Monday, June 24, 2019

Kareem Keeps Winning

Question - How many Ivy League Player of the Year Awards did Bill Bradley win in men's basketball?

Well, freshmen were ineligible back then, so he played three varsity seasons. So he won three, right?

Nope. None.

The Ivy League didn't award a Player of the Year in men's basketball until 1974-75, when Penn's Ron Haigler was the winner. Princeton had the winner each of the next two years, with Armond Hill and then Frank Sowinski.

Speaking of Player of the Year winners, it still bothers TB that Nate Walton didn't win in 2001. 

There have been five two-time winners of the Ivy League Player of the Year award on the men's sidek including two Princetonians - Craig Robinson and Kit Mueller. There has never been a three-time winner.

On the women's side, there have already been three players who won Ivy Player of the Year three times - Gail Koziara Boudreaux of Dartmouth, Allison Feaster of Harvard and Diana Caramanico of Penn.

There's another player who has already won twice who is entering her senior year. That, of course, is Princeton's Bella Alarie.

The Ivy League first awarded a Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in women's basketball in the 1979-80. Koziara, by the way, was the first winner.

As TB said, the first men's winner was Haigler in 1974-75.

What he can't understand is why there was a Rookie of the Year that dates to 1970-71. That first winner was Princeton's remarkable Brian Taylor, whose accomplishments are somewhat overshadowed by Bradley.

If you look at the Princeton men's basketball records, you'll see that Bradley ranks 1-2-3 in single-season points scored and Taylor ranks 4-5 on that same list. Taylor only played two seasons at Princeton before leaving for the ABA for four years and the NBA for six more, but he returned to graduate in 1983 before embarking on a long career in education.

Elsewhere in the Princeton record book, you'll see that Taylor  averaged 24.3 points per game for his career. Bradley averaged 30.2. No other Princeton player has ever reached 20.0 for a career.

Anyway, back at the awards, why add a Rookie of the Year, especially when freshmen couldn't play? TB wishes he knew why.

Doesn't make sense, right?

Maybe TB will ask a few people.

Those were the only two major awards the Ivy League had until the 2009 season, when the Defensive Player of the Year award was added. Princeton has had three winners - Kareem Maddox, Myles Stephens and Amir Bell.

Maddox won it in 2011, after Cornell's Jeff Foote won the first two. If you remember the 2011 season, that's the one that ended with a playoff win over Harvard on Doug Davis' buzzer beater and then a 59-57 loss to Kentucky in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Maddox had 12 points, three rebounds and three steals in that game.

Trivia question - Maddox was one of four Princeton players in double figures in that game. Who were the other three? TB will give you the answer at the end.

Meanwhile, eight years later, Maddox is still making his mark in basketball. In fact, this past weekend, Maddox won a FIBA World Cup 3x3 championship with Team USA.

From the story:
Princeton alum Kareem Maddox '11 and teammates Robbie Hummel, Damon Huffman and Canyon Barry completed a perfect run Sunday through the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Amsterdam, securing a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament ahead of the 2020 Games in Tokyo. The title is the first for the U.S. in the event, which began in 2012 and was held every other year until 2016, when it began as an annual event. The previous U.S. best was a runner-up finish in 2016.

You can read the entire story HERE. In case you were wondering, Huffman played at Brown, Hummel played at Purdue and now is a really good ESPN commentator and Barry played at College of Charleston and Florida and is Rick Barry's son.

The sport of 3x3 basketball will be an Olympic sport in 2020, and Maddox and his teammates are hoping to qualify. The win over the weekend in Amsterdam got the Americans into the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, or they can get an automatic bid by being ranked in the top four in the world rankings this coming Nov. 1.

And the trivia answer - Dan Mavraides (14), Davis (13), Maddox (12), Ian Hummer (11).

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