Even though the Harvard men’s basketball team is returning three players who alternated at point guard, Crimson coach Frank Sullivan still maintains that he has not made up his mind as to who will start at the position.
“Point guard play for us last year was makeshift throughout the whole season,” Sullivan says. “That clearly is the position that we have to clean up dramatically.”
And here to help fix the problem is freshman guard Tyler Klunick, generally considered the most talented member of the class of ’08.
“[With] Tyler in the mix now, I think that should help create better competition in practice,” Sullivan says.
Klunick, the Springfield, Ill. native, is the most talked about recruit on the team, and for good reason. He graduated from Lanphier High School, which has produced two tremendous talents in the past few years. Andre Iguodala—who graduated from Lanphier three years ago and played his college ball at Arizona—was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers this year, and Klunick’s old classmate, Richard McBride, now plays for Illinois.
Undoubtedly, Klunick has the best shot at a starting job. As a high school senior, he was the leading scorer in his school’s conference, averaging 17 points per game.
“He has speed and quickness. He’s good at guarding the basketball,” Sulliavn says. “But I don’t think he’s comfortable yet. He’s still in that mode of college practice where his inexperience does show up.”
The transition off the court hasn’t been easy either.
“It was pretty difficult at first,” Klunick admits. “The hardest thing is trying to find time to do schoolwork. After spending so much time on basketball, you’re just totally beat and don’t want to do anything.”
Despite the adjustments that he needs to make, Klunick seems to feel right at home on the practice floor, doing what he loves best—playing basketball. Klunick also noted that the simplification of the offense that Sullivan instituted in the offseason has made his job that much easier.
“The plays are pretty simple,” he says. “The coach did a good job in making sure everyone knew what they were doing. [The offense] is pretty easy to grasp.”
But when asked if he thinks he will earn a starting spot on the team, Klunick says matter-of-factly, “The biggest thing is just winning games this year.”
Klunick will certainly have a large section of the crowd cheering for him tomorrow night in the season opener versus Notre Dame, as his hometown is just a few hours away from South Bend, Ind.
“I’ve got a bunch of people coming,” Klunick said. “[If given a chance to start], I say go for it.”