While the Ivy League graduated a number of talented players this past offseason, there’s still a bunch of talent in the league and it is augmented by the return of Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry at Harvard. Figuring out where they fit on the Harvard roster, let alone the all-conference pecking order is quite the task.
Also note that these two all-conference teams assume that Cornell’s Shonn Miller is going to miss the entire season, which is becoming more and more likely. If Miller does play he’d obviously be included on the First Team.
Fran Dougherty, F, Penn — If Dougherty can stay healthy he’ll be one of the best players in the Ivy League. Of course that’s a big “if” for the senior forward. Due to injuries Dougherty played only 13 games last season. Still, when he was on the court Dougherty certainly was effective. He had a 101.2 offensive rating thanks to shooting 57.7% on two-point attempts.
Wesley Saunders, G-F, Harvard — The Ivy League’s leading returning scorer is one of the top players in the nation. The versatile 6’5” swingman even added a touch of three-point shooting to his arsenal last season, shooting 50% on 20 attempts from beyond the arc. The scariest part about Saunders is that he’s just a junior. He’ll terrorize the Ivy League for another season after this one.
Siyani Chambers, G, Harvard — Chambers burst onto the scene during his freshman season partly due Brandyn Curry’s unexpected departure. Even with Curry returning to the Crimson it seems like Chambers is definitely going to have the opportunity to put up all-conference type numbers. Chambers led the Ivy League with 5.6 apg last season, but he also managed to finish sixth in scoring at 12.4 ppg. He might not play 93.4% of Harvard’s minutes like he did a season ago, but Chambers should be on the court enough that opponents will feel the impact of his considerable talent.
Sean McGonagill, G, Brown — The lifeblood of Brown’s backcourt McGonagill is going to have to figure out how to keep the Bears’ offense efficient while replacing former running mate Matt Sullivan. McGonagill and Sullivan had complementary features to their game that helped drive the Bears’ offense last season. As Brown moves towards a more forward-oriented attack it’ll still rely on McGonagill to make plays via the pass (3.9 apg) and creating his own shot (14.0 ppg).
Denton Koon, F, Princeton — Ian Hummer is gone and someone has to replace all of the possession he used. Who better than the 6’8” Koon. He nominally lined up everywhere from center to shooting guard last season for the Tigers and was particularly efficient on the offensive end. As other people have pointed out, the question for Koon is whether he can remain efficient without Hummer drawing the attention of the opponent’s defenders. Last season Koon shot 63% at the rim according to Hoop-math.com, which was the highest of any rotation player for the Tigers, but 70% of those were assisted. Who is going to have that knack for getting cutters the ball in the perfect place this season?
Kyle Casey, F, Harvard — Two seasons ago Casey was Harvard’s go-to player. He used 26% of the team’s possessions while on the court and had an offensive rating of 104.6. The reason he’s on the second team instead of the first are questions about how Casey and Saunders will co-exist in the offense. Both want the ball and are very good at scoring once they get it. If Casey has to defer a bit more thanks to the upgrade in talent, how will that change his game?
Armani Cotton, F, Yale — One of the best defensive rebounders in the country, Cotton finished the 2012-13 season strong. From January 19 on he started every game until the season finale against Penn. Cotton was one of the most efficient players on the Bulldogs and he rewarded James Jones with a number of solid performances down the stretch. Yale’s front court is certainly crowded, but Cotton could breakthrough during his junior season.
T.J. Bray, G, Princeton — Bray increased his minutes, usage rate and offensive rating as a junior. That’s a tough trio to pull off, but in order for the Tigers to remain competitive in the Ivy League race he might need to do it again. Bray sliced 20 turnovers off his total last season while playing more minutes. Because he takes more than 50% of his shots from three-point range there’s no guarantee that Bray will be quite as efficient offensively this season, but he certainly has the potential.
Gabas Maldunas, F, Dartmouth — The Big Green are hoping to stay out of the Ivy League cellar this season and the 6’8” Maldunas is a big reason why. Last season he grabbed 6.9 rpg (3rd in the Ivy League) and scored 11.4 ppg (tied for 9th). Still, Maldunas had some nights where he just disappeared. He took six or fewer shots in half of Dartmouth’s 14 Ivy League games last season. In order to become one of the top players in the league he’ll have to find a way to prevent teams from taking him away so easily.
Tony Hicks, G, Penn — While Hicks’ offensive rating last season certainly wasn’t impressive, what was is the burden he took on offensively. The 6’2” guard used 28.5% of Penn’s possessions while on the court, which was 91st nationally. That aggressiveness is hard to teach and certainly has the potential to translate into more scoring as Hicks gets his feet underneath of him during his sophomore season. Besides a clunker in a two-point win at Brown, Hicks showed during the final eight games of the Ivy League season that he can be an effective floor general. Now he’ll have to be more consistent.
Honorable Mentions: Alex Rosenberg, F, Columbia; Grant Mullins, G, Columbia; Brandyn Curry, G, Harvard; Nolan Cressler, G, Cornell; Darien Nelson-Henry, F, Penn; Justin Sears, Yale