Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Three All-Ivy Players Return for Cornell in '07-'08

Unlike the prior twenty years, during 2007-2008, Cornell will have on board three returning All-Ivy League honorees.

Adam Gore (pictured), a 6'0" rising sophomore was a Second Team All-Ivy selection and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year during 2005-2006. Gore sat out 2006-2007 as a medical red-shirt.

During 2006-2007, Ryan Wittman, a 6'6" rising sophomore, repeated Gore's accoplishments and was tabbed a Second Team All-Ivy League selection and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Wittman's classmate, Louis Dale, a 5'11" point guard was an Honorable Mention All-Ivy League selection.

Gore, Wittman and Dale all return to Cornell in 2007-2008 for their sophomore season. The last time an Ivy League team had three returning All-Ivy League selections from the prior year was the 2005-2006 season, when Penn returned a trio of rising juniors who earned All-Ivy honors --Ibby Jabber (Second Team), Steve Danley (honorable mention) and Mark Zoller (honorable mention). The Jabber, Danley and Zoller trio helped Penn capture three consecutive Ivy titles during 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2006-2007.

Cornell is hoping its All-Ivy League sophomores can duplicate Penn's success.

Recruiting News: Oh Canada!








(Pictured above, Cornell recruiting prospect, Keaton Cole, a 5'9" point guard out of Toronto, Canada.)

Now for a bit of recruiting news north of the border...

Cornell has a strong tradition under Head Coach Steve Donahue in recruiting Canadian players. In the last seven years, Cornell received recruiting commitments from Canadians, Chris Vandenberg, David Lisle, Graham Dow, and most recently, Andre Wilkins. We don't expect Donahue's recruitment of Canadian "ballers" north of the border to stop anytime soon, especially with Canadian native, Cornell Assistant Coach Nat Graham on board.

A source tells us that although Marc Van Burck, a 6'11" 260 lb center from Saskatchewan, Canada, looked into potentially transferring to Cornell (or another Ivy) via the University of Colorado, Van Burck is now receiving a full court recruitment press from western-based mid majors. Accordingly, while the Ivy League may not be entirely ruled out, the scenario is unlikely.

Ironically, while Van Burck involuntarily leaves Boulder, Colorado after having his scholarship stripped, in arrives to the Buffs, Bobby Fenkse, a 6'8" transfer from the Naval Academy. We have seen multiple internet-based reports that Fenske inquired about transferring to Cornell before choosing Colorado, but he was told by the Big Red staff that there was no need for his services.

Meanwhile, a pair of Canadian prospects from the class of 2007 have decided to stay in Canada for the 13th grade and reclassify as prospects for the high school class of 2008. Both were recruited by Cornell last year, but returned to high school for the extra year in order to further develop their academic profiles and basketball skills. Cornell could become involved again with both players.

The first prospect is Eastern Commerce Collegiate H.S. of Toronto, Canada, 5'9" point guard, Keaton Cole. Canadian recruiting expert, Jim Thomas reported on February 12, 2007 that Cornell visited Cole during February to evaluate him, but Cornell was waiting on his SAT results to see if he would qualify for admission. Thomas ranked Cole as the #1 point guard in the Ontario province while TheHoopLife.Ca, a Canadian recruiting website, ranked Cole as the #12 overall player in Canada for all class years and positions. HoopLife reported that Cole has "Iverson-like speed" and “can take over a game with his play making or his outside jumper.” The website also commented that Cole “has a great understanding on how to organize his team on both offence and defence." Cole was also highly ranked by HoopScoopOnline.com, listed as the #449 recruit in North America. Cole’s resume also includes his membership on the Ontario provincial select team the last four years and attendance at the prestigious Nike All-Canada Camp. We are told that Cole and incoming Cornell recruit, Andre Wilkins have a good relationship, which could play a factor in Cornell's recruiting Cole again this year.

Another recruit returning to high school in Canada is Adam Folker.
Thomas and the Toronto Star reported that Cornell, Oakland University and Central Michigan were recruiting Folker out of Markham HS in Ontario late last year. Folker is 6’7” and a slender 190 lbs., but he possesses the skill set to play anywhere from point guard to small forward at the collegiate level. Thomas ranks him as the #3 small forward in Ontario. Folker was invited to the Nike All Canada Camp during the summers of 2005 and 2006.

For more information, see our Cornell and Ivy League Basketball Recruiting Update here.


Monday, July 30, 2007

What Can Hartford Contribute as a Starter?
























#44 Jason Hartford, a 6'9" center, goes for a rebound in the Syracuse Carrier Dome against St. Francis, Pa. during the season opener in November 2005.


What can Cornell expect from a healthy Jason Hartford in a starter's role with 25 or more minutes per game? Well, during 2005-2006, Hartford played twenty or more minutes in eight contests. In just those isolated eight games, he averaged 26 minutes per game and an impressive 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, while shooting 60% from the floor. Even more impressive, the opponents in those eight games included Syracuse, Penn State, Washington, and Albany. On the 2005-2006 season as a whole, Hartford averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in just nineteen minutes of action per game, while shooting 56% from the floor.

We think these numbers suggest that if Hartford plays healthy and receives an increased 25-35 minutes per game, Cornell is bound to have a legitimate interior presence to pair with the Big Red's All Ivy League perimeter trio of Ryan Wittman, Adam Gore and Louis Dale.

Schedule Update: Alvernia College???











We learned today that Cornell will host Division III
Alvernia College on January 10, 2008 in Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY. In short, this game has little attraction to Cornell and Ivy League basketball fans. In light of this schedule development, we don't know if Cornell will also play Division III Ithaca College, a traditional crosstown rivalry game for charity. We are hopeful that Cornell will not play Ithaca College in light of the Alvernia game. Cornell has never played two non-Division I teams during the same season under Steve Donahue or his predecessor, Scott Thompson.
Here is our update on other news and rumors for the upcoming 2007-2008 Cornell basketball schedule. Underlined links are provided to the public sources of information.

CONFIRMED GAMES
  • Lehigh-Cornell is owed a return game in Ithaca after playing in Bethlehem, PA during 2006-2007. This game is rumored to be the home opener on November 10, 2007.
  • Siena-Sunday, November 25, 2007 at Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • Binghamton-Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 7 PM in Newman Arnea, Ithaca, NY.
  • Colgate-Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 8 PM in Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • At Bucknell-December 19, 2007.
  • At Syracuse-December 22, 2007 at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY.
  • Quinnipiac-December 31, 2007-We don't know the location of this game, but the New Haven Register is reporting that the Bobcats want this game rescheduled.
  • At Duke-January 6, 2008. Televised on Fox Sports.
  • At NJIT-January 7, 2008-Listed on NJIT's website. Cornell plays Duke the day before.
  • Alvernia College (Division III)-January 10, 2008 in Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • 14 Ivy League games

POTENTIAL GAMES

At Stony Brook-Cornell played the Seawolves in Ithaca during 2006-2007, so expect the return game on Long Island this year. We do not have a confirmation on this game.

Army-Cornell is owed a return game after playing in West Point, NY during 2006-2007, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.

Ithaca College-We expect this annual game played for charity in Newman Arena, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.

Lafayette-No confirmation on this game. Cornell did not play the Leopards in 2006-2007, but it is reasonable to expect that these teams will renew their long time rivalry during 2007-2008 following the one year hiatus.

At Minnesota-The source reporting the game on the road at the Minnesota Golden Gophers is the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Sid "Grandpa Sid" Hartman. This game does not appear to be confirmed, but it would seem to make sense as it would be a homecoming for Cornell sophomore Ryan Wittman (Eden Prarie, Minnesota). Cornell also regularly recruits in Minnesota.

New Additions Update

Cornell returns Louis Dale, a 5'11" sophomore point guard (13.4 points, 3.7 assists--Honorable Mention All Ivy League) from last year, but it is the "new additions" to the roster that make Cornell a favorite for the NCAA automatic bid next season.


Although Cornell is a popular choice as the preseason favorite in the Ivy League 2007-2008 race, a few words of caution: the Big Red does not return the best players in the Ivy League from '06-'07. Instead, an argument could be made that Yale has the best returning players with quality experience. Meanwhile, Penn has many former blue chip recruits in the program who have been hidden on the bench for the last few years behind more established veterans. Further down the Ivy, Columbia brings back its entire roster and will be primed for one last run at the title. Brown returns a pair of All Ivy guards in Damon Huffman and Mark McAndrew that should also make them very competitive on any night. Even Harvard appears to have a very competitive starting line-up featuring Jeremy Lin, Drew Housman, Evan Harris and Cem Dinc. Then there is always the "Princeton offense" that keeps the Tigers in any game.

But what makes Cornell a popular dark horse to win the Ivy League is not so much the returnees from '06-'07, but the "additions" to the roster. No other team adds as many immediate impact players as Cornell.


First, the discussion begins with the Big Red's losses. Cornell graduated 6'10" center Andrew Naeve, a 2nd Team All-Ivy League, 6'0" heady point guard Graham Dow and 5'11" seldom used reserve guard Kevin App. Forward Ugo Ihekweazu has one semester remaining before graduation, but will not return to the basketball team in order to focus on medical school applications. Fortunately, for Cornell, the "new additions" to the roster should replace the four departing players.


New additions will come in the form of three transfers, two medical red-shirts, and two true freshmen. The transfers are 6'0" guard Collin Robinson from USC, 7'0" center Jeff Foote from St. Bonaventure and 6'5" combination forward Andre Wilkins from Blinn College in Texas. All three should be immediate impact players.

Robinson was very impressive during the team's summer tour in France, leading the Big Red in most statistical categories, including scoring. An impressive feat considering he was playing alongside Ryan Wittman, the Ivy's reigning Rookie of the Year/2nd Team All Ivy selection (15.6 points per game last year). Robinson is a tremendous replacement for the graduating Dow and App.

The new tower, Foote also showed signs this summer of having a significant impact in the upcoming Ivy League season. During the Empire State Games in Westchester County, New York, Foote averaged 9 points per game and showcased some shot-blocking and shot alteration defense against decent sized collegiate competition. His addition will help soften the blow of Naeve's graduation.


Wilkins, an explosive slasher and rebounder should bring excitement to Ithaca. Steve Donahue told the Ithaca Journal on July 19, 2007, “I would say, if (Wilkins) is not the best athlete in the league, he's equal to anyone in the league athletically. Gets off his feet, terrific in transition, plays extremely hard. He's a little different than the guys we have.” Wilkins fits perfectly into the vacancy left by Ihekweazu.In addition the transfers, Donahue told the Ithaca Journal that both his medical red-shirts from 2006-2007 are ready to go and in good health. Guard Adam Gore, who tore his ACL after scoring 20 points in the 2006 season opening win over Northwestern, was cleared to play in June and “looks terrific." Further, Donahue reported that 6'9" Jason Hartford, who sat out last season due to ongoing foot injuries, also has been cleared to play. “The foot's healed and he hasn't had any problems,” Donahue said. Combined with Robinson, Gore should eliminate any concerns of losing Dow and App. Meanwhile, Hartford will help Foote in filling in for Naeve Cornell's two freshmen are 6'9" Aaron Richardson-Osgood and 6'6" Adam Wire. Cornell may also add 6'11" Shawn Oliverson to the roster, once he returns from missionary work for the Mormon Church.





Sunday, July 29, 2007

Recruiting News: Big Colorado Buffalo Available








Cornell has an incredible opportunity to recruit a monster sized player from the junior college ranks. Marc Van Burck, a 6'11" 280 lb. center has left the University of Colorado basketball team and enrolled at Salt Lake Community College for his sophomore season. Van Burck was recruited by Cornell when he attended Luther College High School in Saskatchewan, Canada, however, Van Burck was lured to the limelight of the Big 12. When Colorado's head coach, Ricardo Patton was replaced by Air Force's Jeff Bzdelik this year, Van Burck lost his scholarship and is now searching for a new Division I home for the 2008-2009 season. In all, four Colorado players lost their scholarships. An opportunity for Van Burck to obtain an Ivy League degree and play right away makes Cornell an ideal fit as a transfer destination.

Van Burck averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots per game during his senior year of high school and appeared in the Nike All-Canadian Camp and on the U-17 Developmental National Team. With the Colorado Buffalos he saw action in nine games, but was injured most of the season with a right foot stress fracture. He did get a taste of Big 12 life, seeing floor time against Missouri (twice), Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech (twice), Kansas State, and Nebraska. NCAA Division 1 programs from the West Coast Conference (WCC) and Big West Conference have been inquiring into the 6’11” 280-pound center. Cornell should get involved.


See an article on his transfer from the Saskatchewan Leader Post below.

Van Burck Moving

By Tom Switzer
Saskatchewan Leader Post
July 28. 2007


Marc Van Burck doesn't have to come down from his Rocky Mountain high just yet.

The former Luther Lions basketball star lost his scholarship with the University of Colorado (located in Boulder) this spring, but found a new home on the other side of the mountain range with Salt Lake City Community College.

When Colorado hired Jeff Bzdelik as their new head coach in April, he informed Van Burck that his services were no longer required.

"I didn't really like it or I didn't really like him there," said Van Burck. "I knew his style was not going to work with me and a couple of my friends there."

The 6-foot-11 and 280-pound centre didn't see much action during the 2006-07 season for the Buffaloes. He was on the floor for six minutes of the team's season opener against the University of Denver, but a stress fracture in the second toe of his right foot kept him out for the next two months.

Still, Van Burck was assured by former head coach Ricardo Patton that there would be significant floor time available later in the season. In his first game back from injury, the Star City product logged 32 minutes.

But at season's end, Patton did not want a contract extension and the school hired former Air Force coach Bzdelik.

The new head coach wanted to install a new, Princeton-style offence that requires everyone on the floor to be able to score from the inside and the three-point line.

Van Burck didn't fit into those plans.

"He saw that four of us from the team didn't have a chance to thrive in that offence and he wanted us to go on and play somewhere else and have better careers at other schools," said Van Burck, 19.

When Van Burck went looking for a new university team in the U.S., he found most of the majors had already used up their scholarships for the year. That led him to Salt Lake, where expects to stay for one season.

Van Burck has already had inquiries from four-year schools and expects to be enrolled at one of them for the 2008-09 campaign. He declined to reveal which schools have shown interest.

After his stellar career with the Lions, Van Burck had been recruited heavily by Colorado, Idaho State, Cornell and Brown.

After he was cut at Colorado, Van Burck considered coming home and playing at the University of Saskatchewan or the University of Regina. He quickly decided, however, that if he wants to chase the dream of high-level NCAA basketball and the NBA, he needs to stay south of the border.

So instead of a relaxing summer of waiting to suit up for the Buffaloes again in the fall, Van Burck spent a number of weeks visiting different schools. From there it was tryouts for Canada's under-19 team that recently played in the world championships in Novi Sad, Serbia. He failed to crack the roster.

But now that all that is finished, he is back on the farm in Star City where a number of relatives from Germany came to visit for his dad, Hans' 50th birthday. Hans and his wife, Marianne, were both raised in Germany and came to Canada 25 years ago.

Once the reunion is over, Marc Van Burck won't have much more time to relax. He is expected back in Salt Lake on Aug. 20.

"There's not a lot of time," said Van Burck.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Foote Scores 12 points in Empire State Games











Jeff Foote, a 7'0" transfer to Cornell from St. Bonaventure, scored 12 points but his Central New York team fell 69-67 to Western New York today at the Empire State Games held in New Rochelle, New York. Tom Wopperer (St. Lawrence University) led Central with 13 points as they fell to 0-3 in the round robin tournament. Once again, Central was simply outgunned by an opponent with multiple Division I players. Cornell's Jeff Foote is the only Division I player on Central. Western was led by Greg Gamble's (Univ. of Buffalo) 22 points. His University of Buffalo teammate, Byron Mulkey added 14 points. Foote finished the tournament with a 9.0 points per game average and showed potential from the free throw line, hitting 6 of 8 attempts.

Recruiting News: The Academic Camp

















NJHoops.com is reporting that the winner of the Most Outstanding Prospect at the Eastern Invitational's Academic Elite Camp is receiving recruiting interest from Cornell. Patrick Lee, a 6'5" wing, graduated Fayetteville Manlius High School in Syracuse New York, but will be attending the Hill School in Pennsylvania this fall as a postgrad. Last season Lee averaged 17.6 ppg, 13 rpg with 70 blocks while being named to The Syracuse Post-Standard's 2006-07 All-Central New York boys basketball team. During the Academic Camp Lee told NJ Hoops that he was hearing from Cornell, Columbia, as well as non-Div Is, Stonehill, Bentley, Hamilton and Lemoyne. Lee had 5 points, 8 boards, 1 assist and a trey in the camp Senior All Star game. NJHoops commented that he showed an ability to score inside and out, rebound and block shots.

Although Cornell is loaded at wing forward for the next several years (Ryan Wittman, Geoff Reeves, Andre Wilkins, Jason Battle, Conor Mullen, Jon Jaques, and Adam Wire), Cornell could have the inside track on Lee's recruitment. Not only is Cornell close to Lee's home in Syracuse, but Cornell also successfully recruited Aaaron Richardson-Osgood from the Hill School last year.

Foote Scores 10, but Central New York Falls

Cornells Jeff Foote, pictured right, blocks a shot during the Empire State Games on Thursday, July 26 at Iona College, New Rochelle, NY.

Jeff Foote hit a trio of FGs and made 4/6 from the free throw line to finish with 10 points, but it was not enough as his Central New York Team fell 87-79 to Long Island on Friday, July 27 at the Empire State Games held in New Rochelle, New York. Foote is a 7'0" transfer on the Cornell basketball team via St. Bonaventure. David Bisesi (Potsdam State) led Central New York with 19 points while Scott Morton (SUNY Geneseo) added 13 points.

Antoine Agudio (Hofstra) led all scorers with 22 points for team Long Island.

In other action on July 27, Hudson Valley defeated Western New York 78-72. Penn's Michael Kach finished with 6 points. Hudson Valley previosuly defeated Foote's Central New York team on July 26, but Kach was scoreless, and Foote finished with 5 points.

The Empire Games is a multi-sport event for amateur athletes, patterned after the Olympic program with teams broken down into regions of New York State. Athletes must be residents of the State of New York. Most of the basketball teams in the Empire Games feature multiple Division I players, and virtually all of the players compete at the collegiate level.




Friday, July 27, 2007

Syracuse Confirms the Renewal of Cornell-SU Rivalry

SYRACUSE, NY -- Syracuse will renew one of its longest-standing rivalries when it hosts Cornell in men's basketball on Saturday, December 22, at 7:00 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Orange and Big Red last met on Nov. 9, 2005 in the 2K Sports Classic at the Dome. Syracuse won the matchup, 67-62.

SU owns an 83-31 advantage in the all-time series. The two program first met on the hardwood in Feb. 2001. The Orange have won 29 straight against Cornell. The last Big Red triumph in the series was a 93-81 victory on Dec. 4, 1968.

Cornell was 16-12 overall and 9-5 in the Ivy League last winter. The Big Red are coached by Steve Donahue.

Cornell Basketball in the Community


The Ithaca Journal is reporting that the Cornell men's basketball program will be holding a four-session clinic for chuildren that will run every Saturday in August at the Ithaca and Tompkins County YMCA. The program will be run by Cornell coaches and players. It is not known which Cornell players will be on campus during the entire month of August.

Cornell Big Man Competes in Empire State Games



















(Jeff Foote, #40, pictured above with the St. Bonaventure basketball team. Click on the picture for larger image.)

Cornell’s Jeff Foote, a 7’0” sophomore transfer from St. Bonaventure is playing basketball this summer in the Empire State Games for the Central NY team. The Empire Games is a multi-sport event for amateur athletes, patterned after the Olympic program with teams broken down into regions of New York State. Athletes must be residents of the State of New York.

Most of the basketball teams in the Empire Games feature multiple Division I players, and virtually all of the players compete at the collegiate level. Foote’s Central NY team is however comprised mostly of D-III players, but does feature another 7 footer in Dan Crowell from Lemoyne College. Other collegians on Foote’s Central NY team include:

David Bisesi (Potsdam State)
Dan McSweeney (St. John Fisher College)
Nick Perioli (SUNY Oswego)
Tom Wopperer (St. Lawrence)
Scott Morton (SUNY Geneseo)

On July 26, at Iona College in New Rochelle, Foote’s Central NY team squared off against a deeper Hudson Valley, falling 80-77. The Hudson Valley team boasted several D-I players. Foote showed some perimeter range, hitting a three-pointer and finishing with 5 points. Hudson Valley was led by Marist’s Ryan Schneider (28 pts). Penn’s Mike Kach also plays for Hudson Valley, but did not score. Ryan Stilphon, also of Marist, added 9 points for Hudson Valley.

Foote and Central NY return to action today, July 27, against Long Island. The Long Islanders brings some decent Division I size with 6’10” Greg Washington from Hofstra, 6’8” Rio Pitt from Stony Brook and 6’6” Siena recruit, Steven Priestly. Central NY better watch out for Long Island’s Antoine Agudio who pumped in 33 points in his team’s opener. Agudio is a 6’3” guard from Hofstra.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Recruiting News: Cornell Looks at Iowa Point Guard

IowaPreps.com is reporting that Cornell has showed interest this summer in 5'11" point guard, Morris Smeader from Ankeny H.S. in Iowa. Smeader is playing basketball this summer with the All Iowa Attack AAU team, which has helped raise his recruiting profile from a virtual unknown. Last year he averaged 15.0 points, and shot 47 percent on three-pointers while dishing 2.2 assists per game. In addition to Cornell, the only other D-I schools that have sent him mail are The Citadel, Samford and North Dakota State. Additionally, smaller schools such as D-III University of Chicago have also inquired. Cornell and The Citadel are the only schools that actually called Smeader this summer. Nevertheless, Cornell has done an outstanding job over the last 4-5 years discovering those "hidden gems."

Recruiting News: Searching for Game and Smarts







NJHoops.com is reporting that there is significant Ivy League representation, scouting high school basketball prospects at the inaugural Academic Elite Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp run by The Hoop Group at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, NJ. TCNJ is hosting more than 200 players who represent 21 states as well as the District of Columbia and Canada. In order to attend the camp, the players must have potential to play collegiately while also carrying minimum 3.0 GPAs (although many also have very high SAT/ACT scores as well). More than 100 different colleges are in attendance scouting talent, including representatives from the Ivy League, Patriot League and numerous other top academic schools throughout Division I, II and III.

According to NJHoops, the elite campers in attendance include 5-11 post-graduate Kinard Dozier of Winchendon (Mass.) School; 6-2 senior Doug Holcombe of Shawnee (NJ) High; 6-5 senior Dave Zaitz of Scarsdale (N.Y.) High; 6-4 senior Taylor Barrise of Northern Highlands (NJ) High; 6-2 senior George Milligan of Don Bosco Prep (NJ); 6-2 senior Joel Whitty of St. Catharine's in Canada; 6-5 senior Patrick Lee of the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa.; 6-7 senior Myer Messinger of Dallas High in Kingston, Pa.; 6-6 junior Sidney McCray of St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Md.; and 5-6 sophomore Cedrick Johnson of Snow Hill (Md.) High.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boosting Cornell Basketball Fan Attendance














(Pictured above, Cornell's Newman Arena)

The NCAA released its basketball attendance totals for 2006-2007, however, no Ivy League school finished among the Top 100 Division I programs in attendance figures. Drake Univesity (in Iowa) finished in 100th position with an average attendance of 5,458. Nevertheless, even if Cornell sold out each game, Cornell would not finish among the nation's Top 100. Cornell's home venue, Newman Arena, only provides seating for 4,473 fans, unless special modifications are made for bigger games. For example, when Cornell hosted Georgia Tech at Newman Arena on November 23, 2003, the game drew a crowd of 4,762 fans.















Unfortunately, Cornell did not even come close to averaging 4,000 fans per game. Cornell averaged a mere 1,278 fans per game during 2006-2007, despite finishing the season 16-12 (9-5 Ivy 3rd place), the Program’s most wins (in and out of conference) since the 1992-1993 season. If Cornell hopes to capture an Ivy League championship during 2007-2008, the Big Red will need more support from the community in order to create a true home court advantage at Newman Arena.








Cornell's Super Six




























(Pictured clockwise, 6'9" 240 lb. Senior Jason Hartfor
d, 6'7" 240 lb. Soph. Alex Tyler, and 6'6" Soph. Ryan Wittman)

The nucleus of Cornell's playing rotation during 2007-2008 will likely inlcude three primary frontcourt players, each near "locks" as starters.

Jason Hartford should effectively man the paint at center for Cornell. Hartford sat out 2006-2007 as a medical red-shirt with a broken foot, but his injury has since fully healed. During 2005-2006, the 6'9" Hartford averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 19 minutes of action per game. He was forced out of seven contests with a variety of injuries including a broken wrist, and played most of the year injured. Nevertheless, Hartford was a threat from both inside and beyond the arc as a junior, hitting 66/119 FGs (56%) and 12/26 three-pointers on the year. In comparison, now graduated Andrew Naeve was a 44% FG shooter during 2005-2006 and did not hit a single three-pointer that season. Naeve shot a much improved 54% during 2006-2007, but did not connect on a single three-pointer. As a replacement for Naeve, Hartford should help Cornell's offensive production inside with his rebounding, versatility and "guard-like" offensive skils. Evidence from 2005-2006 of Hartford's potential All-Ivy abilities include a 7-of-8 performance from the floor for a career-high 21 points at Yale. He also scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting at then No. 10 Washington. He also posted 10 points and eight rebounds, including making both 3-point attempts, against Ivy champ Penn and notched 11 points and 5 rebounds against NCAA Tournament participant Albany. He also had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the 2005-2006 season opening game against St. Francis (Pa.). Not surprisingly, at the conclusion of the 2005-2006 season, Hartford was selected by Basketball-U.com as a 1st Team All-Reserve for the best players off the bench in the Ivy League.

Alex Tyler, a sophomore, will likely start at power forward for the second consecutive year. In 14 Ivy League games for the Big Red during 2006-2007, the wide-bodied 6'7" Tyler played just under a half at 17.2 minutes of action per game, but mustered 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds, while shooting an impressive 61% from the floor. Tyler was also competent from the foul line, knocking down 74% of his foul shots. Tyler was selected by Basketball-U.com as an "All-High Ceiling Rookie" for his long-term potential. Tyler provides Cornell with defensive toughness and rebounding down low, yet is also a capable scorer with his high shooting percentages.

Ryan Wittman will once again start at small forward. The 6'6" sophomore ranked fourth in the Ivy League in scoring, 15.6 ppg, while shooting 44% from the field, 43% from beyond the arc, and 89% at the free throw line. He also contributed 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Wittman was the 2006-2007 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a Second Team All-Ivy League selection. Wittman is arguably Cornell's best all-around player on both ends of the floor, if not the Ivy League's most versatile player. Many of his contributions do not appear on the stat sheets.

























(Pictured clockwise, 6'0" Soph.
Adam Gore, 6'0" Soph. Collin Robinson, and 5'11" Soph. Louis Dale)

Competition for playing time at guard will be fierce with three sophmores battling for minutes. All three, however, should see considerable time on the floor whether they start the game or come off the bench.

Louis Dale will likely start for the second consecutive year at point guard. An All-Ivy League Honorable Mention selection during 2006-2007, Dale averaged 13.4 points (12th in the Ivy League) while hitting 44% from the floor (10th in the Ivy League) and 45% from beyond the arc (6th in the Ivy League). Despite standing only 5’11”, Dale’s quickness and above the rim leaping ability enabled him to pull down 5.3 rebounds per game (9th in the Ivy League). He also dished 3.7 assists per game (3rd in the Ivy League). Dale is arguably the Ivy League's most dangerous point guard because of his ability to either drive the lane with his quickness or bury the outside shot. He is also a stellar passer and playmaker off the dribble. On defense, Dale is one of the League's best on the ball defenders and collects defensive rebounds out of the backcourt.

Adam Gore sat out all but one game during 2006-2007 as a medical red-shirt (knee). During 2005-2006, however, Gore shot 43% from the floor and 42% from beyond the arc on route to a team leading 12.9 points per game. A reliable scorer, he reached double figures in 10 of the team's 14 Ivy games. He also shot a solid 83% from the free throw line, while chipping in 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a Second Team All-Ivy League selection. During 2007-2008, Gore is expected to play a combo guard role, splitting time as a back-up point guard for Dale as well as time in the shooting guard position. Gore is one of the Ivy League's best spot-up shooters, but has improved his ability to create his own scoring opportunities. He is also a competent ball handler out of the backcourt and works hard on defense.

Collin Robinson could also end up a starter in the backcourt during 2007-2008. A 6’0” combination point guard and shooting guard, Robinson transferred from USC last year. He averaged an impressive 20.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 4 rebounds while shooting 41% on three-pointers and 49% on FGs in four games for Cornell during the team's French Tour between May 23, 2007 and June 1, 2007. Robinson was also impressive in Cornell's Fall 2006 Red-White intersquad scrimmage, posting 14 points to lead all scorers. Robinson could start alongside Dale in the backcourt or could emerge as the team's 6th man. Like Dale, Robinson can score anywhere on the court, and brings the ability to break down defenses off the dribble. He is also a reliable secondary ball handler on the floor.

Recruiting News: Cornell Looks at Illinois Point Guard























With only one senior scheduled to graduate at the conclusion of the 2007-2008 season, Cornell Basketball's Head Coach, Steve Donahue has the luxury of recruiting a small and selective class of newcomers for the 2008-2009 season. It is no secret, Cornell's top priority is to recruit bigger players who can contribute at power forward and/or center in place of the graduating fifth year senior, Jason Hartford (6'9" 240 lbs).

Nevertheless, Cornell is always interested in talented players, even if they play in positions that are not as high of a priority. One high school prospect that seems to have Cornell's full attention is Chris Wroblewski, a 6'1" 180 lb point guard out of Highland Park, Illinois High School.

Wroblewski could draw comparisons to Adam Gore, a point guard body with a deadly outside shot and a scoring instinct. Last year, Wroblewski averaged 16.5 points per game, earned All-Conference honors in the Central Suburban League, was tabbed honorable mention for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class AA Boys All-State team, and scored a 34 on his ACT with a 5.25 weighted GPA, making him a perfect fit for the Ivy League. This summer he is playing with the AAU team, "Joy of the Game Rising Stars."

The rising senior is considering interest from Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Penn as well as several Patriot League schools. Sources have also emailed us to report that Wroblewski even visited Cornell during April 2007.

In an interview with the Chicago Sporting News, Wroblewski said, "I’m confident with my game. I can run, I can shoot the ball. I’m a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body." Wroblewski also describes himself with combo guard abilities. “I think coaches now are really happy with a point guard who can shoot and make good decisions,” Wroblewski said. “I would say he’s extremely poised on the floor, he never gets rattled, he’s just continued to expand his game every year,” Highland Park Assistant Coach Bret Just said. “He’s got probably one of the best [shooting] strokes.” Wroblewski noted, however, that he’s not a strong defender, calling himself “decent,” and acknowledges that size is not one of his strengths. But he says AAU basketball helps his game “tremendously,” mainly to expose him to playing against players who are bigger and stronger.

We will watch Wroblewski's recruitment during the upcoming months.

See more here from our Cornell/Ivy League Recruiting Report.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Cameron Crazies Will Be There

We just learned that Monday, January 7, 2008 is the first day of class for the spring semester for Duke students. Accordingly, we expect Cameron Indoor Stadium to be filled to capacity with the "Cameron Crazies" on hand for Cornell's Sunday, January 6 game against the Blue Devils. The game should be terrific preparation for Cornell's Ivy League slate and annual visit to the Palestra.

To date, here is the known 2007-2008 Big Red basketball schedule.


Will Cornell Play Another "High Major" In 2007-2008?

We reported during May, that Cornell posted an advertisement stating that the Big Red was "Looking to start 2-for-1 with an A10 or BCS School. Would like to start series in Ithaca, NY for 07-08 season, and then play on the road the next two seasons."

While we know Cornell has confirmed dates with Duke and Syracuse on the 2007-2008 schedule, it will be interesting to see if the Big Red gets a game against a third "high major" program.

We'd like to see Cornell play a game against the University of Minnesota or another "winnable game" Big 10 opponent. The Gophers would seem to make the most sense as an opponent since Cornell sophomore, Ryan Wittman (pictured here) hails from the Minneaoplis area.
His father, Randy Wittman is currently Head Coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Because of NBA job, Randy was only able to see Ryan play in three games last year.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Schedule Update: Battle of the 'nells-- Cornell v. Bucknell












Bucknell released its tentative schedule today which reveals a game against Cornell on December 19, 2007 in Lewisberg, Pa.

Here is our update on other news and rumors for the upcoming 2007-2008 Cornell basketball schedule. Underlined links are provided to the public sources of information.

CONFIRMED GAMES
  • Lehigh-Cornell is owed a return game in Ithaca after playing in Bethlehem, PA during 2006-2007. This game is rumored to be the home opener on November 10, 2007.
  • Siena-Sunday, November 25, 2007 at Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • Binghamton-Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 7 PM in Newman Arnea, Ithaca, NY.
  • Colgate-Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 8 PM in Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • At Bucknell-December 19, 2007.
  • At Syracuse-December 22, 2007 at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY.
  • Quinnipiac-December 31, 2007-We don't know the location of this game, but the New Haven Register is reporting that the Bobcats want this game rescheduled.
  • At Duke-January 6, 2008. Televised on Fox Sports.
  • At NJIT-January 7, 2008-Listed on NJIT's website. Cornell plays Duke the day before.
  • 14 Ivy League games

POTENTIAL GAMES

At Stony Brook-Cornell played the Seawolves in Ithaca during 2006-2007, so expect the return game on Long Island this year. We do not have a confirmation on this game.

Army-Cornell is owed a return game after playing in West Point, NY during 2006-2007, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.

Ithaca College-We expect this annual game played for charity in Newman Arena, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.

Lafayette-No confirmation on this game. Cornell did not play the Leopards in 2006-2007, but it is reasonable to expect that these teams will renew their long time rivalry during 2007-2008 following the one year hiatus.

At Minnesota-The source reporting the game on the road at the Minnesota Golden Gophers is the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Sid "Grandpa Sid" Hartman. This game does not appear to be confirmed, but it would seem to make sense as it would be a homecoming for Cornell sophomore Ryan Wittman (Eden Prarie, Minnesota). Cornell also regularly recruits in Minnesota.

Orangemen-nation Receive Word of Cornell





Mike Waters, of the Syracuse Post-Standard has announced the Cornell-Syracuse game in his daily Syracuse Orangemen basketball blog. Fans have already begun to coment on the game.


Adam Wire Praised in All-Star Game


Cornell-bound recruit, Adam Wire, who averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and four steals as an all-conference performer for Pinecrest (N.C.) H.S., was honored this week as an academic all-star and appeared in the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) East-West All-Star Game on July 16, 2007 at the Greensboro Coliseum. The 6'6" forward contributed four points in the game, and was described by East All-Star Team Coach Bobby Purvis as his team's best defensive player.

"One of the things I was most impressed with this weekend was Adam Wire," Purvis said. "He represented his family, his coach Mike Apple, and his school very well. "Adam got some rebounds, some loose balls and some steals. We liked him to begin with because we thought we might need a kid who was willing to do those kinds of things. He's very unselfish. He didn't disappoint us."

DukeBasketballReport.Com Announces Cornell Game








DukeBasketballReport.com has announced the Sunday, January 6, 2008, Cornell-Duke game to the Cameron Crazies.

See the release here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recruiting News



Scout.com is reporting that Stan Okoye (pictured here), a 6'3" guard (Class of 2009) out of Raleigh (N.C.) Knightdale HS, is one of the top prospects in his area. Okoye is reportedly a strong student and has led to interest from Appalachian State, James Madison, Elon, Western Carolina, Columbia and Cornell.

Scout.com is also reporting that Keith Wright, a brusing 240 lb. 6'7" center out of Norfolk (Va) Collegiate HS, was "chased by most of the Ivy League" at last week's West Virginia JamFest. After a game, Wright indicated to Scout.com that Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Penn, Bucknell and Brown were making big impressions on him.

See our Cornell/Ivy League Recruiting Update here.



Debate: Can Jason Hartford Replace Andrew Naeve?

A few internet message board posters are suggesting that Cornell could struggle in the froncourt next year following the graduation of 2nd Team All-Ivy selection, Andrew Naeve (6'10" 240 lbs.) In light of the news of Jason Hartford's healthy return, we strongly disagree.

While we do not want to downplay or disrespect Andrew Naeve’s senior year accomplishments, we do want to point out that Jason Hartford's 2005-2006 statistics compare favorably to Naeve's All-Ivy 2006-2007 stats. Playing with a broken wrist and broken toe during his junior year in 2005-2006, Hartford shot 56% from the floor while also showing range, knocking down 12/26 from three-point territory (46%). In comparison, Naeve was a 54% shooter last year and did not make a single three-pointer. He also generally shot the ball from closer ranges around the basket than Hartford.

While Naeve averaged a solid 10.1 points in 31 minutes per game last season, in comparison, Hartford played only 19 minutes per game during 2005-2006, but still contributed a comparable 7.7 points per game. Hartford's scoring numbers were also impressive considering he played 8 minutes or less in two games due to injury, thereby further deflating his scoring output. We submit that had Hartford played more minutes, his scoring would have exceeded Naeve's 2006-2007 production.

In terms of rebounding, Hartford and Naeve seem about equals. Naeve grabbed 7.6 rebounds per game during 2006-2007. Hartford, in 11 fewer minutes per game during 2005-2006, pulled down 3.8 rebounds. We believe Hartford projects conservatively as a 5-7 rebounds per night guy. Again, no significant loss to Cornell in losing Naeve in this area.

Finally, there is the defensive aspect. We will concede that Naeve is the statistically superior shot blocker/shot alteration player. But Jason Hartford is an aggressive and tough-nosed, 6'9" and 240 lbs post presence. Teamed with a more mature rising sophomore in 6'7" 240 lb. Alex Tyler, we like Cornell's toughness and defense inside the lane.

Huge News From Ithaca Journal
























Jason Hartford, #44 above, returns in 2007-2008 for Cornell, see the details below...

In a story today from the Ithaca Journal, it was confirmed what we previously published herein this Blog that Cornell will indeed face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 6, in a game that will be nationally televised by Fox Sports as "the Atlantic Coast Conference Game of the Week." In addition, the Ithaca Journal confirmed that following a one-year hiatus, the Big Red will play Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Dec. 22. Donahue said the official schedule will be released in the next couple of weeks.

Onthe roster, Donahue noted with respect to new recruit, Andre Wilkins, “I would say, if (Wilkins) is not the best athlete in the league, he's equal to anyone in the league athletically." “Gets off his feet, terrific in transition, plays extremely hard. He's a little different than the guys we have." In addition, Donahue told the Ithaca Journal that 6'0" combo guard Adam Gore, who tore his ACL after scoring 20 points in the 2006 season opening win over Northwestern, was cleared to play in June and “looks terrific.” Meanwhile, 6'9" power forward/center Jason Hartford, who sat out last season due to ongoing foot injuries, also has been cleared to play. This huge news for Cornell. “The foot's healed and he hasn't had any problems,” Donahue said.

Here is our update on other news and rumors for the upcoming 2007-2008 Cornell basketball schedule. Underlined links are provided to the public sources of information.

At Stony Brook
-Cornell played the Seawolves in Ithaca during 2006-2007, so expect the return game on Long Island this year. We do not have a confirmation on this game.


Army-
Cornell is owed a return game after playing in West Point, NY during 2006-2007, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.


Ithaca
College
-We expect this annual game played for charity in Newman Arena, but we do not have a confirmation on this game.


At Bucknell
-Cornell played the Bison in Ithaca during 2006-2007, so expect the return game in Lewisberg, PA this year. We do not have a confirmation on this game.


Lafayette
-No confirmation on this game. Cornell did not play the Leopards in 2006-2007, but it is reasonable to expect that these teams will renew their long time rivalry during 2007-2008 following the one year hiatus.


At Minnesota-The source reporting the game on the road at the Minnesota Golden Gophers is the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Sid "Grandpa Sid" Hartman. This game does not appear to be confirmed, but it would seem to make sense as it would be a homecoming for Cornell sophomore Ryan Wittman (Eden Prarie, Minnesota). Cornell also regularly recruits in Minnesota.

CONFIRMED GAMES

  • Lehigh-Cornell is owed a return game in Ithaca after playing in Bethlehem, PA during 2006-2007. This game is rumored to be the home opener on November 10, 2007.
  • Siena-Sunday, November 25, 2007 at Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • Binghamton-Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 7 PM in Newman Arnea, Ithaca, NY.
  • Colgate-Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 8 PM in Newman Arena, Ithaca, NY.
  • At Syracuse-December 22, 2007 at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY.
  • Quinnipiac-December 31, 2007-We don't know the location of this game, but the New Haven Register is reporting that the Bobcats want this game rescheduled.
  • At Duke-January 6, 2008. Televised on Fox Sports.
  • At NJIT-January 7, 2008-Listed on NJIT's website. Cornell plays Duke the day before.
  • 14 Ivy League games

Recruiting News

NJHoops.com is reporting that Billy Oliver (pictured), a 6'8" Chatham HS, NJ forward is hearing from "most of the Ivy and Patriot League" including Columbia, Lafayette, Princeton and Holy Cross. Other schools reportedly involved are Penn State, Vermont and Richmond. Michigan and Providence. Last year, Oliver led Chatham to a state title and spot in the Tournament of Champions. He was a 3rd Team All State selection by NJ Hoops and is ranked among the top 20 seniors in the state in the June NJ Hoops Newsletter. He is playing this summer with the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU team. He mentioned to NJHoops that heis looking for a school with the right combination of academics and basketball. In evaluating his game, NJHoops stated, "the step out four man has range out to three and is an adept shotblocker." It is not confirmed whether Cornell is involved, but the Big Red should give this player a look.

NJHoop's is also reporting that Doug Davis, a 5'11" point guard from the Hun School in Princeton, NJ had the interest of Penn, but that interest probably dropped off after the Quakers received a verbal commitment from St. Benedict's (Newark, NJ) point guard, Zach Rosen. The 5'11' Rosen is also the Quakers second "high profile" point guard recruit in consecutive years. NJHoops notes, however, that Davis has plenty of other suitors from the Ivy League (Princeton, Columbia, Harvard) and Patriot League (Bucknell, Colgate, Lafayette, Lehigh), in addition to some other mid-majors. He is ranked 24th in the Class of 2008 by NJ Hoops. Cornell has actively been search for a pure point guard as a backup for rising sophomore Louis Dale.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CollegeHoopsNet.com Picks Yale







Collegehoopsnet.com ranks and previews the Top 144 teams in the nation and releases one ranking and preview per day leading up to the opening of the 2007-08 college basketball season. The countdown has begun and Yale was tabbed as #119 in the national ranking with a projected Ivy League Championship. The article notes:
Yale? It has been a long time since Penn or Princeton has not been in this spot, but that goes to show that the Ivy League is not just about those two teams anymore. Harvard has a new big name coach, Cornell will be picked by some to win the championship this year and the Bulldogs will be in the mix. With Penn down and Princeton even losing the name of their offense since they are so bad, this promises to be one of the most exciting league races in recent Ivy history.

One must wonder if CollegeHoopsNet is aware of Cornell's new additions of Adam Gore, Jason Hartford, Collin Robinson, and Jeff Foote not to mention the three new recruits. Nevertheless, Cornell was picked by several other publications to win the Ivy League in 2007-2008.