#42 Harvard Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Harvard Crimson

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Ivy League

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Following Harvard’s opening round upset over third seeded New Mexico in last year’s NCAA Tournament, the expectations are very high for the Crimson. Perhaps they are not high enough. Coach Tommy Amaker returns all but one key contributor and this is a much, much more experienced team than last year. The return of Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey, who missed last season after the big cheating scandal, means Coach Amaker is practically returning two extra starters. Curry, a 6-1 point guard, averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 assists two seasons ago and he is always under control when running the offense. Casey is very productive on both ends of the floor. The 6-7 senior averaged 11.4 points and 5.5 boards back in 2011-2012.

2012-13 Record: 20-10, 11-3
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tommy Amaker
Coach Record: 112-66 at Harvard, 289-204 overall

Who’s Out:
Christian Webster started 24 games and ranked fourth on the team in scoring during his senior season. For the most part Webster was an outside shooter and the Crimson have plenty of dangerous shooters who are more consistent than Webster anyway.

Who’s In:
Center Zena Edosomwan, small forward Hunter Myers and point guard Matt Fraschilla are not going to have an easy time finding playing time this year. However, Edosomwan is a superb talent who is expected to be ready to fill in a few minutes in the paint. No team can have too many big men and Harvard has a tough and explosive 6-9 scorer in Edosomwan.

Who to Watch:
Curry will have to fight his way back into a backcourt that dominated the Ivy League. Siyani Chambers took over for Curry at the point and averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists. He also tallied 1.5 steals per game and knocked down 42.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Even Curry cannot move Chambers out of a starting spot, but fortunately there is room for both on the floor at the same time since both can easily move off of the ball. Laurent Rivard is the other great shooter on the team. As a junior the 6-5 guard connected on 40.2 percent of his three-point attempts. He will not do much scoring inside the arc, but he does have enough size to play at the three spot and help out on the glass. Wesley Saunders is a 6-5 wing, but he will play at the four spot quite a bit. He developed into the leader of the squad last season and can do it all. Saunders averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals. That is quite amazing and even with all of the talent around him, Saunders will still put up huge numbers and is the clear favorite to take home conference player of the year honors. The only potential problem on the perimeter is the lack of experienced depth. Promising sophomore wing Agunwa Okolie can step in at the small forward spot on occasion and Saunders can slide down too. With plenty of options up front and the occasional need to play big anyway, the lack of depth on the perimeter should not be too much of a concern, barring any injuries.

Final Projection:
At 250 pounds, Kenyatta Smith is the experienced big body in the paint. As a sophomore in 2012-2013, Smith started 15 games and averaged 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. His shot blocking ability should get Smith back into the starting five for now. When Smith was not starting last season, Jonah Travis was. The 6-6 junior is undersized, but there are not many more efficient scorers in the Ivy League. Steve Moundou-Missi led Harvard in rebounding and had a very surprising breakout season in 2012-2013. He may not be able to find the same amount of minutes this time around, but he has proven that he can be productive when Coach Amaker calls his name. Sophomores Evan Cummins and Michael Hall have the talent to make a big impact, yet they probably will not be given the chance as Casey and Edosomwan surpass them on the depth chart. It may be too early to look ahead to March, but it would be a huge surprise if this team failed to win the Ivy League. And once in the NCAA Tournament, the Crimson may be favored to win a game.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Siyani Chambers, Sophomore, Guard, 12.4 points per game
Brandyn Curry, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Laurent Rivard, Senior, Guard, 10.3 points per game
Wesley Saunders, Junior, Guard, 16.2 points per game
Kenyatta Smith, Junior, Center, 5.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.3 (148th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (109, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (16, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.1 (234, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (140, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.8 (7, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (78, 4)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (232, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (141, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (182, 4)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#91 Zena Edosomwan


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