The Crimson was picked to repeat as Ivy League champion for the second straight year (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team was the unanimous choice to finish atop the conference standings in the 2014-15 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, conference officials announced Wednesday.
This marks the second straight year that Harvard has been the consensus pick in the League and the third time in four seasons that the Crimson has finished No. 1 in the poll. Harvard also earned the top spot in 2011-12 when it received 16-of-17 first-place votes.
Harvard, which received 47 votes in the USA TODAY Preseason Coaches Poll, is coming off a fourth straight Ivy League championship and third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. Last year, the Crimson went 27-5 overall and 13-1 against the Ancient Eight, setting new program records for overall wins and conference victories. Harvard advanced to the third round of the 'Big Dance' for a second consecutive season with a 61-57 win over fifth-seeded Cincinnati, and also won the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout en route to a fifth straight 20-win season.
The Crimson returns 14 letterwinners to the court including 2014 Ivy League Player of the Year Wesley Saunders. The Los Angeles, Calif., native was also a Lou Henson All-America and AP All-America honorable mention selection a year ago after ranking among the conference leaders in points (14.2), assists (3.8), rebounds (4.6) and steals (1.7). Saunders, who is tied with Arne Duncan '87 for 31st on Harvard's career scoring list with 1,012 points, has been named first team all-conference twice.
Joining Saunders are co-captains Siyani Chambers and Steve Moundou-Missi. Chambers, the 2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a two-time all-conference selection, enters his junior season having already been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard twice. His 5.1 assists per game ranked second in the Ancient Eight last season after he led the conference with 5.7 as a freshman. A native of Golden Valley, Minn., Chambers also turned in 11.1 points per game in 2013-14.
Moundou-Missi, like Saunders and Chambers, is a two-time All-Ivy selection. The senior turned in career-highs of 10.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 43 blocks a year ago, and shot a career-best 54.1 percent from the field. Moundou-Missi ranked third in the conference in offensive rebounding and was fourth in overall rebounding, while also ranking third in the Ancient Eight in blocks.
Also returning to the floor this season are seniors Charlie Anastasi, Matt Brown, Alex Nesbitt, Kenyatta Smith and Jonah Travis, juniors Evan Cummins, Agunwa Okolie and Patrick Steeves, and sophomores Zena Edosomwan, Matt Fraschilla and Corbin Miller. Joining this group are newcomers Andre Chatfield, Chris Egi and Zach Yoshor.
Harvard is led by eighth-year head coach Tommy Amaker who has guided the Crimson to a 139-71 overall record, 67-31 against the Ivy League. Over the last four years his teams have gone a combined 49-3 at home, ranking as the third highest home-court win percentage in the country. Amaker has also coached 22 All-Ivy League selections since arriving in Cambridge, two Ivy League Player of the Year recipients, and two Ivy League Rookie of the Year winners in addition to seven 1,000-point scorers.
The Crimson will open its season Friday, Nov. 14 at home against MIT before taking on Holy Cross in the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at the TD Garden Nov. 16.
2014-15 IVY LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
First-Place Votes in Parentheses