Harvard’s season hasn’t begun yet, but already expectations are sky high for Tommy Amaker’s Crimson in 2013-14.
The team returns all but one player from its 2012-13 roster -- the group that won the first NCAA tournament game in school history after capturing a second straight outright Ivy League title -- and welcomes Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry back into the fold after a season-long absence from school due to being implicated in an academic cheating scandal.
So far, things couldn’t have gone smoother for Curry in his return to the Crimson.
Before practices began, Curry was voted a team co-captain (along with 2012-13 co-captain Laurent Rivard). On Tuesday, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder got another vote of confidence, as he and Siyani Chambers were included on the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award watch list.
Soon-to-be backcourt mates Chambers and Curry are two of 50 players on the initial list announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; UMass senior Chaz Williams is also on the list after leading the Minutemen in scoring (15.5 PPG) and assists (7.3 APG) in 2012-13.
The list will be cut to 20 in early February and to five in early March, before the winner is announced along with the Hall of Fame’s 2014 class.
The Cousy award, named after the Celtics Hall of Famer, is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate point guard by a committee made up of media members, coaches, media relations staffers and basketball Hall of Famers. Previous winners include Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson. Michigan’s Trey Burke won the award in 2013.
"The Bob Cousy Award promotes the values of leadership, determination and teamwork, all skills needed not only on the hardwood but also in life," Ken Kaufman, former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and chair of the Cousy Award, said in a release. "Mr. Cousy exemplified all of these traits, and continues to be an inspiration to basketball players on and off the court."
A 6-foot, 170-pound Minnesota native, Chambers became the first freshman to be named all-Ivy first team and was a unanimous pick for Ivy League Rookie of the Year after leading the conference in assists (5.7) and minutes (37.8) per game last season. Curry was a Cousy award candidate in 2011-12, when he averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 assists per game.
The first real test of how the two point guards will coexist on the court comes in less than three weeks. Harvard’s first game is Nov. 10 against Holy Cross, part of a tripleheader at TD Garden that includes Boston University-Northeastern and Boston College-UMass-Amherst.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.