2018-2019 Season Preview: Princeton Tigers

Princeton Tigers
Thomas J. Russo - USA TODAY Sports

After going unbeaten in Ivy League play in the 2016-2017 season, the Princeton Tigers had a rough going last year, finishing 5-9 in conference play and 13-16 overall while allowing the most points in program history. They lost a handful of games in the worst way, finishing 1-4 in overtime during conference play. The Tigers will rely heavily on seniors Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens who have both received significant playing time since their days as freshman. The Tigers are younger and more athletic than last year and may look to push the pace more with a top-notch recruiting class lead by top-100 guard Jaelin Llewellyn.

Princeton’s version of pushing the pace might still fall short of the type of basketball that most fans are accustomed to looking at in today’s game. Head coach Mitch Henderson’s style of the Princeton offense emphasizes methodical, front-court action that focuses on optimal spacing for multiple cuts and back-door passes. The Tigers shoot a ton of threes, finishing 19th in the country with 46.3% of their shots coming from behind the arc. Pairing an electric penetrating guard like Llewellyn alongside returning leading scorer Devin Cannady will cause a nightmare for defenses deciding whether to help on Llewellyn’s penetration or stay home on the sharpshooting Cannady.

Devin Cannady comes into his senior year with 218 3 pointers and will likely top the program’s career mark of 281 set by current Cornell coach Brian Earl. Cannady is an aggressive wing scorer that stretches the floor and keeps opponents home due to his accuracy from deep. His brand of scoring has always paired well with the multi-talented Myles Stephens, who is dangerous as a scorer or distributor from the high post, as well as a wrecking ball defensively.

The primary focus for Princeton will be to drastically cut down on the 2,083 points allowed last year. They often were found lacking in the foot-speed and athleticism to secure rebounds and stop penetrating guards inside. Stephens is a former Conference Defensive Player of the Year and will be relied upon to anchor the defensive unit. Getting stops will be key for Princeton, whose success will depend upon 3 pointers falling. The defense will allow Princeton to hang in games where their shooters are off. If Jaelin Llewelyn can adapt quickly and play at a high level the Tigers have a chance to make last year an anomaly and push for a second Ivy League Tournament title in 3 years.

The Tigers tip off with a home opener vs. DeSales on November 9th.


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