Friday, January 28, 2022

A Story Of Three Generations

TigerBlog received an email two weeks ago from Bill Agnew, Class of 1956, that resulted in the latest feature story he's written.

Agnew, one of three brothers who attended Princeton in the mid-1950s, was a football and baseball player who was coached by Charlie Caldwell in the fall and Eddie Donovan in the spring. Today he's retired and living in Hilton Head, after a long career in business and 14 years as a Princeton trustee.

The email that he sent TigerBlog basically said that he had seen the most recent episode of "Hard Cuts" and that a clip of current senior Ethan Wright jolted him a bit. It reminded him of John DeVoe, who was one of Agnew's roommates at Princeton and a standout basketball player under another great Tiger coach, Cappy Cappon.

DeVoe was Ethan Wright's grandfather, one that Wright never had a chance to meet after DeVoe passed away at the age of 34, back in 1968. DeVoe had been the driving force behind the birth of the Indiana Pacers in the American Basketball Association, a franchise that would win three titles in that league before being part of the merger with the NBA in 1976.

DeVoe, the team president, died of an undiagnosed heart ailment at courtside just as a Pacers' game was ending. Agnew had been friends with DeVoe at Princeton almost from Day 1, and they would live together as juniors and seniors. When he saw Wright on "Hard Cuts," he wanted to connect with him to tell him about his grandfather, and he first reached out to TigerBlog, who connected them.

There's a third generation to the story as well, as DeVoe's daughter and Wright's mother is Ellen DeVoe, one of the greatest women's players who has ever played at Princeton. She even held the record for points in a game at Princeton with 38 until Bella Alarie came along and twice got into the 40s. Ellen DeVoe finished her career with 1,290 points and 964 rebounds, a figure bettered only by two women and two men ever at Princeton.

TB spoke to all three principals for the story. You can read it HERE.

Wright, the current senior, has more than doubled his scoring average each season, going from 3.5 to 7.2 to 14.5 this year. His rebounding total has doubled from sophomore year, going from 3.8 to 7.6 this year.

In fact, Wright is fourth in the Ivy League in rebounding, despite being only 6-4, 190. He's also eight in the league in scoring.

Wright's mother was his first AAU coach, one who stressed the importance of rebounding. The lessons were not lost on her son, who had 18 against Minnesota earlier in the year. In fact, he's had six double figure rebounding games this year, and he's been in double figures in points in all six of those, as well as 14 times overall, with four 20-plus games mixed in. 

He's had some pretty impressive games, including 29 points and 10 rebounds against FDU, 24 and 10 against Oregon State and 17 and 13 in the most recent game, an 84-80 win at Dartmouth last weekend. 

He's been a key cog on the current Princeton team, one that is 5-0 in the Ivy League as it heads into its game tomorrow at home against Yale. The Bulldogs, at 3-1, are the only other league team with fewer than two losses.

Tip-off at Jadwin and on ESPN+ is at 4. Remember, the women's game in New Haven has been moved to tonight at 7, also on ESPN+.

When you look at the Ivy League men's basketball stats, you'll see that Princeton leads the league in three-pointers made per game and three-point percentage. Yale, on the other hand, is the best team in the league at defending the three.

Yale has the league's leading scorer in Azar Swain; Princeton has three of the top eight (Jaelin Llewellyn, Tosan Evbuomwan and Wright). 

If you're snowed in, make sure you check out this game. 

And also check out the feature story. It's a story of tragedy, but it's also a story about the enduring bond that is Princeton Athletics, and Princeton University in general.

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