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Saturday News:

Princeton recruit Henry Caruso was named the Daily News' Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Yesterday I posted about Luke Owings and his involvement with the Fullbridge Program. Owings adds that "Anyone who wants to learn more about the company or about the coaching role, please reach out to me. I'm always looking to contract out coaches and I can't imagine a richer network for that than the Princeton basketball one."

The Chicago Tribune writes that a Deerfield High School guard's senior season was "a precursor to his involvement in college basketball, which will begin at either Harvard, Princeton or La Salle." I'm not sure what that wording means.

Friday News:

While it doesn't directly tie to basketball, I still wanted to acknowledge the death of Rabbi Jim Diamond, who was killed yesterday in a bizarre accident.

I knew Rabbi Diamond as a fellow WPRB DJ, through his friendship with my parents and from interviewing him about the late Marvin Bressler two years ago.

(He described Marvin perfectly with the line "He was a profound and responsible skeptic.")

Diamond was also Professor Bressler's choice to lead his funeral ceremony and it was Diamond who permitted the beautiful gesture of Bressler being buried with a basketball to occur.

Rabbi Diamond was a friend to many at Princeton and a kind, funny man. My condolences.

A funeral is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 pm ET at the Jewish Center in Princeton.

Luke Owings is part of a piece about the Fullbridge Program.

Princeton over UCLA makes a Sports Illustrated list of biggest NCAA Tournament upsets.

Thirteen years of season openers.

Above, the Jadwin Jungle waits for the opening tip of the 2005-06 season.

This post was originally penned in 2009 as "A Decade of Season Openers." I've added last season's home defeat to Wagner as part of an annual revamp for each upcoming season.

Many of these pieces come from the listserv that predated this web site.

With less than week until the 2012-13 season begins, read on for the stories of the past 13 Tiger tipoffs in sequential order...

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Alumni Game group photo.

I was urged to stop by Jadwin Gym this afternoon for the annual Reunions Alumni Game and it was great to catch up with some familiar faces, many of a rather recent vintage. Before I split, I was requested to snap a group photo and I've shared it above.

Here's who I recognize/has been ID'd for me from left to right:

Patrick Saunders, Coach Marcus Jenkins, Frank Sowinski, Steve Mills, Edwin Buffmire, Kareem Maddox, John Comfort, Justin Conway, Luke Friedman, Bobby Foley, Coach Dan Geriot, Coach Brian Earl, Noah Savage, Jason Osier, Doug Davis, Kyle Koncz, Aaron Belz, Teddy Gobillot, Howie Levy, Bernie Stiroh, Jesse Rosenfeld, Jay Howson, Jared Katz and Coach Mitch Henderson.

Other former players present while I was around but not pictured: Dan Mavraides, Luke Owings, Jimmy Lane, Conor Neu, Matt Eastwick, Chris Marquardt, Patrick Ekeruo, former assistant Craig Moore and more.

Luke Owings is going down swinging.

Princeton’s annual Reunions bacchanalia begins today and it is doubtful anyone returning for their fifth reunion will have as strong a conversation starter as Luke Owings.

Owings spent the better part of 2012 training for his first boxing match, a bout that was part of the charity event Haymakers For Hope, which raised money up in Boston for research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

His first fight behind him, Owings and I talked extensively last week and you can read Owings' words and watch video of all three rounds after the jump.

Before you dive into the piece, I recommend reviewing this previous interview from last month which provides a great deal of additional build-up detail and background.

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Thursday News:

Tonight is Luke Owings' charity bout. Read our interview with Owings about his training and motivation to step in the ring here and consider making a donation to support Haymakers For Hope.

Chris Young pitched into the sixth inning during yesterday's second rehab start down in Florida. Young's next stop is likely AAA Buffalo.

Georgetown's Jeff Green will graduate this weekend, five years after leaving school for the NBA. A great story.

Will Venable had four hits (video) in a San Diego victory at Washington. Venable is third on the Padres with a .278 batting average.

On the recruiting front a guard from New Jersey lists Princeton as one of his four Ivy League suitors.

YouTube potpourri LXVIII.

Here’s the latest collection of videos from various corners of the Princeton basketball family. Above, 2011-12 Georgetown season highlights.

Eight additional videos follow after the jump.

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The sweet science of Luke Owings.

Former Tiger forward Luke Owings is closing in on five years since he graduated from Princeton. I recently stumbled on the news that in an attempt to both reprove himself as an athlete and develop washboard abs prior to Reunions, Owings would be stepping into the boxing ring for the first time next month.

This upcoming fight is for a good cause too, one that I'm more than happy to help spread the word about. Owings is raising money for cancer research as part of a pugalistic fundraiser titled Haymakers For Hope.

I caught up with Owings on the phone today and he told me more about his imminent bout and detailed training that has taken him from the basketball court to business school into the squared circle.

You can support Owings’ quest by making a donation here. I hope visitors to this site will help Luke exceed the financial goal he's set.

A transcript of our conversation can be found after the jump.

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Jeremy Lin vs. Princeton.

The recent, rapid ascent of Harvard alum Jeremy Lin from undrafted NBDL afterthought to trending topic, international phenomenon and nickname machine has been incredible to watch from afar.

When at Jadwin over the weekend I fielded a number of questions about Lin and how Princeton had contained him the eight occasions he faced the Tigers. The same thing happened each time I cleared my inbox after I got home.

After the jump, you'll find Lin's stat lines and complete recaps from these contests.

Lin was 2-6 versus Princeton as a member of the Crimson, 2-2 at home and like all other Harvard players the past 20 years, winless at Jadwin Gym.

NBA GMs trying to scout Lin who read this site: Why not sign Kareem Maddox, stat?

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Twelve years of season openers.

Above, the Jadwin Jungle waits for the opening tip of the 2005-06 season.

This post was originally penned in 2009 as "A Decade of Season Openers." I've added last season's game against Rutgers as part of an annual revamp for each upcoming season.

Many of these pieces come from the listserv that predated this web site.

With a week until the 2011-12 season begins, read on for the stories of the past 12 Tiger tipoffs in sequential order...

Read the rest of this entry »

Lavietes Pavilion: Where anything could happen, will happen and probably already has happened.

Over the past decade, Princeton's annual trips to Harvard have resulted in some of the wackiest basketball games you could design. Buzzer beaters. Titanic shifts in momentum. Improbable comebacks where each and every lead is painfully insecure until time runs out.

The stands on both sides of Lavietes Pavilion - thanks very much in part to the work of Bob Ruxin '76 and PANE - are almost always a crowded, spirited combination of Crimson and Tiger supporters. It doesn't matter how successful or how struggling either program is - This little gym is heavy on atmosphere and high on drama.

Saturday's game between Harvard and Princeton, regardless of how the former does versus Penn at home or how the latter performs against Dartmouth in Hanover on Friday night, will occur with the Ivy League's NCAA tournament participant yet to be decided.

I've been planning a chronological game-by-game review of the Tigers' last 10 trips to Allston since the fall and after the jump you'll find detailed write-ups on each (seven of which have not been published previously on the site) plus exclusive video of a pair of Princeton game-winners.

If you enjoy this 11,000+ word behemoth, you're bound to appreciate similar retrospectives on Princeton's last 11 season openers, a decade of dismay against Rutgers and the team's past four meetings with Duke.

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Rutgers in the 2000s: A Decade of Dismay.

When Mason Rocca battered his way to 28 points inside and grabbed a team-best 13 rebounds, leading Princeton to a 66-60 overtime victory against Rutgers in December of 1999, the Tigers had a 71-34 all-time advantage over the Scarlet Knights through 105 meetings.

Since that afternoon however, Princeton has lost 10 out of 11 and the last five straight to Rutgers, many in agonizing fashion.

It is understatement to say the 2000s were not a good decade for the Tigers in this inter-state matchup that dates back to 1917, a trend Princeton hopes to reverse in the 2010-11 season opener on November 12th at Jadwin Gym.

Join me now as we look back at the two teams' past 11 meetings. It won't be pretty, but it should put next week's game in a greater context.

Many of these pieces originally appeared on the listserv that predated this web site.

December 14, 2000 - Rutgers 46 Princeton 44 - Jadwin Gym

This was John Thompson III's second home game as Princeton's head coach, coming five days after the Tigers surprised a Xavier squad that would be ranked in the Top 25 later that season. It was also the first game I covered as a member of the media. Here's what I wrote at the time:

Another late arriving crowd for this year's installment of Rutgers/Princeton. Student section certainly larger than the Xavier game. Students were given orange t-shirts with a giant letter "P" on them celebrating 100 years of Princeton basketball. Looked good to see a solid orange block of fans standing for much of the game.

Ed Persia has taken some bleach to his head since the Xavier game. He now has a small blonde tuft on his head. Eugene Baah has untied his cornrows and they are now short dreadlocks. But enough with the haircut report. On to the game...

Rutgers came out playing man-to-man defense. Princeton responded with a full-court-press. Princeton went up 8-2 on a strong drive Eugene Baah and three pointers by Mike Bechtold and C.J. Chapman. Rutgers was able to get far too many second and third chances with offensive rebounds in the first ten minutes of the game. Not all of these offensive rebounds were the result of men out of position. Some of these rebounds were the result of unlucky bounces or batted balls. Princeton's rebounding was much better in the second part of the first half and Rutgers' rebounding advantage was just five [16-11] at the half.

Princeton held on to the ball well in the first half, only turning it over three times. Good way to tell your team in executing: You can cite all the the turnovers they made in under thirty seconds without thinking twice. Princeton led at the half 25-18. No player on Princeton had more than five points at halftime. Ed Persia's quick hands led to two Tiger steals, and that deserves to be noted. Rutgers went zone against Princeton for a stretch in the first half, but it did not prove very effective.

Halftime. The Trenton High School marching band/drum corps were pretty great, but wouldn't leave the court, even when asked/told to do so by the public address announcer. This held up both team's warmups and Coach Thompson had to make "shoo!" motions to the drummers as the slowly plodded off the court once they were finished. Reminded me of far too many bands I used to book who would try and play longer than the club had slotted them for...

The first three minutes of the second half were, in my opinion, the most important sequence of this game. Princeton held Rutgers scoreless for the first 3:50 of the second half, but was only able to extend their lead to 27-18 on a Persia jumper off a well-sold pump-fake. Rutgers extended their defense and started to drive to the basket. The Scarlet Knights also did a good job taking away the Princeton perimeter game.

Rutgers came back and tied the game at 34-34 with 8:21 left and the game was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. Andre Logan scored to put Princeton up two off an assist by Nate Walton. Todd Billet tied the game with two free throws. Logan scored on another layup off a pass from Walton. Rashod Kent scored to tie the game at 38 with 4:45 left. Ahmed El-Nokali scored on a layup off a third Walton assist to put Princeton up 40-38. Rutgers hit one of two free throws.Walton missed a three pointer and Rutgers took the lead, 41-40 on a tough basket by Mike Sherrod. Princeton took the lead back on two Logan free throws. Greer fed Kent for a dunk to put Rutgers up 43-42. El-Nokali's runner in the lane was blocked with 1:33 left. Rutgers ball.

Nate Walton fouled Kent, "hack-a-Shaq" style, when Kent got the ball down low. Kent missed the front end of his one-and-one and the Tigers had the ball with 1:20 left. Chapman threw the ball away looking for Nate Walton down low with 0:59 left. Jeff Greer scored after a tough jump-stop in the paint to put Rutgers up three, 45-42. Timeout Princeton. With 0:11 left, Andre Logan missed a three pointer, but Walton got the rebound and scored. El-Nokali fouled Jeff Greer with 0:04 on the clock. Greer missed his first free throw but made the second. Timeout Princeton.

Walton inbounded the ball under the Tigers' basket and fed a streaking Ed Persia who dribbled upcourt, spun towards the basket and fired an off-balance but open three pointer that hit the backboard too strong and Rutgers had a close two point victory, 46-44.

Rutgers continued the recent trend in this series, as the road team has now won four straight.

Logan was a spark off the bench for the second straight game, with some great blocks, good cuts to the basket and nice positioning to keep the ball in play off of Tiger misses. The jump shots will come in time.

El-Nokali hit several driving layups in the game but his final shot, which was blocked with less than two minutes left and Princeton down one, was ill-advised. El-Nokali got cut on his left wrist late in the second half and had to come out to be taped up. I imagine Ahmed got some blood on his jersey, as he had to switch both his jersey *and* his shorts, returning to the game not as #15 but as #31.

C.J. Chapman had another good defensive game, but he and Mike Bechtold disappeared offensively for stretches. One positive to take out of this game is that Princeton nearly won the game despite sub-par offensive games from Chapman and Bechtold.

Nate Walton passed the ball as well as usual and stayed out of foul trouble matched up against larger players all evening. Can't say enough about Nate's effort and heart this year. Nate Walton's father, who I hear was a basketball player of some import, was at the game, signing autographs.

Not much else to say. Sort of what you would expect from Rutgers/Princeton, especially with the players each team have this season. Reminded me of tight games these teams played in the 1980s. Close without many mistakes. Like Princeton's response to their effort against Lafayette, a win over Xavier, I expect Princeton to come out and play very well against TCU.

Princeton would lose by 31 at Texas Christian. Whoops.

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