Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Howard And Richmond

Speaking of staying connected, as TigerBlog was yesterday, here are two more examples.

Now that's cool.

That would be Duncan Joyce, a junior on the men's squash team. And that would be the squash court in the basement of his family home.

Is there a better way to pass the time than playing squash in your basement? Ah, the days of lunchtime squash and the epic battles between TB and his former colleague Craig Sachson, the battles that raged before TB had surgery on both knees and bad shoulder tendinitis, the direct result of which is that his major form of exercise the last few years has been riding his bike.

Still, it was worth it. TB loved to play squash, especially against Sachson, against whom he was fairly evenly matched (though he'd guess Sachson won around 55 percent of their career matches).

Before that, TB played a lot of lunchtime basketball in Jadwin. He was never a good ballhander or shooter, but he could pass and he could play the low post, at least the lunchtime version of that. Had he been about eight or so inches taller, he would have been a fine Princeton backup center, he supposes.

As a former lunchtime center, at least, TB can appreciate the Mikan Drill, especially when it's done these days in a driveway and then put on Instagram as part of the efforts to stay connected.

A post shared by Mercer County Men's BBall (@mccchoops) on

Do they still do the Mikan Drill anymore? It's named after George Mikan, who was the first dominant big man the NBA ever saw and who was famous for playing with big, thick glasses on.

The man in the video is Howard Levy, the head coach of the Mercer County Community College men's basketball team. He's also the Princeton career record holder for field goal percentage at .647.

In the video, Howard shot 30 for 32, which is .938. TB was surprised to see that he missed any.

Howard came to Princeton from Suffern, N.Y., and he went from not being in the regular rotation to one of the best big men Princeton has ever had.

His career-high was 24 points in a game, which he did twice, including in the 1984 NCAA tournament game against UNLV in Salt Lake City. When TB looked it up, he wondered in that was something that Howard would remember easily, so he texted hm. He got this response:

"I had 43 points against North Rockland HS, 38 for Princeton JV against Cambden CCC and 24 a couple times for the Tigers."

Impressive recall.

The video on his driveway is not the first time that Levy did that Mikan Drill. That's how he got better. TigerBlog would guess Richmond Aririguzoh did more than his share.

In fact, Aririguzoh finished his career second all-time at Princeton in field goal percentage at .636, trailing only Levy. As TB looked a little closer he found that Aririguzoh had a career not that much unlike Levy's.

How does this comparison look:

* Aririguzoh played in 13 games as a freshman and averaged 1.5 points per game; Levy played in 11 games as a freshman and averaged 1.0 points per game.

* as sophomores, their averages were 2.7 (Aririguzoh) and 1.8 (Levy)

* the following season, their junior years, they both increased their per game averages by exactly 9.4 points per game, as Aririguzoh went to 12.1 and Levy to 11.2.

* as seniors, they averaged pretty much the same, with Levy at 12.1 and Aririguzoh at 12.0.

* neither was in double figures in scoring in game as a freshman or sophomore; as a junior Aririguzoh had 20 double figures scoring games, while Levy had 19.

* blocked shots in their careers: Aririguzoh 53, Levy 51; assists in their careers: Levy 125; Aririguzoh 117

* career highs for both were 24

Also, they both went from being non-starters to finishing their careers as All-Ivy League selections. Levy would be a second-team selection in 1985, while Aririguzoh was a first-team selection this season and a second-team selection last season.

How'd they do this?

Coaching, for one. And especially work ethic. Both of them showed what can happen when those two things are combined.

The result is that both have their rightful place among the all-time great Tiger centers. Deservedly so.

It took a lot of Mikan Drills to get them there. 

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