With Ivy League men’s basketball canceled for the 2020-2021 school year, we look ahead with some way-too-early power rankings for the likely return of Ancient Eight hoops next season:
In 2021, the Crimson will be led by guard Noah Kirkwood and forward Chris Ledlum. Ledlum showed promise as a freshman last season, and Kirkwood led the team in scoring as a sophomore in the many games senior guard Bryce Aiken missed due to injury.
Harvard’s 2020 recruiting class also tops the Ivy League, with a trio of three-star recruits coming in at positions of need in guard Evan Nelson, forward Josh Hemmings, and center Justice Ajogbor. All of these fresh faces bring even more athleticism to an already explosive roster, and if the team’s shooting improves, the Crimson will be the most dangerous team in the Ancient Eight next season.
The Quakers had a disappointing Ivy League season a year ago but still managed to sneak into the conference tournament. Last year’s freshman sensation guard, Jordan Dingle, was projected to lead the Red and Blue this season, so he should once again assume that role next year.
Dingle will fit nicely alongside junior guard Bryce Washington and junior forward Michael Wang, who can shoot extremely well and provide a lot of scoring for the Quakers. The Red and Blue are also welcoming a deep recruiting class led by an international wildcard, forward Michael Moshkowitz, who will be a junior next season.
Yale looked to be the favorite going into the 2020 Ivy League tournament and would have likely been the favorite coming into this season as well. However, the Bulldogs will be losing star forward Paul Atkinson and number two scorer guard Azar Swain as graduate transfers before next season, so a group of inexperienced players will have to pick up the slack.
Helping to fill those shoes will be Yale’s second-ranked Ivy recruiting class featuring two three-star recruits in forwards Matt Knowling and Yussif Basa-Ama. The Elis might not be going into next season with the most established talent, but they will have the firepower to compete for the Ivy title once again.
Princeton was the rare team to be led by an underclassman last season, and will once again be counting on junior guard Jaelin Llewellyn when they play again. Llewellyn is a talented scorer, and if he can improve his efficiency, he might be the best offensive weapon in the Ivy League next season.
The Tigers’ 2020 class is headlined by three-star center Mason Hooks who they hope can replace senior center Richmond Aririguzoh.
The Big Red were going to be dangerous this season with returning top scorers forward Jimmy Boeheim and guard Terrance McBride leading the way, but will now be entering next season with a group of relative unknowns. Sophomore forward Jordan Jones showed promise in his rookie season last season despite playing just 20.1 minutes per game. It will be interesting to see who rises to the top of a large 2020 recruiting class to help lead the Big Red next season.
With senior forward Tamenang Choh entering the transfer portal, the Bears will be looking to a number of different players to step up next season. Junior forward Jaylan Gainey can contribute in the frontcourt, and sophomore guard Dan Friday provides some good outside shooting from the backcourt. Only one other underclassman, guard David Mitchell, averaged double-digit minutes for the Bears last season, so they will be hoping for some extra help from their 2020 recruiting class as well.
Dartmouth was by far the worst team in the Ivy League last season, and things don’t seem to be getting that much better for the team looking forward. The Big Green were returning a fair bit of talent this season, but will be losing top scorers in senior forwards Chris Knight and Aaryn Rai to graduation. Junior guard Taurus Samuels will be returning next season to lead the team, while a new three-star recruit in guard Jaren Johnson will try to pitch in as a leader as well.
Columbia will similarly be coming into next season as a group of unknowns, with only junior forward Ike Nweke having played meaningful games and minutes last season. The Lions were already thin behind last season’s leading scorer Mike Smith and likely won’t be able to build enough talent to compete for a conference tournament berth.
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