Ivy Leaguers Seth Towns and Jordan Bruner could be playing for major programs next season, even as teammates

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Seth Towns (left, Harvard) and Jordan Bruner (right, Yale) will both be suiting up for major programs next season.

By Joel Alderman

At least two Ivy Leaguers, Seth Towns of Harvard and Yale’s Jordan Bruner, could be continuing their basketball careers in major programs as graduate transfers and might even end up as teammates. Towns has already announced his intention of moving on to Ohio State and over 40 colleges have expressed an interest in Bruner including the same Ohio State which has already landed Towns. The Ivy League does not allow a fifth year of eligibility, which is one of the reasons its stars are going elsewhere.

The injury-plagued Towns sat out his junior and senior years. He potentially has two years of eligibility with the Buckeyes. He is expected to graduate from Harvard in May, although the coronavirus pandemic could alter that occasion.

Bruner also lost a year

Bruner missed his second year at Yale with an injury six days before the opening game. He came back the following season and as a senior he was co-player of the year in the Ancient Eight when his team won the Ivy League championship.

Among his highlights this year, the 6-9 senior had a triple-double, the first-ever at Yale and only the third in the history of the Ivy League.

Towns, a top but injury-prone prospect, had narrowed his transfer choices to Ohio State and Duke. As for Bruner, he made himself eligible for the NBA draft, but since the pro league is not a sure thing with the new coronavirus, he had entered the college portal.

Bruner almost immediately attracted inquiries from several colleges, including the above-mentioned Duke.

Towns going back to his home state

Playing for a college in Ohio is something that Towns would probably have done originally if he had not chosen the prestige and value of a Harvard diploma. He is from that state and his high school is just a short distance away from the Buckeye campus. He has had a close relationship with coach Chris Holtmann. In addition, he should be a starter for Ohio State, which though already well stocked, could use Towns in the frontcourt.

Duke has a recruiting class regarded as number one, so even though Tre Jones is going pro and a couple of others are transferring out, Towns would not necessarily get as much playing time as he will at Ohio State.

Towns last played in the 2018 Ivy Tournament, the year he was the conference Player of the Year. He injured his knee which then was operated on.

On Saturday, March 21st, he committed to Ohio State as a graduate transfer. Staying “home is where the heart is. That opportunity to fight for the city (Columbus) that raised me is invaluable.” (The Harvard Crimson). He is a native of Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Northland High School.

Bruner’s contingency plan

Bruner is another thing. He is a physical specimen and excels as a scorer, rebounder and passer. Many schools could use him without feeling they are taking a chance. But will he transfer and continue his college career or turn pro?

“The ultimate goal for me is to try to be a pro, so I feel like whatever school or whatever situation is the best situation for me to go into and help my chances of doing that, that’s probably going to be the school I go with,” he told Matt Connolly of The Charlotte Observer.

Bruner entered the college transfer portal after declaring for the NBA draft. But conditions are so uncertain now because of the coronavirus he is exploring all options. Right after he made it known that he might become a graduate transfer he expected to hear from Frank Martin, coach at South Carolina.

Coincidentally Bruner is a native of Columbia, South Carolina and Towns hails from the city in Ohio with almost the same name, Columbus.

Bruner, who lost the entire 2019-20 season because of a knee injury that required surgery, starred at Spring Valley High School. Since entering the transfer portal over 40 colleges have expressed an interest, including Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, and even Ohio State, where Towns will be playing.

Look out for another Harvard star to shine

Towns and Bruner are not the only Ivy Leaguers who might be on the national stage, when and if the 2020-21 season begins. There is another player from Harvard: Bryce Aiken, a 6-foot point guard out of St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Aiken averaged 16.7 points a game in seven games this past season before suffering a foot injury. His suitors include Kansas, Maryland, Marquette, Seton Hall, Michigan, Iowa State, and Gonzaga.

All of which is proof the Ivy League has become a lucrative source for experienced, talented players who are anxious to extend their careers.


Another Ivy Leaguer has decided to become a graduate transfer into big-time college basketball. Patrick Tapé, who played at Columbia, will be going to Duke, as first reported last night by Jon Rothstein of CBS sports.

The 6-10 resident of Charlotte N.C. texted that “being close to home and having my family come see me” helped lead him into picking the Blue Devils over Syracuse, Maryland, USC and Ohio State. He also cited the “excellent tradition they have there and the opportunity to play for the best coach of all time.”

Tapé sat out the past season with a toe injury (that’s a new one) after averaging 11.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his junior year.

Also see:

Ivy League, strongly criticized for canceling its tournament, was vindicated when all conferences and the NCAA did the same as March Madness became March Sadness

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