Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Scout's Take on the Red

As a special feature to The Cornell Basketball Blog, one of our Ithaca-based contributors, "T.J.", provides us his evaluation and commentary on some of Cornell’s individual performances through the Big Red’s first 15 games this season.

On Ryan Wittman-He is shooting well [from the perimeter] and is now showing the results from his improved body strength by contributing significantly on defense and rebounding… I also noticed that he is now moving nicely off the dribble and [taking on more] mid-range shots, instead of only spotting up from three.

On Louis Dale-When I scouted the Red-White scrimmage, I wrote, “[Louis] Dale and [Collin] Robinson faced off throughout most of the game, and each seemed to be out to prove himself to the other or to [Head Coach] Steve [Donahue].” Under the current circumstance, no longer is Dale competing with Robinson. This is Dale's team now, and I think he has thrived with this added responsibility. Although he has had to be more careful with fouls, he has contributed enormously in his expanded minutes and continues to impress at every game… Ironically, the Big Red had trouble in early games with the press (with both Dale and Robinson on the floor); yet, against Columbia the Big Red (and Dale especially) had no problems getting the ball inbounds and breaking the press. In this case, maybe less is more?

On Adam Gore-After the Red-White scrimmage, I wrote, “[Adam] Gore looked rusty at times. He missed quite a few threes . . . . I wasn't impressed with his movement on offense when he was the shooting guard… [He] seemed to be standing around waiting for someone to throw him the ball too much. . . . He had a brace on his lower leg, but otherwise did not seem to be hampered by last year's injury.” I have discussed Gore at length elsewhere. But he obviously has improved from the scrimmage. He is shooting with confidence, and his "floor game" continues to be among the most impressive on the team.

On Andre Wilkins and Geoff Reeves-So far I've seen little of Wilkins’ superior advertised athleticism in game situations (just one spetacular dunk against NJIT). But he has done an excellent job on defense and maintaining a presence inside. He is making very few mistakes and not overextending himself. Meanwhile, Reeves has been high-flying, but sometimes at the expense of accuracy. I'm still looking for him to put it all together, both inside and out. Since Collin Robinson’s departure, Reeves has been asked to assume more responsibility for ball handling, and has handled the task well.

On Jason Battle-Battle has assumed the back-up point duties lately [along with Gore and Reeves], and has done well. He showed this ability back in the Red-White Scrimmage, and he has only improved as shown in the Columbia series.

On Jason Hartford-I think we haven't seen all that Hartford has to offer yet. In particular, his passing game has been lacking until lately. But in the past few games, Hartford has been looking very strong.

On Jeff Foote-He is probably the biggest surprise from the preseason to the present. Foote showed the defensive and rebounding skills in the Red-White game, but not the offensive success he has been having in his last half dozen games. His stamina continues to be a problem, but his minutes are increasing, and he is showing fewer signs of fatigue as he gets more games under his belt. From the beginning I expected the blocks, altered shots, and tips under the basket, but I had no idea (from the Red-White scrimmage) that Foote has the superb post skills he has displayed in recent games. Likewise his ability to pass from the post and handle the ball was not evident just a few months ago. He obviously is making great strides on almost a daily basis. Who knows how good he is going to become?

1 comment:

TJ said...

Here are some addition comparisons between the last 15 games and the preseason scrimmage, omitted from the main report due to length:

Adam Wire and Alex Tyler have recovered from their preseason injuries. Tyler is starting to have the stellar inside play we expected from him. Wire has made contributions in spots.

In the scrimmage Wilkins showed a nice soft touch on short- and mid-range jumpers. He has shown little of this ability during the season and seems to lack confidence in his jump shot; yet, he is a valuable guy to have on the floor for so many reasons.

I'm still waiting to see Mullen get some significant minutes. I think he can help us with his stability, strength, and reliability. I think he could run the point if needed. He's not quick, but he's smart amd handles the ball well. Maybe as we move into two-game weekend swings, we will seem more of Mullen.

My comments on Hartford's passing game stem from the fact that he showed terrific passing ability from the post in the scrimmage. I am hoping he can reassert himself in this aspect of his game.

Brian Kreefer continues to use is body and handle the ball well inside (which he also did in the scrimmage). He has focused on his inside game and has all but abandoned his three-point shooting designs, which has improved his game considerably. He's a remarkable player and has been starting most of the games.

Reynolds and Osgood in limited minutes have shown flashes of brilliance (as they also did preseason). Osgood's breakaway catch and dunk v Alvernia displayed his athleticism I mentioned previously. But both need more work. Reynolds simply may need more confidence, and Osgood needs to continue to develop. They both have looked very good at times. They offer tremendous depth to this team among the "bigs."