#85 Harvard Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Harvard Crimson


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #85

Conference Rank: #1 Ivy League

Harvard Logo
Starting in 2009-2010, Harvard went to the postseason six times in a row, including four straight NCAA appearances at the end of that run. In 2015-2016, Coach Tommy Amaker and company took a big step back and went 14-16 overall and 6-8 in conference play. But the Crimson began to turn things around last season and went 18-9 overall with a second place finish in the Ivy League. And second place was good enough for a crack at the NCAA Tournament, but Harvard fell to Yale in their conference tournament debut.
2016-17 Record: 18-10, 10-4
2016-17 Postseason: None
Coach: Tommy Amaker
Coach Record: 193-103 at Harvard, 369-242 overall
Who’s Out:
The big departure for Harvard is Siyani Chambers. The point guard averaged 9.9 points per game and led the Crimson with 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals. Chambers picked up where he left off after missing the 2015-2016 season. His outside shot was a bit more inconsistent than years past, but Chambers was still a very dangerous scorer and an even more dangerous distributor. Zeno Edosomwan only averaged 17.3 minutes per game as a senior and averaged 7.0 points and 6.4 rebounds. The year prior he tallied 13.1 points and 9.9 rebounds. Edosomwan’s decrease in production had more to do with the development of the freshmen frontcourt than anything that was Edosomwan’s fault. Matt Fraschilla and Corbin Miller have also run out of eligibility after seeing limited action in 2016-2017.
Who’s In:
With so many players returning, Coach Amaker will not need much, if any, production from his three incoming freshmen. However, it is another talented class that will push for minutes right away. Danilo Djuricic has experience at the international level, playing for the Canadian youth squads. He is a big 6-8 forward who can stretch the defense with his shooting ability. Rio Haskett and Reed Farley will add more options on the perimeter. Haskett has the potential to crack the regular rotation as a freshman, especially if his outside shot is falling.
Who to Watch:
The Crimson have a very impressive group of sophomores that will win an Ivy League title or two, or three, before their collegiate careers are over. Bryce Aiken led the team in scoring as a freshman, averaging 14.5 points and 2.8 assists. He is a great scorer from anywhere on the floor and now will have to help replace Chambers when it comes to ball handling. Justin Bassey started 20 games as a freshman and averaged 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. He is a big 6-5 guard who can hit the glass effectively. If asked to score more, he can do it. Bassey has the size to attack the basket and he has a nice outside shot too. In the frontcourt, Seth Towns and Chris Lewis are well on their way to dominating the Ivy League. Towns averaged 12.5 points and 4.4 rebounds and is the forward who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting. Lewis added 7.7 points per game and 4.9 rebounds. He is the more traditional forward who will stay in the paint. The biggest need for Lewis will be to toughen up on the glass in order to replace the rebounding left behind by Edosomwan. But there is another sophomore who will help out on the glass. Henry Welsh played in 16 games as a freshman, starting six, and averaged 3.1 points and 2.6 rebounds. Robert Baker, another 6-10 forward, averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Final Projection:
Harvard’s sophomore class is amazing, but there are a few upperclassmen on the team too. Corey Johnson could be the only one in the starting lineup or the regular rotation though. He is a great outside shooter and connected on 41.3 percent of his 143 attempts from beyond the arc. When Johnson is knocking down his shots, he can score in bunches. As the upperclassman of the group, he may need to emerge as a leader on the floor. And leadership could be the one thing that slows down this Harvard team. The amount of talent is immense, but Chambers did a good job of pulling everybody together last season. But in the Ivy League this amount of talent should lead to another conference championship even if there is a lack of leadership. If leaders can be found though, Harvard will be a dangerous team come March too.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Bryce Aiken, Sophomore, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Corey Johnson, Junior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Justin Bassey, Sophomore, Guard, 6.1 points per game
Seth Towns, Sophomore, Forward, 12.5 points per game
Chris Lewis, Sophomore, Forward, 7.7 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.9 (202nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.8 (39, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (152, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (41, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (102, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (147, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (51, 2)
Rebound Margin: 1.6 (131, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (109, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (198, 5)