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Ivy League Offseason Update

October 17, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Ivy League Offseason News Update

by Owen Bochner

More Restrictions, Less Restrictions: The annual Ivy Group Council of Presidents meeting in June brought some good news and some bad news to Ancient Eight athletes and teams. The bad news is a tightening of admissions standards for varsity athletes, including placing a cap on the number of athletes enrolled during each four year period. However, the seven-week off rule, instituted by the Council in 2002, has been modified to allow more regular off-season practice time. The original incarnation of the rule required that all teams take seven weeks off from team-related activity during the academic year and stated that the minimum number of consecutive off days be seven. The newly modified rule still requires that all athletes take 49 days off from athletic activity – including official and captain’s practices, team meetings, organized weight training, etc. – but now the days do not have to be consecutive. This change is viewed as no small victory by student-athlete groups at each of the Ivy League schools.

Just say YES: After a successful one-year trial run, the Ivy League and the YES Network agreed in June on a two-year contract extension. Under the agreement, YES will produce and televise five Ivy football games and six basketball games in each of the next two years. YES also has an option for the 2005-06 season. Spero Dedes and Tate George were behind the mike for the first season of Ivy hoops on the network. Broadcasters for 2003-04 have not yet been announced.


Bare Bears: After winning 14 of its last 16 games to place second in the Ivy League behind Penn and a berth in the NIT, Brown lost two stars in guard Earl Hunt and forward Alai Nuualiitia to graduation. Both were first-team All-Ivy players, who, along with Jason Forte, comprised the first trio of first teamers in school history.

No Love: Providence College dropped the Bears from their 2003-04 schedule, instead scheduling Big 10 powerhouse Illinois on Dec. 9, the date originally allotted for the intra-city rivalry matchup.


Coaching Carousel: What started with the worst athletic year in the history of the Ivy League resulted in major changes at the top for the Lions’ men’s basketball program. Armond Hill was fired March 10 after an embarrassing 2-25 record (including 0-14 in league play.) Joseph Jones was hired to replace Hill in late April, joining his brother, Yale coach James Jones in the Ivy coaching fraternity.

Joseph Jones named his coaching staff in early June, tabbing Jim Engles of Rider, Mike Bramucci of Manhattan, and Chris Parsons as his assistant coaches. Jones’ regime also began a vigorous recruiting process, securing two commitments for the Class of 2008 by mid-September. Hill, meanwhile, rejoined the Atlanta Hawks on Sept. 29, when he was named as an assistant coach under Terry Stotts.

Shortening the Chain of Command: University president Lee Bollinger reformed the administrative structure of the athletic department in July, placing the department under his direct authority. Previously, athletic director John Reeves reported to the provost, Jonathan Cole, who was replaced over the summer by former history professor Alan Brinkley.


From the Land Down Under: The Big Red took a 10-day tour of Australia in May, playing four games in Sydney and Cairns. Cornell went 3-1 on the trip, defeating the New South Wales Under-18 All-Star team, 140-80; the Sutherland Sharks, 110-69; and the Cairns Marlins, 102-98. The Red lost the third game of the trip, falling to Kuyiam Pride, 115-109. Junior Cody Toppert averaged 29.8 points per game on the trip, while second-team All-Ivy selection Ka’Ron Barnes chipped in 23 ppg.

Quite a Scare: Gabe Stephenson has recovered now after being involved in a street altercation in his hometown of Denver over the summer. Stephenson was attempting to diffuse a confrontation, when he was attacked from behind. He sustained a concussion, a broken nose, a broken arm, and received 50 stitches in his lip. All of these injuries have since healed completely and Stephenson is expected to challenge for a starting job in Cornell’s frontcourt this season.

Un-Burdened: Former top assistant coach Mike Burden left Cornell in July to take a similar job with Florida International. In response to Burden’s departure, head coach Steve Donahue promoted assistants Joe Burke and Izzi Metz up one spot each on the staff. Burke will serve now was Donahue’s right-hand man, while Metz takes over the primary recruiting responsibilities. Paul Fortier, a former standout forward at the University of Washington, was named to the staff in September.


Doubly Tragic: Former Dartmouth star Brian Randall killed himself and three of his four children in September after losing a custody battle with his wife. Randall drove his car in front of a moving tractor trailer outside of Orlando, Fla., in an attempt to kill himself and his two older children. He killed his younger children previously by drowning them in a pond near his home.

Changes on Fauch’s Staff: Brian Curtin and Roger Carroll joined head coach Dave Faucher’s staff over the summer. Curtin was hired to replace Matt Allen, who left the Big Green to take a similar job at Western Carolina, while Carroll joined the staff as a volunteer assistant.

Harris to Germany: Charles Harris signed a professional contract with Wuppertal, and will continue his basketball career in that Dusseldorf suburb this winter. Harris served as the Green’s captain this past season. He led the team in scoring (12.2 points per game) and rebounding (4.7 rebounds per game) in 2002-03.


Winter time: Ivy League leading rebounder Sam Winter signed a pro contract with SAV Vacallo in Switzerland in August. He led the league with 8.1 rebounds per game last season. He was also second on the Crimson with 12.2 points per game.

Freeman for Humanity: Elliott Prasse-Freeman was awarded the Burr Scholarship in June following a stellar four-year career with Harvard. The Burr Scholarship is awarded to a Harvard senior athlete “who combines as nearly as possible Burr’s remarkable qualities of character, leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability.” Prasse-Freeman will use the scholarship to continue his work with the Habitat for Humanity, and to work on research he began last summer in Thailand on Burmese refugee camps.


High Honors for Ugonna: Penn standout forward Ugonna Onyekwe was named an honorable mention All-American, as well as a unanimous first-team All-Ivy and league player of the year. Onyekwe finished the season second in the league with 16.5 points per game.

Buenos Dias: The Quakers took a trip to Spain in August, winning four of six games. Penn beat Pozuelo, 75-68; Rayet Guadajara, 75-63; and Unicaja Malaga, 82-74, and 83-59. The Quakers lost to CB Granada, 86-82; and CB Tarragona, 89-63. Senior Jeff Schiffner led the team with 16.0 points per game over the trip, while senior Adam Chubb averaged 8.0 rebounds to lead the Quakers.

L.A. Dreams: After trying out with the Phoenix Suns, All-Ivy performer Koko Archibong signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in August. Archibong recorded 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game his senior year at Penn. In addition, Onyekwe spent several weeks with the New York Knicks during the summer before being released in July.


Logan Gone?: The Times of Trenton reported in late April that forward Andre Logan had decided to transfer from Princeton to Ivy rival Yale this offseason. However, several Tigers players and head coach John Thompson III denied the report, acknowledging only that Logan had discussed transferring in the past. They maintained, though, that no transfer decision had been made.

Nate for Gov: Former Princeton player Nate Walton threw his name into the mix in the recent California recall election, running as an independent candidate. Walton, who is the son of basketball legend Bill Walton and the brother of Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers, is currently a graduate student in business at Stanford.


High Hopes: Head coach James Jones continued his efforts in scheduling a top-quality non-quality schedule for the Bulldogs, as he included games against Connecticut and Wake Forest this season. Yale will open the season against Connecticut in the first round of the preseason NIT on Nov. 17. Two weeks later, the Bulldogs will again challenge themselves against Wake Forest at the Arena at Harbor Yard in nearby Bridgeport, Conn. This season’s schedule will also feature non-conference games at home, something that was missing last year. The Elis open at home against Sacred Heart on Dec. 4. Last season, Yale played its first 10 games on the road.

Dudley Retires: Yale alum Chris Dudley called it a career in September after 16 years in the NBA. Dudley spent time with Cleveland, New Jersey, Portland, New York, and Phoenix, mostly as a backup center. His biggest impact, though, was off the court where he devoted much of his time to children. In 1994, he began the Dudley Foundation, which operates a basketball camp for children with juvenile diabetes. Dudley was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 16.


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