Men’s Basketball Celebrates 2016-17 Season

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot

BOSTON – The Harvard men's basketball team handed out its team awards Monday evening at the Harvard Club of Boston while celebrating its 2016-17 season.

The event was attended by members of the team, coaches, friends, family, administrators, alumni and the University community.

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 co-captain Siyani Chambers. The award is presented to the Harvard student-athlete who plays the most minutes, exemplifying Tom's passion, commitment, and dedication to the program. As a senior, Chambers averaged 9.9 points and an Ivy League-best 5.9 assists per game, plying in over 32 minutes per game.

The next award presented was the Henry Zimmerman Free Throw Shooting Accuracy Award, which went to freshman Bryce Aiken. The Randolph, New Jersey product led the team with an 83.4 percent clip from the charity stripe, connecting on 84-of-95 attempts, good for second in the Ivy League. Aiken made 45 of his first 47 attempts from the line. 

Rookie Henry Welsh 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. Welsh, who thanks his coaches after every practice or lift, averaged 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

The John Harnice '84 Spirit Award, presented to the student-athlete who best exemplifies John's spirit, dedication and concern for his follow man, was awarded to senior Matt Fraschilla. Seen as an extension of the coaching staff, Fraschilla saw action in three games and, after getting a start on senior night against Brown, nailed a three from the corner to put the Crimson ahead 11-2 at the under 16-media timeout.

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 Justin Bassey. The Denver, Colorado native played in 27 games, starting 20, including 15 of the last 16 and averaged 6.1 points per game and 4.6 rebounds.

The final award of the night, the Raymond P. Lavietes '36 Most Valuable Player Award, went to both Aiken and Chambers. 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.

Chambers, a four-time All-Ivy League selection, including a first team honoree this year, finished 12th in Harvard history with 1,287 career points and second among Crimson annals with 605 career assists.

Aiken, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was the second freshman ever - joining Chambers - to earn first team All-Ivy League honors. He played in 26 games, starting nine, including six of the last seven and averaged a team-best 14.5 points, the most since Ralph James in 1987-88 (14.5). Aiken added 2.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game, scoring 20-plus eight times and double-figures 18 times.

The evening concluded with the naming of next year's captain, as voted by the team. Chris Egi will serve as the lone captain for the 2017-18 season. Egi started seven of the 15 games he appeared in, averaging 2.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.