HANOVER, N.H. — In conjunction with its preseason media teleconference call with the men’s basketball head coaches, the Ivy League today announced the results of its media preseason poll with Harvard being a unanimous pick to repeat as the conference champion. Dartmouth was pegged to finish in exactly the same place that it finished last season — tied for sixth.
The rebuilding process for the Big Green started to take hold last year under head coach Paul Cormier, who is in the fourth season of his second stint in Hanover. Dartmouth won three of its final four contests to climb out of the cellar and finish the year with a 5-9 record against the Ancient Eight and 9-19 overall with a roster made up predominantly of underclassmen as the Green featured just one senior and one junior.
That one junior is now senior team captain Tyler Melville, a 6-2, 180-pound shooting guard from Plano, Texas. Melville came on strong in 2012-13, starting the year as a role player before earning a spot in the starting lineup during the league slate. He was Dartmouth’s most accurate shooter last season, connecting on 48.5 percent of his shots from the floor, including 41.7 percent (20-of-48) beyond the arc.
The core of the team, however, is made up of juniors and sophomores, led by a 2012-13 second-team All-Ivy selection in junior Gabas Maldunas. The 6-9 Lithuanian center was ninth in the league with a team-high 11.4 points per game while posting 6.9 rebounds a night, good for third among the Ivy League players.
Joining Maldunas in the frontcourt are junior wing John Golden (6-6, 200) and sophomore forward Connor Boehm (6-7, 235). Golden became one of the Big Green’s lock-down defenders with 31 steals while contributing 7.5 points per game. Boehm, meanwhile, quickly established himself as a strong post player, averaging 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds — the latter figure ranking seventh in the conference.
Sophomore combo guard Alex Mitola (5-11, 165) out of Florham Park, N.J., will team up with Melville in the backcourt. Last year he drained 65 three-pointers to set a Dartmouth freshman record, connecting at nearly a 40-percent clip. Mitola also dished out a team-best 55 assists and shot 85 percent at the free throw line. When he needs a break from running the show, lightning-quick classmate Malik Gill (5-9, 185) can take over the reins. His speed is especially noticeable at the defensive end, however, as he ranked second in the league with 50 steals despite playing less than 17 minutes a game.
Cormier has four other returning sophomores in forwards Tommy Carpenter, Brandon McDonnell and Matt Rennie, and guard Kevin Crescenzi. Bolstering the squad are five newcomers — forward Wesley Dickinson (6-7, 220, Bergenfield, N.J.), guard Mike Fleming (6-0, 175, Lake Forest, Ill.), center Cole Harrison (6-10, 235, Brentwood, Tenn.), forward Eli Harrison (6-6, 185, Sisters, Ore.) and forward Ikemefuna Ngwudo (6-6, 200, Baldwin, N.Y.).
The season opens up on the Big Green’s home floor in Leede Arena on Sunday, Nov. 10 against Lyndon State at 2 p.m.
|2013-14 IVY LEAGUE MEN’S BASKETBALL
MEDIA PRESEASON POLL
|Predicted Order of Finish
First-place votes in parentheses