Chambers, Miller Chosen as Next Men's Basketball Captains While Edosomwan and Okolie Chosen as Team MVPs
As it officially turns the page to the 2016-2017 season, the Harvard men’s basketball team has chosen its two oldest players to lead it. At its end of year banquet Monday, the team announced that rising seniors Siyani Chambers and Corbin Miller would be the captains for upcoming season.
Chambers and Miller figure into a crowded point guard rotation for the Crimson next year. A three-year starter who withdrew from the College in the fall to preserve his eligibility after tearing his ACL in the offseason, Chambers is the presumptive starter for the next season. In the mix with the two is rising sophomore Tommy McCarthy, who started 25 games for the Crimson this season, four-star recruit Bryce Aiken, and returning senior Matthew Fraschilla.
McCarthy’s role in the rotation is one of the most uncertain. He averaged 8.8 points while making 36 percent of his threes his freshman year, while taking over for Chambers at the point of attack. Monday night, he was honored twice: first for his potential by Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan and then, later, with the Henry Zimmerman Free Throw Shooting Accuracy Award. The freshman was the only player on the team to shoot better than 72 percent from the line, connecting on 55 of his 66 attempts (an 83.3 percent clip).
Despite his excellent shooting from beyond the arc and the line, inside the arc the freshman shot just 31.5 percent from the floor. His struggles to finish around the rim were starkly juxtaposed against the success of junior forward Zena Edosomwan, one of the co-winners of the Raymond P. Lavietes ’36 Most Valuable Player Award. Edosomwan led the team in both scoring and rebounding, narrowly missing out on a double-double by posting averages of 13.1 points and 9.9 rebounds on the season. He ranked third among regulars by shooting just over 50 percent from the floor as the team’s primary offensive option, taking nearly two more shots per game than any other player.
While many of the night’s biggest awards went to juniors, however, the team celebrated the contributions of its three-person senior class—captain Evan Cummins, Patrick Steeves, and Agunwa Okolie. Okolie, who won the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year award, won the Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 Iron Man Award for leading the team in minutes, averaging over 31 minutes a game.
Okolie also split the Most Valuable Player award with Edosomwan after raising his level of play during the conference season. In 14 conference games, the senior reached double-digits 11 times—setting a career high with 29 points in the conference opener against Dartmouth—and leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists while guarding the opposing team’s best player on the defensive end.
Cummins, the team’s sole captain after Chambers withdrew, was honored with the Floyd S. Wilson Sportsmanship Award. He appeared in all 30 games while leading the team by shooting over 61 percent from the field. While he averaged just 6.2 points a game, he led the team in blocks by swatting 1.5 shots a game. His 75 career blocks put him 10th in program history.
Steeves, who had not previously played a minute of college basketball before the season started, won the Hamilton Fish ’10 award as the team’s most improved player. After multiple surgeries left him on the bench during the entirety of three consecutive runs to the league title, Steeves led the Ivy League by shooting 45.8 percent from deep and finished fourth on the Crimson by averaging 9.1 points per game. His 2.4 assists a contest also ranked second on the team.
Staff writer David Freed can be reached at email@example.com.