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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hope for Princeton Basketball

Central Michigan beat Princeton, 55-53, in the Tigers' season opener at Jadwin Gym tonight. And, yes, Central Michigan isn't Michigan State, and a Chippewas fan told me at halftime that his alma mater was missing two of their top players. Still, they had at least one good one left, as 6'8", 235-pound forward Chris Kellerman scored outside and inside, had 28 points and led his team to victory.

So why was there hope?

Was it because the Tigers only lost by two in their home opener? Was it because they started two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior? Was it because they started a front line that goes 6'9", 6'8", 6'7"?

Answer: none of the above. (Click here for the box score).

The answer is that frosh PG Doug Davis scored 25 points, is a great ballhandler, can break the ankles of a defender, can shoot the three and can take over a game. When was the last time a Tiger had 25 points in his first game in a Princeton uniform? Not in the past 30 years, I don't think. When was the last time the Tigers had a player this exciting? And when was the last time the Tigers had a guard this able on offense?

Imagine this: a Philly point guard in a Princeton uniform. Take the the years of wisdom and court savvy handed down from the likes of Sonny Hill, Guy Rodgers, Hal Lear, Earl Monroe, Andre McCarter, Pooh Richardson, Sean "Reds" Smith and many others and send it to Princeton, to be coached by a terrific guard himself in Sydney Johnson, and you could have someone very, very special.

I can't say that a star was born tonight, because Doug Davis came into Princeton with star quality. But a star was launched tonight, and if you're a Princeton basketball fan, you have to be very happy. I'm not sure where this year's team will go, but in Doug Davis you have someone to build around for four years.

And when was the last time a Princeton basketball fan had this much excitement?

Sydney Johnson is onto something in Princeton. The Tiger hoops magic is coming back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exciting times for Princeton. Here is an all star NL pitcher for the Padres in 07.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But when it comes to basketball... you are dreamin' bro.

As Princeton fell from grace, the rest of the league tightened up. It's not just Penn with depth, tenacity and intelligence... it's Brown and especially Cornell to go through.

Maybe by the 3rd year of the Obama adin. Princeton, like the economy, will be improving.

12:01 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Second Anonymous: did you read my post closely? I didn't say that they would win the title, only that hope was back. There's a difference. The Tigers are several years away from contending for the title, but they looked more exciting and athletic that night than they have for three years.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So less triumphalism and more middle of the pack...with hope? You are an exception to the iconic image of Princeton uber alles.

Humility and hope are refreshing. Talk to your fellow alums.

1:23 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

I follow the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not write ill of a Princeton team. That said, I'm a realist, and if you've read the blog, you know that I grew up a Penn fan. You're write about the "accordionizing" of the Ivies -- Penn and Princeton for whatever reason have fallen back to the pack. Another question is how well Coach Miller will do. I counted 19 kids on the Penn roster, so if you're a Penn recruit you have to wonder where you'll fit into the mix. Penn has a bunch of talent, but not transcendantly so.

I also don't think that my fellow Princeton folk are all that giddy about Princeton's men's hoops. It's just that compared to the teams from the Scott years, some of the players on this squad are offering them more hope.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm another Princeton alum, and have no idea which of my fellow alums anonymous is talking to - I don't know anyone who expects us to win this year. The team is showing some promise after some down years, and I think that eventually - one or two years from now - Johnson will get the team back in place.

10:21 PM  
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