooting ability."

The three sophomores' success took a variety of forms. In addition to their oncourt exploits, they all became friends away from the game.

Gilmore and Rankin are roommates in Leverett House, and Mann, who lives in Cabot, is a close friend of both.

"We're all pretty good friends," Gilmore said. "[Darren] and I had so much in common we became roommates."

"We became friends quickly," Rankin said. "Terry and Mike knew each other from camps, and I became friends with them. We hang out a lot."

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