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Username Post: 2023-2024 Season in Review        (Topic#27986)
gokinsmen 
Postdoc
Posts: 3692

Reg: 02-06-10
03-16-24 02:50 PM - Post#365423    

Catch-all thread for overall thoughts on the season and the future. If they get and accept an NIT invite (probably will), we can make new threads for that.

-------------------------

What a bummer finish for the guys and for the program. I really thought they were primed for another amazing March. No one outside the Top 3 (UConn, Houston, Purdue) looks unbeatable on a neutral court... but it's all for naught.

That said, I don't think any of us thought they'd go 24-3 with a 48 NET during the regular season. Or that Xaivian Lee would turn into a POY caliber, NBA prospect as a soph. So many great games and moments - you have to fly this high to crash this hard.

Gonna miss Allocco and Martini so much. I expect both will enter the transfer portal for their 5th year, especially after this sour finish. They will beast on their new teams - Langborg is huge for Northwestern - and they deserve to taste March Madness again.

The silver linings to this unhappy ending:

- Pierce and Lee are two pro/NBA caliber stars who have two years left. I have no doubt Caden and Xaivian will learn from this just like Tosan and Ryan learned from the 2022 ILT upset and achieved greatness in 2023. Their best basketball is ahead of them, which is saying a lot.

- Dalen Davis solidified his star talent today. He is such a special clutch scorer and ballhandler. 21pts in a single half after playing badly in the 1st half. Nerves of steel.

- Blake Peters comes back. He became a more complete player this year and his %s will go back up with lower minutes next year (just like they did in Ivy play).

- Deven Austin comes back from injury. Our defense and depth were our Achilles heels and Deven is a HUGE help in both areas. Probably our starting SF.

- The coaching staff's player development is outstanding. If just ONE big man can step up and be solid (Huggins? Collins? A freshman?), then this team will be a top midmajor once again. Might lose a few non-conf games in November, but I can't wait for Pierce and Lee to reach another ILT - they won't let it slip away again.

 
Tiger69 
Postdoc
Posts: 2822

Reg: 11-23-04
03-16-24 11:11 PM - Post#365489    
    In response to gokinsmen

We have a lot to look forward to IF neither Caden nor Xavian receives a NIL offer he can’t refuse.

 
penn nation 
Professor
Posts: 21377

Reg: 12-02-04
Re: 2023-2024 Season in Review
03-16-24 11:47 PM - Post#365493    
    In response to gokinsmen

  • gokinsmen Said:
No one outside the Top 3 (UConn, Houston, Purdue) looks unbeatable on a neutral court...



Two of these three teams lost today on neutral courts.

 
gokinsmen 
Postdoc
Posts: 3692

Reg: 02-06-10
2023-2024 Season in Review
03-17-24 12:31 AM - Post#365498    
    In response to penn nation

I mean, their #1 seeds are all punched. That's not quite the same thing.

As for NIL, I don't see any reason to worry about Lee or Pierce. There's zero evidence that they want to ditch a Princeton degree and the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Understandably, the NIL temptation is much greater for those who need the money for their families. The only way I see any Tiger leaving is if some NBA team makes Lee a first round draft promise in 2025.

 
ToothlessTiger 
Senior
Posts: 341

Age: 77
Reg: 03-28-15
03-17-24 10:07 AM - Post#365512    
    In response to gokinsmen

Brown exposed the weakness of this team: an undersized front court. The Big men on the roster have not shown that there is a difference maker among them, but Richmond was a late developer. I hope Mitch can bring in a stud on the Kellman mode. Assuming mitch is still here. Plenty of scoring coming back. Pierce should pick up the emotional leadership role filled so beautifully by Allocco.
Tabitha Amanze can help fill Mitchell's sneakers. Carla reloads!

 
Tiger81 
Masters Student
Posts: 412
Tiger81
Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
03-17-24 10:25 AM - Post#365514    
    In response to gokinsmen

Zach Martini is going to be the hardest piece of the puzzle to replace next year.

In addition to providing strong positional defense in the post he was a 3P threat and point center who stretched defenses and he rarely got into foul trouble.

Princeton will definitely miss Allocco’s leadership, defensive tenacity and clutch scoring, but between Scott and Davis they have good options to offset those losses and Deven Austin will provide more backcourt depth off the bench.

If they start Scott and Davis, and move Pierce to the 5 with Scott backfilling Pierce, that will be an even more under-sized lineup than this year. Matching up against Yale and Brown next year it is hard to envision a small line-up having enough firepower, especially in the wake of yesterday’s beatdown.

When Pierce went out against Yale after banging his head, Coach Henderson put Scott on the floor ahead of Huggins and Collins never got extended minutes except in garbage time. They or one of the freshman would need to take a big leap to crack the starting lineup.

Of the incoming freshman, the two biggest gets are a guard (Stanton) and a SF (Abdullahi). CJ Happy would provide more presence in the paint at 6’8” 220 lbs. but was not as highly-recruited.

Best case would be a Richmond Arririguzoh-like emergence into the starting lineup for Huggins or better yet the beefier Collins. Arririguzoh hardly played as a first-year, got into the rotation and started a handful of games as a sophomore, and then became an All-Ivy player his last two years.

As for the potential defection of Pierce or Lee (or Wolf or Mack), I would prefer to stick my head in the sand for now rather than contemplate the demise of D-I Ivy athletics.

 
1LotteryPick1969 
Postdoc
Posts: 2282
1LotteryPick1969
Age: 73
Loc: Sandy, Utah
Reg: 11-21-04
03-17-24 11:11 AM - Post#365516    
    In response to Tiger81

  • Tiger81 Said:
As for the potential defection of Pierce or Lee (or Wolf or Mack), I would prefer to stick my head in the sand for now rather than contemplate the demise of D-I Ivy athletics.



Very nice summary. Agree with every word.

Regarding an emerging big along the line of Richmond, I think we all saw his potential even though he played very little. I for one don't see that among the current candidates, but I would happily be proven wrong.

"james" from Yale mentions a collective being started for men's b-ball. Any rumbling of a similar initiative at Princeton?

 
ToothlessTiger 
Senior
Posts: 341

Age: 77
Reg: 03-28-15
03-17-24 01:02 PM - Post#365526    
    In response to 1LotteryPick1969

I am not aware of any but would certainly support such an initiative.

 
jeromelh 
Junior
Posts: 218

Age: 82
Reg: 03-30-17
03-17-24 01:07 PM - Post#365527    
    In response to 1LotteryPick1969

I believe that at least one of Huggins, Sangster, Collin’s or Byriel will make a big jump. At the beginning of this season who would have thought that Martini would perform as well as he did. Next year the depth will be improved. Dalen Davis is going to be a monster. Next year we should be better.

 
Tiger81 
Masters Student
Posts: 412
Tiger81
Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
03-17-24 01:29 PM - Post#365533    
    In response to jeromelh

I hope you are right about players taking a step up next year. Zach Martini played a big role last year and it was clear he was ready to start coming into the current season.

He was on the floor against Arizona last year in the final minutes and made a critical pass to Caden Pierce that led to FTs that iced that game. None of the potential bigs on the current roster saw the court in crunch time this year.

Huggins got the most minutes but rarely when the game was on the line. He is very active and athletic and may be best positioned to get into the starting lineup. IMO he will need to spend more time in the weight room first.

 
umbrellaman 
Masters Student
Posts: 476
umbrellaman
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2023-2024 Season in Review
03-17-24 02:11 PM - Post#365545    
    In response to gokinsmen

Re: NIL - as Noah Savage noted, the Ivies have been insulated from that because the decision was already made that the player wanted the degree - “a forty year decision, not a four year one” - on the concession line with two Brown basketball alums (both just featured on the broadcast” - after discussing the game the older on asked the younger one - hey what are you up to now, answer “still at Goldman, gonna be fifteen years…”

 
gokinsmen 
Postdoc
Posts: 3692

Reg: 02-06-10
2023-2024 Season in Review
03-17-24 02:25 PM - Post#365551    
    In response to umbrellaman

Xaivian quoted his mom in an interview: "Good person, good student, good athlete. In that order." He's not leaving for a quick payday at a high major.

He and Pierce have a perfect situation at Princeton. They're the stars. They get the most shots, stats and attention - their NBA/pro dreams are best served staying here. In fact, Tosan is showing the way. He wasn't even drafted and he still got a two-way NBA contract in less than a year. Xaivian has already made a couple of draft boards as a sophomore.

I totally support students who transfer because their family needs the NIL money - great move. But neither Pierce nor Lee are in that category.

 
gokinsmen 
Postdoc
Posts: 3692

Reg: 02-06-10
2023-2024 Season in Review
03-20-24 10:09 PM - Post#365985    
    In response to gokinsmen

Welp, the season is truly over - I suspected they'd lose a half-hearted game tonight, so I'm not surprised. Still a fantastic season for making Princeton hoops nationally relevant and setting up a two-year window of potential program-defining achievement.

Pierce and Lee were the 1st and 2nd best players in the Ivy this year - and two of the top sophs in the nation. But there's a reason the best March teams seem to be senior-led (including ours last year). Experience counts. This season will lay the foundation for next year with our stars getting more motivated and a little wiser (and in Lee's case, even better conditioned).

Bravo 2023-2024 Tigers - thank you for a thrilling season of great hoops. Serious fun to watch in addition to the 24-5 record. It wasn't the ending we predicted in February, but it was so much better than anything I expected at the start.

 
1LotteryPick1969 
Postdoc
Posts: 2282
1LotteryPick1969
Age: 73
Loc: Sandy, Utah
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2023-2024 Season in Review
03-20-24 10:26 PM - Post#365990    
    In response to gokinsmen

  • gokinsmen Said:
It wasn't the ending we predicted in February, but it was so much better than anything I expected at the start.



Could not agree more.


 
sparman 
PhD Student
Posts: 1358
sparman
Reg: 12-08-04
Re: 2023-2024 Season in Review
03-20-24 10:45 PM - Post#365993    
    In response to gokinsmen

  • gokinsmen Said:
Still a fantastic season for keeping Princeton hoops nationally relevant and setting up a two-year window of potential program-defining achievement.



FTFY


 
TigerFan 
PhD Student
Posts: 1893

Reg: 11-21-04
03-20-24 10:56 PM - Post#365994    
    In response to 1LotteryPick1969

I heard before the game from a university staff person very close to the team that several starters had the stomach flu before Saturday's game--not just Xaivian. Really explains a lot. And the guys looked tired and pale tonight from where I was sitting. Hand it to Mitch for coaching through that, extending the bench and keeping the guys fired up.

And yet, they still almost pulled that game out. Three or four threes went in and out and UNLV got a couple of freaky bounces that turned a great defensive stand into an easy hoop. UNLV shot the lights out from three and we didn't. They are well-coached, pass the ball well, and have some really strong players.

I am incredibly proud of this team and excited for the future of Princeton basketball. With the success of our press and the 1-3-1 trap the last two games, I'd love to see more of that next year. Mitch should have a longer bench, which would make that style a better fit.

Go Tigers!

 
umbrellaman 
Masters Student
Posts: 476
umbrellaman
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2023-2024 Season in Review
03-20-24 10:58 PM - Post#365995    
    In response to gokinsmen

When they last year their “bigs” were Tosan, Kellman, Martini and Pierce, and this year it was Martini and Pierce, they performed way over expectations. Starting off with Pierce, Lee, Austin, Davis, Scott and Peters is not bad, although a bit small.

 
gokinsmen 
Postdoc
Posts: 3692

Reg: 02-06-10
2023-2024 Season in Review
03-20-24 11:24 PM - Post#365997    
    In response to TigerFan

  • TigerFan Said:
I heard before the game from a university staff person very close to the team that several starters had the stomach flu before Saturday's game--not just Xaivian.



That makes a lot of sense. Frankly, it would be weird for just one guy on the team to get sick from flu/covid/RSV.

I know our rivals are celebrating their unlikely upset of Princeton (which itself is a huge compliment), but this team is primed for a Butler-esque NCAA run in the next two years. Pierce + Lee, Peters, Austin, Davis and a tackling dummy at center will be a Top 50 team.

Again, it's worth noting that the Sweet 16 run happened after the upset ILT loss of 2022. And as a bonus, we already know that have 2 POY-caliber guys coming back.


 
LocalTiger 
Masters Student
Posts: 495

Age: 58
Reg: 11-15-17
03-21-24 08:16 AM - Post#366007    
    In response to gokinsmen

It was a GREAT season, and we can hope the chemistry
remains next year.
We lose two important starters, but getting Austen
back should really help. We need more size, but
maybe the freshmen or bench can supply an answer
there.
Mitch has built a great culture. Let's hope he stays
and we get another run.

 
ToothlessTiger 
Senior
Posts: 341

Age: 77
Reg: 03-28-15
03-21-24 03:29 PM - Post#366022    
    In response to LocalTiger

No one can blame Henderson if he takes big ,$$$ at this point in his career. What does such a move say to Pierce and Lee and the current recruits? I hate to think about it. If those kids came here, or are coming, because of Henderson why would they not capitalize on their ability? Just asking...

 
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