Ivy League Preseason Awards

With three-quarters of the Ivy League just hours away from tipping off their seasons, it’s time to unveil our Big Apple Buckets preseason awards.

Player of the Year: Zena Edosomwan, Harvard

Zena Edosomwan enters his senior season as the Ivy League's most dominant player. (Photo via Harvard athletics)
Zena Edosomwan enters his senior season as the Ivy League’s most dominant player. (Photo via Harvard athletics)

This slot was supposed to go to Makai Mason, but Yale’s junior is expected to miss the season after injuring his foot in a scrimmage last weekend. In his place, Edosomwan is the top talent in the Ivy League. He’s not a shoo-in to win this award — injuries kept him off the first All-Ivy team last year, and his efficiency dropped in league play — but if he’s healthy, he’ll have more weapons around him and take advantage of an Ancient Eight that lost many of its top defensive big men. After entering Harvard as the league’s most-hyped recruit to that point, it would be fitting for Edosomwan to end his career with top honors.

First Team All-Ivy:

  • Zena Edosomwan, Harvard
  • Evan Boudreaux, Dartmouth
  • Henry Caruso, Princeton
  • Spencer Weisz, Princeton
  • Siyani Chambers, Harvard

Depending whom he plays with, Evan Boudreaux might not put up the same counting stats as he did last year — but he doesn’t need to average 20 and 10 again to have an All-Ivy candidacy. His touch on jumpers and free throws makes him an elite offensive player; now can he become an elite all-around one? Henry Caruso is the lone returning first-team all-star; he cut his turnover rate nearly in half last year, allowing him to remain very efficient even as his shooting regressed a bit. He won’t see as many mismatches offensively this year, but he’ll still get buckets thanks to outside shooting and crafty footwork. Spencer Weisz has been the glue of Princeton’s offense for three years. His raw scoring totals aren’t jaw-dropping, but he combines the assist rate of a true point guard with the efficiency of a spot-up shooter. Siyani Chambers’ numbers went downhill after his freshman season, but no one doubts the Harvard senior’s impact. He’s looked as spry as ever this fall after missing last year with a torn ACL, and he’ll be in a good situation surrounded by young talent.

Second Team All-Ivy:

  • Matt Morgan, Cornell
  • Steven Cook, Princeton
  • Hans Brase, Princeton
  • Jordan Bruner, Yale
  • Matt Howard, Penn

Matt Morgan won’t put up the same numbers he did last year — numbers nobody had put up in a generation — with a new coach and a new system. But his moments of hero-ball will always be worth watching, even if they come less frequently this year. Steven Cook recovered from a brutal start to average 18 ppg over the final three weeks. He’s a perfect fit for Princeton’s roster — good at playing without the ball (solid shooting, explosive cuts) and a strong defender. Hans Brase gets a lot of rebounds, but his ability to do a little bit of everything else sets him apart; he returns to the Tigers for a fifth season after tearing his ACL last fall. (Really, though, you could pull Princeton’s All-Ivy selections out of a hat.) At least one rookie will make an All-Ivy team (perhaps more), and Jordan Bruner is the best bet, for reasons mentioned below. Matt Howard attacks the rim in a way few Ivy wings can; he’ll need to improve either his three-point shooting or his passing to stick on this list. He fills the spot vacated by Mason for now, but this could also go to one of Penn’s newcomers, Caleb Wood or AJ Brodeur.

Also considered: Devin Cannady, Princeton; Tavon Blackmon, Brown; Obi Okolie, Brown; Luke Petrasek, Columbia

Rookie of the Year: Jordan Bruner, Yale

Four top-100 recruits join Harvard’s roster, but the rookie raising most preseason eyebrows plays for their rival. Bruner — a highly rated prospect in his own right who chose the Bulldogs over Clemson — showed his hops in a dunk contest and dominated an early scrimmage. With Yale’s roster decimated by graduation and Mason’s injury, Bruner should be the go-to guy from day one.

Also considered: AJ Brodeur, Penn; Seth Towns, Harvard; Bryce Aiken, Harvard; Chris Lewis, Harvard

Defensive Player of the Year: Steven Cook, Princeton

If the Ivy League named an All-Defense team, my five choices last year would have all been seniors (Lo, Victor, Okolie, Sears, Kuakumensah). So there’s no clear favorite for this award. In a league rapidly trending toward scoring, Princeton should have one of the league’s best defenses, and Cook is their best starter on that end. The 6-5 wing is a solid one-on-one defender, a ball-hawk at the top of an occasional 1-3-1 zone, and a shot-blocking threat.

Also considered: Zena Edosomwan, Princeton; David Onourah, Cornell

Coach of the Year: Mitch Henderson, Princeton

Princeton enters the season as a consensus top-50 team, as Henderson has amassed the deepest pool of talent in the Ivy League. There are explosive recruiting prizes (Cannady, Amir Bell) and stereotypical Princeton overachievers (Caruso, Brase). Multiple legit All-Ivy candidates might be coming off the Tigers’ bench. Henderson is willing to experiment with lineup combinations, and he’ll have plenty of options from a diverse and balanced rotation — which also means reasons to regret any loss.

Also considered: Tommy Amaker, Harvard; James Jones, Yale

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