Princeton’s royal connection to the Sacramento Kings explained

Mar 17, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Mar 19, 2023, 8:28 am
The Princeton Tigers celebrate a basket against the Arizona Wildcats during the second half in the ...
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: The Princeton Tigers celebrate a basket against the Arizona Wildcats during the second half in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 16, 2023 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Princeton shocked the sports world when they knocked No. 2 seeded Arizona out of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center.

Only 4.3% of March Madness brackets had Princeton advancing on Thursday.

Princeton’s men’s basketball team has a few connections to another familiar sports underdog, the Sacramento Kings, who recently clinched their first winning season in 17 years.

Here are some of the ways the two are tied together:

The Carril Connection

Current Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson learned after his former coach Pete Carril.

After leading the Tigers to 13 Ivy League Championships, Carril served as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings from 1996-2002, 2003-2006 and 2008-2011. During his time with the Kings, he helped them become one of the NBA’s best offensive teams.

Carril, who guided the Tigers to 11 NCAA Tournaments – including a win in 1996 over defending national champion, UCLA, in one of the most famous tourney games in history – died on Aug. 15 at the age of 92. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.

“I loved watching [Coach Carril’s] Kings teams,” said Henderson. “[His] influence on the game is everywhere in my opinion, it’s the modern game, a passing center and skilled players. This [Princeton] group, coach would be very proud of them and love the way they play together.”

A Princetonian Leading A Sacramento Resurgence

Monte McNair, a former football player at Princeton, is the current general manager and president of basketball operations of the Sacramento Kings. With McNair leading the way, the Kings have secured their first 40 wins season since 2006-the year McNair graduated from Princeton, and are set to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2006.

A Legacy of Success For Princetonians In Sacramento

Geoff Petrie was a former men’s basketball player at Princeton and served as general manager of the Kings from 1994-2013. He won the NBA Executive of the Year Award twice during this time, in both 1999 and 2001.

This story first appeared on KCRA



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