Three years ago, Mike Smith and Seth Towns played against each other in the Ivy League. Last week, the two made a big impression on the day of the quarterfinals of the G20 tournament.
Smith from Colombia had 18 points and 15 assists, beating Michigan over Maryland. Then Towns, a former Harvard star, scored three points in overtime to overtake Purdue of Ohio.
“A lot of people in the Ivy League look down on me. You quote or not only for academics. “But we have players who can play,” Smith said that day. “Not only today, but throughout the season we have shown that the Ivy League boys can play.”
There are no Ivy League teams in this year’s post-season. The conference ended its season due to a coronavirus epidemic, but the league is still represented in the NCAA tournament by both men and women. Some of the nation’s top teams have Ivy level transfers that make a significant contribution, which is a testament to how much the conference has improved in recent years on the basketball court.
In addition to Smith and Towns, Yale Jordan Ward Brunner is currently in Alabama and Harvard’s Katie Benzan is in Maryland. This week Benzan was awarded the Pan-Armenian Honors.
Smith came to Michigan after leading the Ivy as a middle-aged man. The 5-foot-11 defender has started every game for the Wolverines this season. They do not need him to shoot like he did in Colombia, but he has adapted well to the top ten with a pass in every game.
Towns was named Ivy Player of the Year in 2018, but missed the next two seasons due to injury issues. He was a player in the state of Ohio, but his minutes increased during the “Big Ten” tournament, he scored 12 points per season in the victory over “Purdue”.
In 2019 և In 2020, Bruner played for the Ivy League teams in Yale, then moved to Alabama. The 6-foot-10 striker has been struggling with knee problems, but has been playing regularly since returning last month.
“He draws well, adjusts well, transmits well. “His skills are high,” said Crimson Tide coach Nate Oates. “He has a presence about himself. I think he really helped our seniors who were already here. ”
Always always adjust for each transfer. Now that he’s in Michigan, Smith’s playmaking is often more important than his goals. Benzene’s role also changed after playing as a security guard at Harvard. Ashley Oowsu is there to settle it in Maryland.
“Coach (Brenda) Fries still wants me to be the leader of that voice in court, which I was, so there are a lot of similarities between my two roles,” said Benzan. “But the main difference is that I have the freedom to focus more on my shot in the sense of being a clean shooter.”
And he fired. This season, Benzene made 50.6% of his 3-point attempts, which is the best result in the nation.
Over the past decade, Ivy has taken quiet steps. Cornell, Harvard-Yale men’s teams have all won the NCAA Tournament since 2010. In 2015, Princeton wives did the same.
In 2019, Yale junior Mye Oni entered the NBA project early and moved to the second round. Last year, Princeton’s Bella Alari was the fifth choice in the WNBA draft. Earlier this month, former Princeton star Devin Canada won the MVP award in the G League Finals.
So if one of Ivy’s best players becomes available as a gradual transfer, it is not surprising to see interest in major projects.
“There was a lot going on when we targeted Bruner as the number one transfer we wanted to get,” said Oates. “It’s just that our style of play is one, his level of skill is great. The more I studied his film, the more relevant it became than I initially thought. ”
Benzene said he was still friendly with Townsey և Bryce Eiken, another former Harvard champion who just missed the NCAA Tournament with Seton Hall this year.
“I’m great friends with Bryce and Seth, especially Seth in the Big Ten. We met when I was in Ohio when he came to Maryland. “We are following each other’s successes,” he said. “I really want Seth to get it from men.”
The big question for Ivy is what will happen when the games resume there. Will the league be able to get to where it left off before the start of this season?
For now, players like Smith have to carry the torch to some extent. He said he still hears a lot from his former teammates.
“They keep congratulating me, winning or losing,” Smith said. “This season is not just for me, my family, but it is for them, because they are not there to play for themselves.”
The author of the AP report is On Enner.
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