BOSTON – The Harvard men's basketball team handed out its team awards Monday evening at the Harvard Club of Boston while celebrating its 2015-16 season.
The event was attended by members of the team, coaches, friends, family, administrators, alumni and the University community.
As part of the evening, legendary Boston sports writer Bob Ryan addressed those members in attendance.
The team recognized its six major award winners, which were voted on by the student-athletes themselves. The first award of the night was the Thomas G. Stemberg '71, MBA '73 Iron Man Award, which went to senior Agunwa Okolie. The award is presented to the Harvard student-athlete who plays the most minutes, exemplifying Tom's passion, commitment, and dedication to the program. Okolie, the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, led the Crimson in minutes with 930 total, averaging 31.0 per game, and capped his career with 105 games played, good for 16th in program history.
The next award presented was the Henry Zimmerman Free Throw Shooting Accuracy Award, which went to freshman Tommy McCarthy. The Rancho Santa Fe, California, product led the team with an 83.3 percent clip from the charity stripe, connecting on 55-of-66 attempts.
Evan Cummins was bestowed The Floyd S. Wilson Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the Harvard student-athlete whose respect for sportsmanship recalls the manner and values of Floyd Wilson, head coach of Harvard from 1954 through 1968. The senior captain was one of two members of the Crimson to appear in all 30 games, leading the team in shooting percentage with a 61.3 clip from the floor and finishing second in program history with a career field goal percentage of 59.1. In addition, his 75 career blocks rank 10th in program history.
The following award was the John Harnice '84 Spirit Award, presented to the student-athlete who best exemplifies John's spirit, dedication and concern for his follow man. Freshman Balsa Dragovic took home the honor after appearing in nine games in his rookie campaign, registering 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Up next was the Hamilton Fish '10 Award, presented annually to the Most Improved Player on the Crimson. 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. The year's award was presented to Patrick Steeves.
After missing the previous three seasons due to injury, Steeves broke on to the college basketball scene in his final year in Cambridge. Steeves led the Ivy League shooting 45.8 percent from beyond-the-arc, and averaged 9.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest. A native of Montreal, Quebec, Steeves was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District I first team. The senior tallied 10 double-digit efforts on the season, including a 25-point performance against Princeton March 4, in which he also swatted the game-sealing block to guide Harvard to a 73-71 victory.
The final award of the night, the Raymond P. Lavietes '36 Most Valuable Player Award, went to both Okolie and Zena Edosomwan. Named for the former standout and loyal supporter of Harvard's athletic program, Ray Lavietes was a model of generosity, mentoring, friendship and philanthropy, with his mantra being quality of life for players at all levels.
Okolie, the lone member of the team to start all 30 games, was one of the nation's best perimeter defenders, matching up with the opponent's top perimeter player each night. During the team's appearance at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, ESPN analyst Corey Alexander stated "We start talking about best in the nation, we need to talk about Okolie maybe being one of the best defenders in the nation." Hailing from Ajax, Ontario, the senior posted a career-best stat line with 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, ranking second among the team. He reached double-digits in 11 of 14 conference games, twice led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, and turned in the only three double-doubles of his career.
Edosomwan established himself as one of the top players in the Ivy League this season, leading the conference with 9.9 rebounds per game and adding 13.1 points per game to rank 12th. The junior matched the program-record for double-doubles in a season under Tommy Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball, with 12, and fell just four rebounds shy of becoming only the second Ivy Leaguer to average a double-double for a season since 1995-96. His 276 total rebounds this season were the seventh most in program history, while his 9.9 rebounds per game ranked ninth. The Los Angeles, California, product earned his first career postseason honors as he was named to the NABC All-District and All-Ivy second teams.
The evening concluded with the naming of next year's captains as voted by the team. Siyani Chambers, who missed this past year with a knee injury, will serve as captain for a second year after also earning the distinction as a junior in 2014-15. He will be joined by classmate Corbin Miller, who averaged 7.1 points in 30 games this season and ranks seventh in program history with 146 career 3-pointers.