Harvard returns 13 letterwinners and welcomes seven newcomers to the 2016-17 squad (photo courtesy of Paul Rutherford).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Receiving five first-place votes, Harvard men's basketball was picked second in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll released Wednesday by the Ancient Eight in advance of the media teleconference.
"As I've said every year, and I'm certain this permeates throughout college basketball, this is an exciting time," said Tommy Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball. "Everyone is very optimistic about the prospects of the upcoming season, as we are. We are healthy. We have Siyani Chambers, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury last year. He's back and it's wonderful to see that … We're trying to integrate a number of guys that bring talent to our program ... I do think our veterans, as it has always been, will lead the way for whatever type of year we will have."
Harvard picked up 123 points, seven away from No. 1 pick Princeton (12 first-place votes). The Crimson sat 22 points ahead of third-place selection Yale. Penn rounded out the top-four with 72 points.
Columbia (61 points), Dartmouth (48), Cornell (42) and Brown (35) finished out the order of Ivy League schools.
Harvard has been picked second or higher in six of the last seven preseason polls and has won the Ivy League title in five of the last six years.
Harvard returns 13 letterwinners from last year's team, as the Crimson looks to capture its sixth Ivy League championship in seven years and reach the NCAA tournament for a fifth time in six years. Back for the Crimson is All-Ivy League second team honoree Zena Edosomwan and three-time All-Ancient Eight selection Siyani Chambers.
Edosomwan turned in 12 double-doubles during the 2015-16 season, matching Keith Wright's '12 total from 2010-11 for the most double-doubles in a season under Amaker. Chambers returns after a year's leave of absence, as the senior co-captain averages 11.1 points and 4.8 assists for his career. Helping lead the team will be senior co-captain Corbin Miller, who ranks seventh in program history with 146 career 3-pointers.
Harvard is led by Amaker in his 10th season. Amaker has turned the Crimson into one of the winningest programs in the country, boasting a .722 win percentage (153-59) since the start of the 2009-10 campaign, good for the 19th-highest in the NCAA in that time. Additionally, Amaker ranks second in Harvard coaching history with a 175-95 overall record, placing him three victories shy of matching Frank Sullivan (178 wins, 1991-2007) for the most wins in program history.
Harvard begins the season at Lavietes Pavilion Nov. 3, hosting MIT in an exhibition before heading to Shanghai, China to take on Stanford.