Pictured: Harvard players celebrate the Crimson's win at
Boston College last season (Photo: John Quackenbos)
A group of four seniors - Harvard's only upperclassmen - will lead the Crimson into the 2009-10 basketball season which begins Friday, Nov. 13 at Holy Cross.
Do everything standout Jeremy Lin and deep threat Dan McGeary are joined by a formidable post duo in Doug Miller and Pat Magnarelli in leading a team that will lean heavily on its youth with five sophomores and seven freshmen.
Despite its astounding youth, the Crimson is highly regarded having been picked by league pundits to finish in the upper division. With a healthy season that has eluded the Crimson for years - the results could be even better despite the graduation of all-league players and current professionals Drew Housman and Evan Harris.
Always an issue in the game, staying healthy will be of utmost importance for the Crimson which was devastated by injuries to its frontcourt players as the team often suited up just 1-2 healthy players throughout the 2008-09 campaign.
The biggest piece on the health-side of the equation will again be Magnarelli, an all-league talent who has missed the last year and a half with two separate knee injuries. At the midpoint of the 2007-08 season, Magnarelli was leading the Ivy League in several statistical categories with 58 percent shooting from the floor, 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game before going down against Dartmouth. Fully recovered during preseason last year, Magnarelli again went down just days before the team's opener at New Hampshire. .
Magnarelli's injury was not all bad for the Crimson however as Miller earned his opportunity to show his impressive aptitude for the game. Miller started 18 games and shot over 70 percent from the floor but after going for double figures in three of four games in the middle of the season, suffered a foot fracture and missed the final 10 games of Ivy play.
Joining his classmates with injury woes was McGeary, who missed final nine games of the season with a knee injury and will likely miss time at the beginning of this year after having more work done there in the preseason.
Lin and Miller have been named as team co-captains for the upcoming season, marking the first time since 1990-91 that the captaincy has been shared
Lin is the unquestioned focal point of Harvard's backcourt with the Palo Alto, Calif. native already having been selected to every preseason all-league team while also being mentioned by ESPN as one of the country's most versatile players.
Its no question why for Lin, who was the nation's only player to rank among the top 10 players in his conference in every statistical category. His defining moment on the national scene may have come as part of a 27-point, eight-assist, six-steal and two-block effort in a win at 17th-ranked Boston College in January just hours removed from the Eagles' win over top-ranked North Carolina. However, his ability was on show all season for the Lavietes Pavilion faithful as he ranked third in the league in scoring (17.8 ppg), second in assists (4.3 pg), first in steals (68 - 2.4 pg), sixth in field goal percentage (.502), seventh in 3-point percentage (.400), eighth in free throw percentage (.744), first in free throw attempts (168) and made FT's (125), ninth in rebounding (5.5) and 10th in blocked shots (18).
During the season, USA Today ran a piece on Lin in its "Who's in Your Five?" section. Lin was mentioned as one of the top five players or teams that we wished had more television exposure
Sophomores Oliver McNally and Max Kenyi figure to see considerable playing time with McNally taking on point guard duties for the departed Housman and Kenyi getting more minutes on the wing form graduated captain Andrew Pusar. McNally appeared in all 28 games and made three starts at point guard including the season opener while recording a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and averaged over 23 minutes per game while showing the ability to make big shots.
Kenyi burst onto the collegiate scene with 17 points in the opener at UNH and had 25 steals in 26 games while averaging over 20 minutes per game despite playing through a thumb injury throughout the year.
Along with deep threat McGeary and rookie Peter Edelson, a trio of high-profile guards in Brandyn Curry, Dee Giger and Christian Webster will also look to make their mark as part of head coach Tommy Amaker's second recruiting class. Curry is a lefty point guard with a soft shooting stroke while Giger is a 6-6 threat from the win and Webster was the Gatorade Maryland State Player of the Year.
Keith Wright was Harvard's third-leading scorer a year-ago at 8.0 per game while placing second on the team in rebounds at 5.5 per game with a team-high 55 offensive boards. Wright will be down low by highly-regarded freshman Kyle Casey who has already garnered attention, along with Webster, as two of the Ivy's top rookies. Sophomore Andrew Van Nest, after missing his freshman year with shoulder surgery, will stretch defense with deft outside shooting.
Hugh Martin, who missed considerable time as a freshman with injuries will look to turn his athleticism into playing time while freshmen Jeff Georgatos and Spencer deMars will also vie for time.
Harvard opens its season at Holy Cross and opens its home slate of games Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. against William & Mary. Harvard will play 13 home games including home games against Rice (Dec. 2) and George Washington (Dec. 30).
Harvard's road schedule is filled with tough matchups including a three-game stretch at Connecticut, Boston College and Georgetown and a West coast trip to Seattle's Key Arena and then up to Santa Clara.
Harvard's Ivy League season commences Jan. 9 against Dartmouth in the traditional Ancient Eight opening game. The teams will once again play each other in back-to-back games although the second meeting this season will come 14 days later, on Jan. 23 following Harvard's winter break.