Men's Basketball Celebrates 2014 Ivy League Championship at Annual Banquet
Chambers and Saunders shared the Raymond P. Lavietes '36 Most Valuable Player Award (Gil Talbot).
BOSTON - The Harvard men's basketball team held its annual awards banquet Monday evening at the Harvard Club of Boston to celebrate its 2013-14 Ivy League championship and the team's second straight trip to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
The event was attended by members of the team, coaches, friends, family, administrators, and alumni.
The Crimson received commemorative championship plaques at the banquet, honoring Harvard's fourth straight Ivy League crown. The team went 27-5 overall and 13-1 against the Ancient Eight, setting new program records for overall wins and conference victories. Harvard also earned a third straight berth into the NCAA tournament where it advanced to the third round for a second consecutive season with a 61-57 win over fifth-seeded Cincinnati. Along the way Harvard also won the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout title, and had an Ivy League record six individuals named to the all-conference teams.
The awards presentation began with Laurent Rivard, Kyle Casey and Wesley Saunders, who were given commemorative basketballs for eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau. Rivard and Casey accomplished the feat in the same game against Green Bay, with Rivard finishing his career ranked 11th in program history with 1,270 points while Casey will graduate ranked 13th all-time with 1,242 points. Saunders reached the milestone in the NCAA tournament versus Michigan State, becoming the 32nd member of the Crimson's 1,000-point club.
The six major awards, which were voted on by team members, were also announced. The first varsity award handed out was the Thomas G. Stemberg '71, MBA '73 Iron Man Award. The award is presented annually to the Harvard player who plays the most minutes, exemplifying Tom's passion, commitment and dedication to the program. Sophomore point guard Siyani Chambers earned the distinction for a second straight year after starting all 32 games for the Crimson and leading the squad with 1,099 minutes played. Chambers averaged 34.3 minutes per game, good for third in the conference.
The following award handed out was the Henry Zimmerman Free Throw Shooting Accuracy Award, which went to Rivard for the second time in as many years. The Saint-Bruno, Quebec, native led the team shooting 81.0 percent from the line as he connected on 51 of his 63 attempts for the year. Rivard will graduate having shot 83.0 percent from the charity stripe for his career, and as the program's all-time leader in three-pointers with 287 career makes. This year he was named to the All-Ivy League second team after averaging 11.4 points per game against conference opponents while shooting 48.3 percent from three.
Next was the Floyd S. Wilson Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the Harvard player whose respect for sportsmanship recalls the manner and values of Floyd Wilson, head coach of Harvard from 1954 through 1968. That award went to junior forward Jonah Travis, who appeared in 30 of the team's 32 games while averaging 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Travis, who shot 56.0 percent from the floor on the year, went for 20 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener versus Holy Cross on Nov. 10, and led the team in rebounding five times.
Up next was the John Harnice '84 Spirit Award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies John's spirit, dedication, and concern for his fellow man. This year's spirit award went to freshman forward Zena Edosomwan. A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Edosomwan averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in his first season in Cambridge, and scored in double-figures four times. He turned in a season-high 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting against MIT on Nov. 12, and led the team to a win over Brown on Feb. 7 with 12 points and five boards.
Next was the Hamilton Fish '10 Award, presented annually to the Most Improved Player on the squad. The award is named for the former Harvard football All-American, whose commitment to improving himself and the lives of others was evidenced throughout his life. Fish was a hero in the First World War, and later served as a distinguished congressman from New York. This year's award was shared between two recipients, junior Steve Moundou-Missi and sophomore Evan Cummins.
Moundou-Missi was an All-Ivy League second team performer, averaging 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game overall. He contributed 12.6 points per game during Ivy League play while shooting 62.2 percent from the field. Moundou-Missi also totaled 43 blocks on the year, the eighth most in program history, while leading the team in scoring five times and in rebounding 12 times. The Yaounde, Cameroon, native turned in three double-doubles, was named the Ivy League Player of the Week once and was selected to the Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament team.
Cummins appeared in 30 games and averaged 10.1 minutes after playing in just six contests as a freshman. The 6-9 forward contributed 2.8 points and 1.9 rebounds per game, scoring in double-figures twice while also leading the team in rebounding twice. He turned in his best performance of the year in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout, scoring 10 points against TCU while blocking six shots to set a new championship game record.
Finally, the Raymond P. Lavietes '36 Most Valuable Player Award was presented. Named for the former standout and loyal supporter of Harvard's athletic programs, Ray Lavietes was a model of generosity, mentoring, friendship and philanthropy, with his mantra being quality of life for players at all levels. For the second consecutive year, Chambers and Saunders shared the award.
In addition to being Harvard's Iron Man, Chambers was named to the All-Ivy League second team, the NABC All-District 13 second team and was a Watch List Finalist for the 2014 Bob Cousy Award. The Golden Valley, Minn., native ranked second in the conference with 4.6 assists per game, while also ranking third in both assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0) and steals per game (1.3). Chambers was the Crimson's second leading scorer at 11.1 points per contest, and reached double-figures in scoring 21 times. He also led the team in assists 16 times with Harvard going a perfect 14-0 in games he dished out at least five helpers. Chambers was named the Ivy League Player of the Week three times, and was chosen to the Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team.
Saunders filled the stat sheet at both ends of the court, ranking in the Ivy League's top 10 in seven statistical categories including scoring (8th, 14.0 ppg), assists (3rd, 3.9 apg), steals (1st, 1.7 spg), blocks (8th, 0.8 bpg), field goal percentage (10th, 46.6 pct.), assist-to-turnover ratio (5th, 1.7) and minutes (4th, 33.7 min.). As a result of his play, he was named the Ivy League Player of the Year, was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League first team, and was also chosen to the Lou Henson All-America team, USBWA All-District I Team and NABC All-District 13 first team. Sunders scored in double-figures 21 times with six 20-point performances, while leading the team in points 12 times, in rebounding six times and in assists 10 times. Like Chambers, he was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on three occasions and was honored as the Most Outstanding Player at the Great Alaska Shootout.
At the conclusion of the night, Chambers and Moundou-Missi were announced as captains for the 2014-15 season as voted by their teammates.