Teams gear up and make a run at Princeton. Matt Morgan gets a new sidekick. Chris Lewis is headed to Dartmouth.
High transfer rates give college basketball plenty of player turnover each season. A whopping forty percent of men’s college basketball Division I athletes leave or switch schools before the end of their sophomore year. So, seeing players in different jerseys year-to-year is starting to become the norm.
but, it also raises a hypothetical question. What if teams could actually swap players mid-season?
Well, it would allow for a late NCAA Tournament push, or, more generally, movement of assets to orient for future seasons. NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster muses about this annually before the NBA trade deadline.
This week’s Ivy League Power Rankings features a single, strategic (though imaginary) trade for each team in the closing third of League play. See how many of these moves you’d condone, or propose your own in Comments below.
- Princeton Tigers (10-0)
The Tigers continue to remain unbeaten in League play with big wins over Yale and Brown this weekend. Princeton has given up an average of 62.5 points per game, good for 13th in the country. This defense has continued to show no sign of weakness, forcing frequent turnovers, which helps make up for their mediocre half-court attack.
Trade: Anthony Dallier (Guard, Yale) for Devin Cannady (Guard, Princeton)
The Tigers lack a true point guard who can control and space the offense. A floor general like Dallier would allow the Tigers to spread the team and use its weapons more efficiently.
The Bulldogs realize that this is Princeton’s year and Dallier, a senior, becomes expendable. In return, they receive Devin Cannady, another weapon to surround Makai Mason when he returns next season.
- Harvard Crimson (8-2)
Since the Crimson’s one-point loss against Princeton on February 4th, Harvard has won four straight, and are preparing for their eventual rematch at Princeton in two weeks. Harvard’s defense is not too far off from muting the Tigers’ dominance. While the Crimson are flying below Princeton’s undefeated season, they are more than capable of knocking off Princeton in the conference tournament.
Trade: JR Hobbie (Guard, Brown) for Christian Juzang (Guard, Harvard)
Juzang has been stuck at the back of Harvard’s rotation, and talented freshmen Bryce Aiken and Justin Bassey will also be around for another three years. Working harder on a team where he can develop through more court time could turn Juzang into a legitimate weapon. Harvard has invested wisely for the future, but they need a seasoned player now like JR Hobbie who can shoot, especially from beyond the arc.
- Yale (6-4)
After tallying a 6-1 record, the Bulldogs have lost their last 3 by a combined score of 43 points. While they still hold the third spot, Penn and Columbia are close behind. Yale moves the ball well but lacks a true presence in the front court. We’re going to get a little fancy and encourage you to consider a hypothetical three-way.
Trade: Trey Phills (Guard, Yale) to Dartmouth; Max Rothschild (Forward, Penn) to Yale; Wesley Dickinson (Forward, Dartmouth) to Penn
Max Rothschild gives Yale a front court asset for next year when star Maki Mason returns. Trey Phills would fit well as another talented guard in Dartmouth’s future rotation. Penn needs someone to throw elbows alongside freshman talent AJ Brodeur. Dickinson provides that second forward Penn needs.
- Penn (4-6)
The Quakers started 0-6 in conference play but have won their last 4. Their 4-guard line-up has finally started to prove effective. The lone forward, freshman AJ Brodeur, has solidified himself as a top big-man in the Ivy. It won’t be easy for the Quakers to maintain the fourth spot with games remaining against Harvard and Columbia, but if anyone can do it, it’s coach Steve Donahue. Of course, he took Cornell to the Sweet 16 in 2010.
Trade: Darnell Foreman (Guard, Penn) for Andrew Panayiotou (Forward, Columbia)
Panayiotou hasn’t played much for the Lions this season but has the size and potential to be a nice piece in Penn’s rotation. Columbia gets a reliable guard in Foreman, a junior, for a playoff push this season and next.
- Columbia (4-6)
The Lions are on a 4-game skid and have dropped 5 of their last 6. Columbia’s recent losses have been by 8 or fewer points, including a 1-point OT loss to Dartmouth. Columbia continues to have steady guard play but Luke Petrasek needs help in the front court. A conference tourney bid is still very much in play for the young Lions.
Trade: CJ Davis (Guard, Columbia) for Brandon Charnov (Center, Brown)
Charnov gives the Lions three more years of post presence, while CJ Davis replenishes Brown’s backcourt which will look very different a year from now.
- Cornell (3-7)
The Big Red are patient on offense and move the ball very well, while defense remains an issue. The future is bright in Ithaca but the remaining year seems to be a developmental period. That said, Cornell is still good enough to compete with everyone in the Ivy. They’ve muscled a 12-point lead against Harvard—no easy thing—and have single-digit losses to Princeton and Yale.
Trade: Robert Hatter (Guard, Cornell) for Eric Monroe (Guard, Yale)
The Big Red would get a true point guard for the future in Monroe, perfect for what coach Brian Earl wants to do on offense. Yale gets Hatter who creates his own offense and attacks the basket. In case the Bulldogs want to make a run at Princeton, Hatter provides instant offense.
- Dartmouth (3-7)
The Big Green are building for the future and have shown great strides under new head coach David McLaughlin. Evan Boudreaux has continued to be spectacular and has cemented himself as the piece Dartmouth will build around. Here’s a 2-for-3 that’ll get you thinking.
Trade: Miles Wright (Guard, Dartmouth) and Jonas Stakeliunas (Forward, Dartmouth) for Donavan Wright (Guard, Cornell), Will Bathurst, (Forward, Cornell), and Joel Davis (Guard, Cornell)
Wright replaces Hatter as Matt Morgan’s sidekick, and Wright, Davis, and Bathurst are perfect weapons with which to surround Boudreaux. Bathurst is a slasher and Wright provides perimeter shooting and a bulldog mentality.
- Brown Bears (2-8)
The Bears are the top-scoring team in the Ivy, averaging 75.8 points-per-game. The problem is that they also allow 77 points-per-game, good for 300th in the country. While they can’t make the conference tourney, the Bears offense, much like Cornell’s, still enables them to compete with most everyone.
Trade: Steven Spieth (Forward, Brown) for Chris Lewis (Forward, Harvard)
Brown could unload star senior Spieth and collect assets for the future. Chris Lewis, a top-100 prospect coming out of high school, has tremendous potential especially at a place where he can run the show. Harvard gets Spieth to try and take down Princeton and make an NCAA Tournament run.
To be sure, CCR supports collegiate academic primacy, consistency and stability. So again, the above trades are thought experiments only. But fun ones we invite you to try and improve upon.
– M. Roitman