Monday, September 30, 2013

Kates and Tashman Bring Home Gold Medal

This past summer arguably two of the greatest players ever to put on an MIT uniform, Mitchell Kates and Will Tashman, traveled to Israel to represent the United States in the Maccabiah Games. Kates and Tashman, both All-Americans who led MIT to a 91-22 record, 4 straight NCAA Tournament Appearances, and a Final-Four appearance, were hand-picked to join a handful of other Division I players for the international tournament. After defeating host Israel in the semi-finals, USA went on to defeat Argentina to capture the gold medal.

MITHoops.NET spoke with both Kates and Tashman:

USA defeated Argentina in the Maccabiah Championship

How did it feel winning the gold medal at the Maccabiah Games? 

Kates: "Winning the gold at the Maccabi was an amazing feeling, especially on a stage where you are representing your country. There is also some pressure playing with the expectation that you should win being from the US and winning brought a sense of relief as well."

Tashman: "It was an awesome feeling winning gold. Being able to represent your country on an (albeit limited) international scale was a once in a life time opportunity. And taking home the gold was a great reward for us and the USA delegation."

Former co-captains, teammates, and All-Americans at MIT

What was your favorite experience in Israel?

Kates: "Playing with teammates from all over the country and spending a month together was a pretty unique experience. Opening ceremonies might be the most memorable, walking into a stadium with 50,000 people cheering like crazy."

Tashman: "The whole trip was fascinating. There are so many historically significant sites in Israel it's hard to pick just one. I think my favorite place was the Dead Sea/Masada. It was just an incredible view over the desert and the sea."

Kates and Tashman enjoyed their time off the court in Israel

There were many scouts for Israeli and European teams watching your practices and games, how was your interaction with them? 

Kates: "We had Israeli scouts at most practices and games. Several players on our team are currently playing in Israel now and Coach Greenberg coaches Hapoel Jerusalem. They were heavily recruiting most players on our team."

Tashman: "There were a fair amount of scouts following our team around because being Jewish allows us not to count as foreign players in the national league (given that we get citizenship). It was a new experience for me discussing my 'career options' for basketball. A lot of the scouts were very eager to connect me with head coaches of professional teams."

*Note: Both Tashman and Kates were offered contracts to play professionally in Israel

Kates left as MIT's all-time leader in assists and steals
How has your experience with MIT Basketball prepared you for international play? 

Kates: "In Israel, we had only 10 days of training camp before we started games, and pre-seasons at MIT offered a similar urgency to get ready for the season. I think MIT helped prepare me for this. However, European basketball is a very different style and most of us on the team were shocked by the playing and officiating style overseas."

Tashman: "My MIT Basketball experience definitely helped me excel on the international stage. We were an athletic team with a lot of weapons, and Mitch and I played similar roles on the team as we did during our time at MIT. We were both on the court for during crunch-time of our medal round games, so clearly our experience playing with each other allowed us to succeed in pressure situations."

Tashman became the first player in MIT history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds
What are you up to now and what are your plans for the future? 

Kates: "I am currently in the Masters of Engineering program at MIT, and I plan on graduating in May. My thesis project works with the SportVu player tracking data that NBA teams have started collecting (under Professor Guttag). After graduation I am looking to either continue playing basketball or join a startup."

Tashman: "Right now I'm working at Apple as a product design engineer. I'm living with six other MIT grads, including [former players] Jamie Karraker and Arni Lehto. I plan on being in California for awhile, and playing in some recreational leagues to get my basketball fix. We have a couple guys in the house who can play so it's easy to get a good game going."

More coverage of Kates' and Tashman's experience can be found below:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Congratulations to Assistant Coach DiBernardo on Birth of Twins

Graham and Ruby Dibernardo
MIT Assistant Coach Rob DiBernardo and his wife, Leigh, welcomed two new members to their family and the MIT Basketball Family, Graham and Ruby. The twins were born last weekend with Graham coming in at 7lbs. 2oz. and sister Ruby 5lbs. 7oz.

"My wife, Leigh, and I are absolutely thrilled. This is the best moment of my life," proclaimed the 4th-year coach. 

When asked about the twins' future basketball careers, Coach DiBernardo said "training has already started! We have two future MIT point guards on our hands."

Coach Rob DiBernardo prepares the players in Salem, VA at the Final Four (photo: Tom Gearty)
Coach DiBernardo joined the MIT staff with a wealth of basketball experience at the high school ranks and is currently finishing up his PhD in Sports Psychology. His wife, Leigh, is the creator and owner of Curly Girl Design, a unique gift company with stores all over the United States and overseas. 

MITHoops.NET wishes the DiBernardos all the best to their family. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2012-2013 MIT Basketball: By the Numbers

With the first day of practice for the 2013-2014 season less than three weeks away, we take a quick look back at the historical 2012-2013 season, by the numbers:

Team Record: 20-6
3rd Regular Season Conference Championship
5th consecutive 20-win season
5th consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance
9 Academic All-Conference Selections

Justin Pedley (Freshman, 6'6", WA)
21 points versus #11 St. Mary's (T-most points by freshman in tournament game)
.422 3FG% Season (5th all-time)

Jamie Karraker* (Senior, 6'4", WV)
288 3FGM Career (1st all-time)
673 3FGA Career (1st all-time)
.426 3FG% Career (1st all-time)

Matt Redfield (Sophomore, 6'8", CA)
NEWMAC All-Conference 2nd Team
26 Dunks Season (unofficially 1st all-time)
49 Blocks Season (3rd all-time)
.595 FG% Season (3rd all-time)

Noel Hollingsworth* (Senior, 6'9", UT)
.546 FG% Career (3rd all-time)
100 Blocks Career (3rd all-time)
18.4 PPG Career (6th all-time)
1,179 Points Career (17th all-time)

Mitchell Kates (Senior, 6'1", NJ)
NABC All-Region 3rd Team All-Region 2nd Team
ECAC All-Star 1st Team
NEWMAC All-Conference 1st Team
550 Assists Career (1st all-time)
254 Steals Career (1st all-time)
1,625 Points Career (4th all-time)
62 Steals Season (5th all-time)
.753 FT% Career (5th all-time)
128 Assists Season (7th all-time)

Will Tashman (Senior, 6'8", CA)
NABC All-American 3rd Team All-American 2nd Team
DIII News All-American Honorable Mention
NABC All-Region 1st Team All-Region 1st Team
ECAC All-Star 1st Team
NEWMAC Player of the Year
NEWMAC All-Conference 1st Team
1,023 Rebounds Career (1st all-time)
39 Double-Doubles Career (4th all-time)
.541 FG% Career (5th all-time)
.578 FG% Season (7th all-time)
280 Rebounds Season (8th all-time)
1,414 Points Career (9th all-time)
.740 FT% Career (9th all-time)
82 Blocks Career (9th all-time)
13 Double-Doubles Season (10th all-time)

*Both Jamie Karraker and Noel Hollingsworth were on the sidelines during their final years of eligibility (2012-2013) and did not compete. Their career statistics are a culmination of three (3) full seasons.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MIT Basketball's Summer Recap 2013: Higgins, Butala, Pierce, Gatewood

Tim Higgins, Freshman, 6'10", VA

Tim Higgins, along with the rest of MIT's freshman class, didn't waste any time after graduation, preparing themselves both mentally and physically for the college game. Higgins spent his summer honing his skills against top-level competition in the Nike Pro City Kenner League at Georgetown University. This heralded league consists of college, NBA, and overseas professional players. 

Tim Butala, Freshman, 6'8", CT

Tim Butala, the 6'8" swing-man from Connecticut, spent his time off the court working at O'Keefe Controls Company in Monroe, CT. Butala worked in R&D, testing new orifice and valve fluid flow as well as data extrapolation for the company. 

Dakota Pierce, Freshman, 6'3", CA

Dakota Pierce, hailing from California, played in an elite collegiate league out of Los Angeles over the summer called "Nike Say No Classic." Pierce's team captured the league championship, including a semi-finals win over a highly-touted Division I squad. Pierce also spent time off the court and in the studio, recording his first full piano album in Hollywood.

Hunter Gatewood, Freshman, 6'5", TX

Hunter Gatewood, a 6'5" sharp-shooter from Texas, spent his summer working for Deep Imaging Technologies as a Field Technician. His work consisted of imaging underground oil and gas reservoirs using electromagnetism. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

MIT Engineering Ranked #1 in Nation, Business #2

The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings list MIT's undergraduate engineering program #1 in the country and undergraduate business program (Sloan) #2. The rankings are based on a wide range of criteria, including acceptance rate, retention rate, SAT/ACT scores, class sizes, faculty performance, and financial resources, among many others.

Over 66% of MIT's classes are less than 20 students, allowing for more personal attention from professors
MIT's graduate program also took home a number of top rankings:
#1 - Engineering
#1 - Economics
#1 - Chemistry
#1 - Mathematics
#1 - Physics
#1 - Computer Science
#1 - Earth Sciences
#2 - Biological Sciences
#4 - Business
#8 - Political Science
#9 - Psychology

Sunday, September 22, 2013

MIT Basketball's Summer Recap 2013: Johnson, Frankel, Tsontzos

Russell Johnson, Sophomore, 6'6", NY (Mechanical Engineering)

Russell Johnson spent the summer after his freshman year at PASSUR Aerospace in New York. Johnson worked as intern for the company, using big data management and predictive analytics to improve inefficiencies in the aviation industry. Johnson also teamed up with Dennis Levene and Ryan Frankel in the NY Urban Basketball League. 

Ryan Frankel, Sophomore, 5'11", NY (Management Science/Computer Science)

Ryan Frankel spent his summer at Metamorphic Ventures, a New York City based venture fund. Frankel worked as an intern for the company, which "invests in start-up and early stage technology businesses focused on the digital media and digital commerce sectors." In addition to working at the Larry Byrnes Basketball Camp, Frankel joined teammates Russell Johnson and Dennis Levene in the NY Urban Basketball League. 

Lampros Tsontzos, Sophomore, 6'10", Greece (Mechanical and Ocean Engineering)

Lampros Tsontzos spent his summer back in his native country of Greece. The 6'10" big man participated in the "International Basketball Coaching Seminar: Athens 2013" among selected athletes to demonstrate coaching techniques. Here he worked with Vance Walberg (assistant coach for the Denver nuggets), Giorgos Bartzokas (head coach of Olympiacos B.C, Euroleague champion 2013, Euroleague Coach of the Year) and Luca Banchi (head coach of Emporio Armani Milano, Italian League and Italian Cup Champion 2013). Tsontzos also volunteered at Impact Hellas preparing high school kids in Greece to play college basketball in the States.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MIT Basketball's Summer Recap 2013: Redfield, Acker, Pedley

Matt Redfield, Junior, 6'8", CA (Mathematics with Computer Science)

Redfield, an All-Conference selection last year and co-captain this season, spent the first month of his summer traveling throughout Europe. Upon his return, Redfield worked in the Bay Area for Streetline Inc., a smart-parking start-up. Redfield performed large data analysis, running simulations and building probabilistic models for the company. 

Andrew Acker, Junior, 6'8", PA (Mechanical Engineering)

Acker, who rounds out the trio of captains, worked this summer as a Research Assistant for the McKay Lab of the University of Pennsylvania. Acker researched bone resorption and reformation, and was the resident mechanical engineer for the entire lab. In addition to studying and taking the MCAT, Acker played in the Delco ProAm League outside of Philadelphia.

Justin Pedley, Sophomore, 6'6", WA (Mechanical Engineering)

Pedley, who started as a freshman for the Engineers last season, spent his summer in Pasco, WA working for Ral-Boy Inc. Pedley performed contracting work with duties that ranged from construction to landscaping. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

MIT Basketball's Summer Recap 2013: Bender, Strobos, Levene

This past summer the members of the MIT Basketball team were busy both on and off the court, honing their skills in gyms across the US and taking advantage of the many research and work opportunities available. In this series we highlight each student-athletes' summer experience, beginning with three Juniors:

David Bender, Junior, 6'6", TX (Chemical Engineering/Materials Science Engineering)

(Photo: Tom Gearty)
Bender, the younger brother of former stand-out Billy Bender '12, was a research intern at Baker Hughes in Texas. Bender analyzed the physical properties of NiCr (nickel-chromium) superalloy under varying tests of time and temperature to determine the allows longevity in deepwater high pressure/high temperature wells.

Reinier Strobos, Junior, 6'7", TX (Computer Science/Materials Science Engineering) 

(Photo: Tom Gearty)
Strobos spent his summer working for Yahoo as a Software Engineer Intern. Strobos worked on the platforms team at the Internet giant's headquarters, building a web service which filtered social content so that it could be served more effectively to appropriate teams. 

Dennis Levene, Junior, 6'7", CT (Management Science/Mechanical Engineering)

(Photo: Tom Gearty)
Levene, a co-captain for the upcoming season, spent his summer working as an analyst for Marketfield Asset Management in New York City. Levene conducted equity research as well as performance and risk analysis for the fund, working closely with the head of research and senior management. Levene stayed on the campus of Columbia University, and was able to train with some of Columbia's basketball team. In addition to playing with teammates Russell Johnson and Ryan Frankel in the NY Urban League, Levene also played in NIKE Pro City for Big Apple Basketball. Competition in this heralded league included international, D-league, and NBA talent.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MIT Career Fair This Friday

MIT students and companies from around the world will have the chance to meet each other this Friday
The annual MIT Career Fair begins this Friday at 10am at the Johnson Athletic Center and Rockwell Cage. Nearly 400 companies will be on campus connecting with students offering full-time, part-time, and internship positions.

Members of the MIT Basketball team took advantage of the many job and internship opportunities over the summer; their experiences will be highlighted in upcoming posts.

A list of all companies attending the Fair can be found here:

More information about the Career Fair can be found here:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MIT Endowment Grows to $10.9 Billion

Killian Court (photo:
MIT recently released its annual Report of the Treasurer for fiscal year 2013 (ending June 30, 2013), highlighting a growth of 7% in its endowment over last year to $10.9 billion. The endowment generated returns of 11.1% during the year, funds which are used to "support current and future generations of MIT scholars with the resources they need."

The average financial aid award for students in 2012-2013 was $40,952.

MIT's endowment has steadily grown since 2009 (photo: MIT's Report of the Treasurer)

Read more about MIT's endowment and fiscal performance here:

Monday, September 16, 2013

MIT Ranked #1 University in the World

MIT began the Fall Semester with exciting news from the QS World University Rankings as MIT is ranked the #1 university in the world for 2013-2014. This is the second straight year MIT has earned this honor.

(photo: QS World Rankings)
The complete list of rankings can be found here:


After a year on the sidelines the blog is back in action for the 2013-2014 season, equipped with brand new content and a new name:


Be sure to stop by often for the inside scoop on everything MIT Basketball.