Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Thank You, A Finalist, A Doubleheader

First, from TigerBlog today, is a TAGD thank you.

The final numbers haven't been completely totaled yet. Still, it's clear that once again, the Princeton faithful have rallied around the current athletes, for the reasons that TigerBlog spoke of yesterday.

It's a sign of faith in the direction of the current programs, a message of approval for the athletes - and a reaffirmation of what the Princeton experience meant to so many people who have competed here through the years. Princeton Athletics clearly appreciates it.

The winners of the various TAGD challenges will be announced shortly. In the meantime, Princeton wants to thank you once again.

With Nov. 28 in the past, there are only two days left in the month. Then it'll be December? That means it'll be Christmas, New Year's, Lacrosse.

As November winds down, TigerBlog can also point out that Chad Kanoff threw for 1,249 yards this month. He did this despite only playing three games in the month of November.

Is that a lot of yards? Well, compare it to these guys:
Sam Darnold, USC 904 yards in November
Josh Rosen, UCLA 1,004 yards in November
Lamar Jackson, Louisville 681 yards in November (he's the reigning Heisman Trophy winner)

Here's another one: Baker Mayfield, 1,469 yards in November, though it did take him four games to get that number.

By the way, for the year, Jackson has thrown for 15 more yards than Kanoff while playing two more games than Kanoff.

Kanoff was named one of the two finalists for the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year yesterday, along with Penn's Justin Watson. Of course you could make the case that Watson wasn't even the best receiver in the league this year, what with the season Jesper Horsted had, but TigerBlog doesn't want to disparage Watson, who obviously is a great player. One stat about Watson: He accounted for 47.6 percent of Penn's receptions, which is the highest number in either level of Division I.

Watson and Horsted, to TigerBlog, are the two best Ivy receivers this decade. Actually, if you throw Harvard's Justice Shelton-Mosley in there too, then those are to TB the best three Ivy receivers of the last 15 years, back to the group of Rob Milanese (Penn), Carl Morris (Harvard) and Chas Gessner (Brown).

Kanoff, though, should be the winner. He set 12 Princeton or Ivy records, and he looked better and better as the year went on doing so, finishing with back-to-back 400-yard games.

That's for Monday though.

For tonight, there's a basketball doubleheader on Carril Court in Jadwin Gym, beginning at 5:30 with the women's game against Villanova and then at 8 with the men's game against Lehigh.

Let's start with the women.

Villanova comes into Jadwin ranked 25th in the country, which should get your attention. Princeton, on the other hand, has done some things that are somewhat eye-opening as well in the early going.

Princeton has had the Ivy Rookie of the Week each week this year, and it hasn't been the same rookie each time. The first two times it was Carlie Littlefield, who has been in double figures in all four games to date. Abby Meyers won the honor this past week, after Princeton's win over Davidson.

Littlefield and Meyers are making the transition to college a very smooth one. Bella Alarie did the same a year ago, when she was first-team All-Ivy and the Ivy Rookie of the Year.

This year, Alarie has raised her game several levels. She's so good now that it's hard to remember that she's only a sophomore. Alarie brings three straight double-doubles into this game, and she does everything on the court - both ends - without forcing anything.

Villanova is a great defensive team. It'll be a really good matchup between these two teams.

As for the men, TigerBlog watched the opener at Butler on TV and has been to every game since. He can tell you that Princeton has improved basically each time out this year.

The No. 1 task has been to blend the three main returnees - Devin Cannady, Myles Stephens, Amir Bell - with those who will be playing major minutes this year. It's a work in progress, of course, which is fine. It's what this time of year is supposed to be.

So far, Mitch Henderson has seen a lot from a lot of different guys. He has a lot to process, and you can see the different combinations that he uses in the early season.

Cannady, by the way, is 20 for 34 from three-point range on the season, including 6 for 6 from three against FDU. That's insane. Stephens was completely unstoppable against FDU, going 9 for 12 from the field but 9 for 10 from two-point range, including makes on his first nine.

Lehigh is a very good team. The Mountain Hawks beat Princeton a year ago in Bethlehem 76-67, and they are as good as any team in the Patriot League. On the other hand, no current Princeton player scored more than six in the game a year ago, which was the second for the Tigers on the season.

And there's this gem from TB's colleague Andrew Borders pregame story:
Tim Kempton, who grabbed a game-high 24 points and 11 boards, won the Patriot League Player of the Year award in 2015 and 2016, and Princeton's Spencer Weisz, the reigning Ivy Player of the Year, both play in Israel, Kempton for Bnei Hertzeliya and Weisz for Galil Gilboa. Their teams will meet Sunday for the first time this season at Hertzeliya.

So that's the women's game at 5:30. The men's game is at 8. It figures to be a good doubleheader on both ends.

And once again. Thanks for everything you did to make TAGD another success. 

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