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Princeton Tigers men's basketball 2017-18 season preview

Princeton 

2017-18 record: 13-16, 5-9 in the Ivy League 

Head coach: Mitch Henderson 

Tenure at Princeton: 8th season 

Career coaching record: 132-76 

Home court: Jadwin Gymnasium 

Starters: G Devin Cannady, G Myles Stephens, G Jaelin Llewellyn, F Sebastian Much, F Jerome Desrosiers  

Bench: G Ryan Schwieger, G Jose Morales, F Will Gladson, F Elijah Barnes, C Richmond Aririguzoh 

Overview: Princeton had a rough 2017-18 campaign, finishing with its first losing record in the Ivy League since 2008-09. The Tigers’ disappointing season was even more surprising considering their dominant display in 2016-17, when the team finished with an undefeated 14-0 conference record. 

Princeton still boasts two All-Ivy selections in guards Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens, two-thirds of arguably last season’s best perimeter trio in the conference. The other member of that group—team assist leader Amir Bell—has since graduated. But the Tigers didn’t take long to find his replacement, bringing in four-star prospect Jaelin Llewellyn, one of Princeton’s highest-rated recruit in program history. 

The X-factor for this team, however, is going to be its frontcourt. Despite having one of the best backcourts in the conference, the Tigers finished fifth in the Ivy League last year mostly due to poor rebounding and interior defense. If the team wants to outplay its predicted conference finish of fourth in the Ivy League preseason media poll this season, it’s up to sophomores Sebastian Much and Jerome Desrosiers to ensure Princeton doesn’t face those same issues. 

One thing that needs to go right: The Tigers need quality production from their big men. As freshmen, Much and Desrosiers often looked overmatched against other Ivy League forwards and centers. Hopefully, they’ve used their offseason successfully to help Princeton bounce back as conference title contenders. 

One thing that could go wrong: Whether their young forwards improve on last year’s disappointing performance or not, the Tigers will still go only as far as their backcourt can take them. That’s why it’s essential that Llewellyn is able to live up to the hype and be a formidable replacement of Bell in the starting lineup. If he ends up a bust, Princeton’s season could go south very quickly. 

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