An academic scandal at Harvard of all places may have just derailed the Ivy League champions for the coming season. Leading scorer Kyle Casey will withdraw from the university in order to preserve his eligibility for his final year after being implicated as part of a cheating scandal involving 125 students.
According to Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn, Casey will have the opportunity to re-enroll if he is cleared of wrongdoing and rejoin the team.
The investigation, which has implications for not just the basketball team, but the football team also, could sweep up another of the Crimson players in its wake.
A CBS Sports story this morning said that senior guard Brandyn Curry was also a member of the same class that is under investigation, but there is no news on whether he will withdraw as Casey did.
If both of the top returners for the Crimson leave, that is a huge blow to their hopes for the coming season. As we mentioned in our preview Saturday, Casey and Curry were the highest value players that Harvard had coming back. And as juniors, both could be set to make significant jumps in value.
A loss of those two immediately pushes sophomore Wesley Saunders into the starting lineup, a role he might have earned anyway given his performance in Italy on the preseason tour. But it also changes the offense from being built around Casey to a more guard oriented approach. Saunders and Laurent Rivard take over as the big weapons.
The defensive end also takes a hit, with Casey not helping to shore up the inside. Steve Moundou-Missi will have a bigger area to police, and it is entirely possible that Tommy Amaker will have to rely heavily on his incoming freshman, like Mike Hall, to not just play, but start and contribute significant minutes to the repeat campaign.
Of course, that all changes if Curry is not involved and is able to stay, although the lineup will still be guard heavy.
It looks as if the door has just opened for another team, likely Princeton, to make a significant move in the Ivy League and dethrone the Crimson.
UPDATE: Dan Duggan is reporting that Brandyn Curry will withdraw from Harvard by the end of the day, meaning our above scenario is looking like the most likely lineup for the Crimson.