Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recruiting News: Vermont Takes Another Big Red Target

In recruiting news today, NJHoops.com reports that Vermont just secured a verbal commitment from Simeon Marsalis, a 6'1" point guard from New Rochelle, New York and Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Marsalis was reportedly receiving significant interest from Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale in Ivy League. He also had reported scholarship offers from Holy Cross and Colgate.

Earlier this fall, Vermont also secured a commitment from a Brewster Academy teammate of Marsalis, Luke Apfeld, a 6'7" forward who was also pursued by Cornell.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cornell Basketball in the News: CHN Ranks Cornell No. 9 in New York State

CollegeHoopsNet.com ranks Cornell as the 9th best Division I basketball program in New York State out of 22 total teams. CHN is ranking of every program in every state.. based mostly on recent success (the last five years) mixed in with subjective factors such as conference prestige, historical success, and overall program direction. Ivy League rival Columbia placed No. 20. Cornell is also ranked above two A-10 programs, St. Bonaventure and Fordham. CHN writes:
9. CORNELL - The Big Red have come a long way under Steve Donahue. When he took over in 2001, the program was one of the worst in the Ivy League. But their RPI has improved every season since 01 (from 311th to 65th in 08), and their Ivy League record has improved each season as well (though you can't top last year's perfect 14-0 run). Most expect Cornell to repeat as Ivy champs in 2009.

Spotlight on: Alex Tyler

In The Cornell Basketball Blog's continuing Player Spotlight series, we profile junior power forward Alex Tyler.

A "high energy" guy, Alex Tyler just might be the most underrated player in the Ivy League and deserves consideration from the league coaches as an All-Ivy League talent. With a bruising frame of 6’7” and 245 pounds, Tyler has more size, athleticism and skill than any other power forward in the conference. He has good hands on the low post entry pass and solid footwork around the basket. Once he has the ball inside, he is capable of throwing down dunks and finishing strong off the glass. He is also capable of stepping away from the basket and hitting mid range jumpers.

During 2007-2008, he started all 14 Ivy League games, played 23 minutes of action per game, shot 58% from the floor, 73% from the free throw line and averaged 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He also played hard-nosed defense in the low post and blocked 9 shots.

He recorded 10 double figure scoring games during 2007-2008. His most memorable performance of the season was a 19 points and 10 rebounds effort at Harvard. He hit on 9/11 field goals, including six points in the final 30 seconds and the game-winning layup with 6.8 seconds left to help the Big Red overcome a five-point deficit. He also scored 16 points against Penn.

Tyler will once again start at power forward for the Big Red, paired upfront with 7'0" Jeff Foote to form the Ivy League's most intimidating low-post combination. But with the recent graduation of Jason Hartford, Tyler may be counted on even more this season for offensive production and rebounds. He may even see a slight increase in minutes if he can keep himself out of foul trouble (last season he averaged just under 3 fouls per game).

Alex Tyler above the Rim and Cameron Indoor Stadium, against the Duke Blue Devils on January 6, 2008.

Alumni News: Former Players Update

Here is an update on three former Big Red basketball players that transferred from Cornell in that the last five years. Pictured above, Collin Robinson transferred from Cornell back to USC during May 2008.

Will Scott-The 6'4" guard left Cornell as a freshman following the 2004-2005 season. Now a senior on the Louisville basketball team, Head Coach Rick Pitino awarded him a scholarship for his final season of Division I basketball.

Shawn Oliverson-Part of the same 2004 recruiting class as Scott, the 6'11" Oliverson left Cornell following his freshman 2004-2005 season for a two-year Mormon/LDS mission. He never returned to Cornell and opted instead to transfer to Louisiana Tech where he has three years of eligibility remaining commencing this season.

Collin Robinson-After spending the 2005-2006 season as a member of the USC Trojans, the 6'0" Robinson transferred to Cornell and red-shirted the 2006-2007 season in Ithaca. After leaving the Cornell basketball team in the middle of the 2007-2008 season, Robinson transferred back to USC in May. Apparently his college basketball career has come to an end as he is not listed on the 2008-2009 Trojans roster.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League, Amaker Cuts Harvard Roster

Earlier today The Cornell Basketball Blog posted an observation of the changes on Harvard's roster. Now even more bad publicity for the Harvard basketball program. The New York Times reports today that Harvard Head Basketball Coach Tommy Amaker forced several players out of the program. The article explains that Amaker wanted to eliminate players he did not recruit. The New York Times also reports that "Coaches at Brown, Yale and Cornell have completed successful overhauls of their programs in the last decade without forcing [the same type of] an exodus." Pictured above, Cornell's Louis Dale runs the point against the Crimson last season in Newman Arena.

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League, Harvard Cleaning House?

Cornell's Jeff Foote wrestles the ball away from Harvard's Brad Unger during the first half of Cornell's win over the Crimson on March 1, 2008 at Newman Arena. Cornell clinched the Ivy League Championship with the win.

On September 5, 2008, The Cornell Basketball Blog published a post on Harvard's bloated roster size of 20 players. This week, one of our readers brought to our attention that Harvard uploaded a new roster on the Crimson's official website, showing just 14 players. As it turns out, seven non-graduating players from last year's Harvard team were wiped from the roster for undisclosed reasons, while an additional freshman (Hugh Martin) was added to the roster.

Is Harvard and Head Coach Tommy Amaker running recruited players out of the program? The missing players include the following:
  • Cem Dinc
  • Darryl Finkton
  • Alek Blankenau
  • T.J. Carey
  • Ndu Okereke
  • Kyle Fitzgerald
  • Adam Demuyakor
Notably of this group, Carey appeared in 27 games, started 7 and played 11.4 minutes per game. Fitzgerald also appeared in 26 games, started 2 and averaged nearly 11 minutes per game.

Friday, September 26, 2008

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

CollegeHoopsNet.com ranked Princeton as the No. 6 Division I basketball program in New Jersey out of just seven teams. CHN has yet to rank the teams in New York State.

Cornell has defeated Princeton in seven of their last eight meetings.

Recruiting News: Yale Receives Verbal Commitment

Some more recruiting news today...

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the Yale Bulldogs received a verbal commitment from Mike Grace of Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Grace was also reportedly being recruited by several other schools including Cornell, Colgate, Harvard, Davidson, Buffalo, Penn, Rice, and Dartmouth. Grace canceled planned visits to Harvard and Penn.

Rivals.com reports that Collin Reddick (6'4) and his twin brother Charlie Reddick (6'8"), both of Mableton, Georgia and Whitefield Academy gave their verbal commitment to Furman University and Head Coach Jeff Jackson (Class of '84). Penn, Harvard, Colgate, SMU, South Florida, TCU and Tennessee Tech were also in the recruiting picture to varying degrees.

Recruiting News: Campus Visits

Here is a glimpse of where some Ivy League recruiting prospects are visiting this weekend.

Zach Bohannon made a recent Air Force commitment over an offer from Cornell and heads back to Colorado Springs to tour the Academy campus.

Harvard is hosting Kyle Randall, a 6'0" guard from Hermitage, Pa and Kennedy Catholic High School. He holds scholarship offers from Bucknell, George Mason, Cleveland State, Kent State, La Salle, and Wyoming.

Maine is hosting Harvard target, Tom Knight, a 6'9" post player from Dixfield, Maine.

Penn and Harvard prospect, Tim Frazier, a 6'0" point guard visits TCU.

Cornell prospect, Simeon Marsalis, a 6'0" point guard originally from New Rochelle, NY is headed to Vermont this weekend. He visited Holy Cross last weekend. He attends Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.

Brandyn Curry, a 6'1" point guard from Hopewell, N.C. visits William & Mary, he holds offers to Harvard and Penn.

Blake Jolivette, a 6'0" point guard from Texas has widespread Ivy League interest. He visits Holy Cross this weekend.

The Sound of the Big Red

Great post by the blog, Storming the Floor ("STF"), discussing the best and most memorable songs for basketball. Copying a great idea from STF, we want to know which are your favorite songs that remind you of Big Red hoops or just basketball in general. Leave a comment to this post or post a message on The Cornell Basketball Blog's Community Forum and Message Board (click here, FREE membership).

Our personal favorite? "The Red" performed by Chevelle. We used the song in the background of a brief video clip we posted last season from Cornell's 72-54 win over Columbia on Saturday, January 26, 2008. Pictured above, Cornell's Andre Wilkins.

Alumni News: Ryan Rourke Signs in Japan

Ryan Rourke ('06) signed this season to play with the Shiga Lakestars a new expansion team in the Japan Professional Basketball League. He teams up with fellow Americans Brayden Billbe (American University), Bobby Nash (Hawaii U.) and Ray Schafer (University of Oregon). The Japan League was founded in 2005 and is heavily invested in by U.S. corporations. Unlike the leagues in Europe, there is no limitation on the number of import players on team rosters.

Recruiting News

Here is your daily dosage of news on the recruiting scene in the Ivy League...

The Dallas Morning News did a short story on the commitment of Jeff Georgatos to Harvard over Cornell.

HoopScoop.com reports that Hofstra received a verbal commitment from Long Island forward, Paul Bilbo. Cornell was previously mentioned as involved in his recruitment.

Texas guard Tim Frazier is a major target of Harvard's, but the Crimson will have to beat out the likes of Penn State, TCU, Stanford, Wichita State, Washington State, San Diego and Colorado State for his services. Frazier visits TCU this weekend.

Jamaur David Jackson,a 6'2" guard from the Princeton Day School in Maryland has attracted Ivy League interest from Brown, Princeton and Harvard according to NYCHoops.net.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Poll Results, New Poll

In our most recent poll, 64% of The Cornell Basketball Blog's readers voted Louis Dale (pictured above) as the Cornell player that most makes the teammates around him better. No other candidate received greater than 10% of the vote.

In our prior polls, Andre Wilkins received 40% of the vote as Cornell's top dunker, while with just 21% of the vote, Jeff Foote was voted as Cornell's top defensive player.

Ryan Wittman was voted as the team's top shooter with 43% of the vote and Alex Tyler received a majority vote in another poll as the team's top hustler in recognition for his on-floor effort.

Vote in the Cornell Basketball Blog's newest poll (on the upper right side of the Blog). We want to know which Cornell player is the Big Red's top reserve off the bench. Feel free to also leave a comment to this post or post a message on The Cornell Basketball Blog's Community Forum and Message Board (click here, FREE membership).

Cornell Basketball in the News: Groebe Key Loss to UMass

CollegeHoopsNet.com projects UMass as the No. 57 team in the nation and noted that Max Groebe had the potential to play an even bigger role on the team this year. Groebe instead opted to transfer to Cornell.

During 2007-2008, Groebe played in 19 games for UMass but had his season shortened when he missed the last six games of the season due to a personal family issue. He averaged 2.1 points playing 5.5 minutes per game for the Minutemen.

Schedule Update: Cornel "perennial Ivy League powerhouse"

Bryant University announced its home season ticket packages today, specifically marketing its January 5, 2009 meeting against "perennial Ivy League powerhouse Cornell."

Recruiting News

Pictured above Cornell alum Ugo Ihekweazu ('07). The Big Red attempted to lure a family friend of Ihekweazu's to Ithaca as a new recruit, but the plans just did not work out. Here is a bit of Cornell and Ivy League recruiting news...

The original path for Kenny Onyechi was to attend Rice Univeristy. But when the coaching staff at Rice changed, the physical 6'6", 210-pound power forward from Fort Bend Kempner High School in Sugarland, Texas backed out of his pre-summer verbal commitment to the Owls and started investigating new college options. Compared by sources close to the situation as an "Alex Tyler" type of player, Cornell made a late push to get involved in Onyechi's recruitment. A family friend of Ugo Ihekweazu (Cornell '07) back in Texas, the connection helped the Big Red's late entry into the recruiting race. Unfortunately, Onyechi was focussed primarily on Liberty University and Weber State, ultimately committing to Liberty yesterday. "I've committed to Liberty," Onyechi told TexasHoops.com. "I visited and liked the school, the players, and the coach [Richie McKay]. They all are really tight and I feel like I'll fit in. I feel I like I can go there and do something there." Onyechi made his official visit to Liberty the last weekend in August.

In other Big Red recruiting news, OregonPreps.com reports that 6'5" 185 lb. Ross Erickson of Sisters, Oregon and Sisters Middle Senior High School committed to the University of Hartford. While Cornell, Air Force and American showed interest, Erickson committed to Hartford after visiting the school and feeling that the Hawks had showed the most consistent interest in him.

Cornell also watched Joe Carr, a 6'2" point guard from Conroe, Texas Woodlands Christian Academy commit to VMI after he received interest from the Big Red, Yale, Lafayette and Air Force.

Meanwhile in other Ivy recruiting news, Scout.com reports that Princeton, Brown, Penn, Yale, Colgate and NJIT among other low and mid majors are showing interest in 6'1" point guard Rayner Moquete of Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York.

Scout.com also reports that Yale received a visit from Austin Morgan on September 19. Morgan is a 5'10" point guard from Reno, Nevada. He holds an offer from the Bulldogs and UCSB.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Schedule Update: Big Red Potentially to Appear on ESPN2

ESPN will launch a marathon of 14 televised college basketball games on Nov. 18 -- spread over 23 consecutive hours as a kick off the 2008-09 college basketball season on the ESPN family of channels. Click here for the game times of the ESPN Marathon.

During the Marathon, the NIT Regional Final from Boston College is expected to air at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2, a game that the Big Red could potentially appear. ESPN Senior Writer Andy Katz noted in his blog about the marathon as follows:
The next NIT regional game, staggered 30 minutes later on ESPN2 after the game from West Lafayette, Ind., should be between Boston College and St. John's from Chestnut Hill. The Eagles are coming off a disappointing finish to last season but have an infusion of new talent to go along with Tyrese Rice. The national debut of Reggie Jackson should be interesting to watch, too, as the Eagles renew a Big East rivalry with the struggling Red Storm. The sleeper here is Cornell, which could upset this matchup if it was to beat St. John's the previous night. BC gets Loyola (Md.) in the first round. Loyola could be trouble, too, since it is expected to challenge for a top-four finish in the MAAC.

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

The Penn Quakers officially announced their 2008-2009 schedule. Click here to see Penn's slate of games.

Recruting News: Cornell Takes Recruiting Lumps

Just 24 hours ago, 6'8" Jeff Georgatos, a high priority Cornell frontcourt prospect committed to Harvard over a reported offer from the Big Red. Georgatos told Scout.com, “I [visited] Harvard and Cornell, and Penn was supposed to be coming up this weekend. [Penn's] coach got in contact with me last night and they decided that they were going to go for a guy that was ready to commit right away, so that visit [to Penn] ended up being canceled.” Once the visit to Penn was dropped, the forward felt like he was ready to make his decision and he opted for Harvard. “Obviously they are all great schools, but as far as distinguishing between them it was probably just Coach [Tommy] Amaker, who came personally to a workout very early in my junior year," Georgators said. "I'd been in contact with them for a long time."

In addition to Georgatos, now another pair of high priority targets for Cornell are off the board. Zach Bohannon, a 6'7" forward out of Linn-Mar High School near Marion, Iowa just gave his verbal commitment to Air Force over significant Cornell interest. The commitment was reported by HoopScoop.com. Also, Phil Beans, a 6'8" 230 low post player out of Toledo (Ohio) Ottawa Hills High School, picked Ralph Willard’s Holy Cross program after collecting reported offers from Cornell and programs in the MAAC, MAC, Patriot, OVC, SoCon, Northeastern, Sun Belt, Atlantic Sun and WAC. He told Scout.com, “Mainly it was the great mix between the academics and the tradition. Coach Willard is one of the top coaches in the country. On my official visit I clicked with the players.”

In other Ivy recruiting news, Penn was disappointed to learn that its top wing prospect, 6'6" Keegan Hornbuckle of the Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles committed to the University of Colorado. Also, MichiganPrep.com reports that 6'7" Will Barrett of Warminster (Pa) Central Bucks South High School will decide between Michigan, Columbia and Princeton during the next two weeks.

Cornell Basketball in the News

The Syracuse Post Standard mentions Ryan Wittman's inclusion on the Athlon College Basketball Preview list of the nation's top 10 shooters.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recruiting News: Georgatos Selects Harvard over Cornell

Jeff Georgatos, a 6'8", 215-pound power forward from Dallas (Texas) Episcopal School, is headed to Harvard. He committed earlier today.

Georgatos visited Harvard two weeks ago and also visited Cornell this past weekend. He told Rivals.com that he saw all that he needed to see and decided now was the perfect time to pull the trigger. "[Coach Tommy Amaker] really stressed a lot of player development. He said he doesn't want his big men to be one dimensional," Georgatos said. "He wants me to come in and work at getting better and being a player that wants to work hard." Georgatos added about Coach Amaker, "He knows how hard of a task it is with building a program. It is a big deal and I've been really impressed with how he wants to change things. I've been sold on that." Georgatos also said that Coach Amaker, "stressed the idea that they need to bring a new level of player there. He wants to find guys that value the education that Harvard has but also take basketball very seriously."

"I had official visits set to Harvard, Cornell, and Penn, and a couple of nights ago the Penn coach called me to say that they were going with another kid that was ready to commit. I felt like I had seen everything I needed to see and felt that Harvard was the best choice," Georgatos told TexasHoops.com.

"As a school, it doesn't get much better than Harvard," Georgatos said. "And Coach (Tommy) Amaker has really been in contact with me from the beginning and has shared his vision for them with me. It's something I want to be a part of."

"I spent a lot of time with my host; he's the senior captain and he's a really great guy," Georgatos told TexasHoops.com. "I met and played with all the players too. Coach Amaker is very enthusiastic in everything he wants to accomplish with the program and there's really a sense of building something up there."

How does Georgatos specifically fit into the plan? "Something he's talked about with me is my versatility - he doesn't want to have one-dimensional players," Georgatos said. "He stresses player development and that's very important to me. I want to see myself improve and get myself ready to do that."

Georgatos joins North Carolina guard Dee Giger in the 2009 recruiting class for Harvard.

Cornell Basketball in the News: Gore Reference on ESPN.com

ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil mentions Adam Gore's recent ACL injury in her article, "Road to recovery complete, injured players look to bounce back." O'Neil writes:
Adam Gore, Cornell: The Big Red's sharpshooter tore his ACL earlier this month and underwent surgery on Sept. 18. Doctors are optimistic that Gore, the former Ivy League rookie of the year, will be ready by Cornell's Ivy League season opener on Jan. 18, coach Steve Donahue said.

Cornell Basketball in the News: Former Cornell Lacrosse Player and Friend of Cornell Basketball Passes

David Holder, a 1995 Cornell grad and former Big Red lacrosse player, died of lymphoma last week. Before passing away, Holder maintained a Blog entitled, "Dave Getting Stronger."

On February 5, 2008, he wrote a blog entry about receiving an autographed jersey from the Cornell Basketball team, signed by all of the players. He wrote, "These jerseys remind me of the valuable life lessons that came out of my college playing days; along with reminding me of our crazy confidence, bold enthusiasm and endless energy (a great memory right now)."

Spotlight on: Adam Gore

In The Cornell Basketball Blog's continuing Player Spotlight series, we profile senior combo guard Adam Gore.

Gore, the 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Second Team All Ivy League selection, returned to the All-Ivy League Second Team in 2008 after sitting out all but one game during the 2006-2007 season with an ACL injury.

After seeing his Cornell rookie scoring record broken by Ryan Wittman in 2007, Gore returned for his junior year in 2007-2008 willing to accept a new role on the team. Giving up the responsibility as the team's "go to scorer" he became one of the Big Red's better perimeter defenders. He also contributed 10.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting a dependable 93% from the free-throw line.

After taking some heavy criticism from the Daily Pennsylvanian during December 2007, Gore began to heat up in Ivy League play, boosting his scoring totals to 12.1 ppg in conference games (10th in the Ivy) and ranking among the leaders in 3-point field goal percentage (second, .459). The 6'0" guard made an exclamatory statement to the staff of Daily Pennsylvanian when he had a season-best 19 points in the win at the Palestra, allowing Cornell to end a 19-game losing skid at Penn and securing the Big Red's 14-0 perfect season in the Ivy League.

Gore ended the season with 15 games in double figures, including 11 of the 14 Ivy games and led the Big Red in scoring five times in 28 games.

A second ACL tear during this fall's workouts will sideline Gore for at least four months of the 2008-2009 season. He was scheduled for surgery on September 18, 2008, leaving open the possibility of his return as early as mid January. The Ivy League opener for Cornell is at Columbia on January 17, followed by a home game against Columbia on January 24. Cornell hosts Brown and Yale on the weekend of January 30.

Gore is not expected to return for a 5th season even though he is eligible for the extra year.

See some related posts:

Recruiting News

Courtesy of Rivals.com, we added a new name to Cornell's list of recruiting prospects. According to Rivals, Cornell is pursuing Kyle Tazioli, a 6'7" forward from Lake Mary, Florida and the Lake Mary Preparatory School. He is a member of the class of 2009 and is also hearing from Penn, Columbia, William & Mary, Drake, American, BYU and Cincinnati. Pictured above, Cornell's Louis Dale in action during the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Monday, September 22, 2008

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Pictured above, Cornell's Ryan Wittman drives towards the basket last season in Cambridge, Mass. against Harvard.

CollegeHoopsNet.com ranked Harvard the worst of six Division I programs in Massachusetts. CHN writes:
Harvard hasn't been good in forever, and the odds of Tommy Amaker making a huge turnaround are slim. The program's biggest accomplishment in the past decade is merely finishing .500 in Ivy play (in 99,00,01,02 & 05). There's a good chance the 2009 squad will match that feat.
Many long time followers of Ivy League basketball speculate that Amaker will resign his position at Harvard as soon as a position at another Division I school becomes available to him.

See the following related posts:

New Poll

Vote in the Cornell Basketball Blog's newest poll (on the upper right side of the Blog). We want to know which Cornell player you think most makes the teammates around him better. Feel free to also leave a comment to this post or post a message on The Cornell Basketball Blog's Community Forum and Message Board (click here, FREE membership). Pictured above, Ryan Wittman's abilities to create his own shot and distribute the ball off the dribble make him a valuable teammate.

Poll Results

Some 51% of The Cornell Basketball Blog's readers voted in our most recent poll that Geoff Reeves should earn the start in place of the injured Adam Gore. No other player in the poll received more than 12% of the vote. Pictured above, Gore holds the ball against Stanford in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Recruiting News

Pictured above, Cornell's Jon Jaques and Conor Mulllen walk off the court after the Big Red fell to Stanford in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Below, some recruiting updates in the Ivy League.

ChicagoHoops.com reports that Chris Wroblewski's former high school teammate at Highland Park High School in Illinois, 6'4" Josh Bartlestein just received a scholarship offer from Sacramento State. Bartlestein is reportedly receiving widespread recruiting interest from the Ivies and Patriots. Drake and Valparaiso are also reportedly recruiting the Exeter Academy postgraduate student.

Speaking of Valparaiso, according to HoopScoop.com and MinnesotaPreps.com, the Crusaders just received a commitment from Chris Halvorsen, a 6'8" forward from Minnesota. Halvorsen visited Yale earlier this month and had an offer from the Bulldogs, but opted to spurn the Ivy opportunity for the scholarship at Valpo.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Recruiting News: Campus Visits This Weekend

This weekend, Cornell will try to make a certain Ivy League prospect have only eyes for the Red. Below is some recruiting news on campus visits...

Cornell is once again busy hosting recruiting prospects and will have one of the program's top targets on campus this weekend.

Harvard is also busy this weekend. The Crimson will host Dee Giger, who already committed to the Crimson along with Huntersville (N.C.) Hopewell guard Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey of Brimmer & May School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Both Penn and Harvard already offered Curry and Casey and the visit is reportedly Curry's second to Cambridge. Could a commitment be forthcoming? Texas point guard Tim Frazier may also be visiting Harvard this weekend. Meanwhile, Dixfield, Maine Dirigo High School big man Tom Knight will be in Boston to see Northeastern officially. Knight is one of Harvard's top prospects.

Yale is hosting North Carolina 6'0" point guard Mike Grace. He also reportedly has an offer from Penn.

Cornell Basketball in the News

Pictured above, Cornell Louis Dale against Penn last year in Newman Arena. Below a post appearing in today's Daily Pennsylvanian sports blog.

By Zach Klitzman
The Daily Pennsylvanian-Buzz Sports Blog
September 19, 2008

I know football season is just around the corner, but forgive this basketball interlude.

College Basketball 24/7 is a blog run by 15-year and self-proclaimed “fanatic about college basketball” Jakob Kagel. For a teenager, it’s not bad, but one of his more recent posts is a little puzzling.

On Tuesday he wrote a post entitled “Why Cornell Will be the best team in the Ivy League… Ever.” His argument is basically the following: Cornell returns a lot of talent, despite Adam Gore’s injury (yet he only mentions Ryan Wittman). The schedule has “very winnable early season games against brand name schools,” such as Indiana, Minnesota and St. John’s. Also, without an Ivy Conference tournament, they could clinch conference play early. Finally, he then says that if Cornell goes 14-0 in the League, they’ll have won 29 straight.

First off, I’m still not completely convinced Indiana will be an easy win, especially considering the game’s in Bloomington, not Ithaca. Going into Assembly Hall and getting a win is easier said than done, regardless of Indiana’s recent sub-par results (sub-par by its standards).

I’ll grant him the fact that the conference tournament clearly helps Cornell since they have a greater shot at making the NCAA Tournament without having to face single elimination. But going 29-0 in a two-plus year span doesn’t make them the best ever, considering Penn won 48-straight Ivy League games from 1992-1996.

After this basic argument, he then says if Cornell does the above and goes 14-0 (which personally I don’t think will happen even if they are the league favorites), they’ll invite comparisons to Bucknell who “has been the most recent low major to escape from the confines of playing in a league that had not won an NCAA tournament game in 40 plus years.”

And here’s where his argument completely derails. First off, the Patriot League was founded in 1986 as the Colonial League. And that first year Navy won three NCAA tournament games. Similarly, the Ivy League has had many tournament wins in the last 40 years plus year, as they have averaged just about one every two years since March 1967 (20 in 42 tournaments).

So maybe comparisons to Bucknell and the Patriot League aren’t apt. Well what about the statement further down that “no team out of the Ivy has won an NCAA tournament game in 20-plus years.” That’s simply not true. There’ve been three since 1988, most notably Princeton’s upset over defending champion UCLA in 1996.

After this error, Kagel then shifts back to Cornell, saying, “This year’s Cornell team will be the best that the league has had to offer for the last 15 years, at least.” Wait, I thought they were supposed to be the best team ever? Oh no, actually it’s just that “the expectations for an Ivy League team have never been this high … ever.” Oh so, it’s their expectations that are an Ivy record?

The end of the post kind of redeems him. I think it could be argued that this team might be one of the best Ivy ones over the last 15 years. Although I’m sure the Penn teams of Michael Jordan, Matt Maloney, Ugonna Onyekwe or even Ibrahim Jaaber might have something to say about that, not to mention some of the good Princeton teams in the 1990’s. And I’ll certainly agree that the expectations are quite high on this Cornell group. But then again, the Big Red’s two best players, Wittman and Louis Dale, are just juniors, so it’s not like they have the extra pressure of only one more year to win an NCAA tournament game.

What do you think about Cornell’s chances of greatest Ivy team of the last 15 years, or even of all time?

Recruiting News: Cornell Recruits Brazillian Guard

The New England Recruiting Report (NERR) covered the incredible story of Luis Leao, a 6'5" guard originally from Santa Catarina, Brazil, currently attending the Winchendon School in Massachusetts as a postgraduate. Leao is receiving widespread recruiting interest from Ivy League schools, including Cornell. Leao is currently ranked #34 in New England by the NERR.

Cornell Basketball in the News

A Seattle reporter takes a bit of a jab at Cornell Basketball in his online blog. Pictured above, Adam Gore (right) and the Big Red played the Washington Huskies and Jon Brockman (left) in Seattle on January 3, 2006.

Sweet Shot

If you are a fan of Cornell Basketball and you are worried about the injury loss of Adam Gore and its effect on the Big Red's three point shooting, just sit back and relax. Gore's likely replacement in the starting lineup, 6'5" junior Geoff Reeves, never shot below 40% from beyond the arc since he arrived in Ithaca. Actually, on his career, Reeves is an outstanding 28/60 (47%) from three-point land. As a freshman, he buried 11/22 from "trifecta" then hit 17/38 (45%) as a sophomore in an increased role. He also shot an impressive 47% from field goal range during his career and 45% last year. Had he attempted enough shots during 2007-2008, Reeves field goal and three-point accuracy would both have fallen into the Ivy League’s Top 10.

Oh, but Ivy foes are about to learn that Reeves is not just a standstill jump shooter. He may be Cornell's best athlete and was tough enough to play tight end for his high school football team and earn all-state honors in the process. He also picked up a new skill last year, running the point guard position. His improved ball handling and additional year of experience will only make him even more of an offensive threat. In an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue noted, "He's one of the most athletic guys on the floor for us, can shoot the ball and does things Adam doesn't." Donahue was referring to Reeves' impressive vertical leap and ability to finish fastbreaks above the rim. An ability you just don't normally see in the Ivy League.

Recruiting News: Baltimore Guard Receives Recruiting Attention From Cornell

Recruits are already taking notice of Cornell's recent Ivy League Championship and participation in the NCAA Tournament.

According to an article appearing in the Baltimore Sun, Cornell is recruiting 6'3" Erick Smith, a guard for The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland. Last week Smith received his first Division I scholarship offer from Bryant University. “Cornell is [also] heavily involved, and they obviously went to the [NCAA tournament this year] and have a lot to offer,” John Carroll's coach, Tony Martin said. “The Naval Academy has recruited him for over a year. And a number of other mid-major schools are in the mix. He will take an official to Bryant at the end of this month. And he’s also decided to sign early.” Last year, The John Carroll School sent three players to Division I. Currently, eight players on the roster are receiving Division I attention and more than twenty different colleges visited the school last week alone to observe practices and scout the talent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Last Hurrah for Gore... Senior Won't Play 5th Year

In an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue revealed that guard, Adam Gore (pictured above) will not return to Ithaca in 2008-2009 for a 5th year, even though Gore was eligible for the extra season after sitting out virtually the entire 2006-2007 campaign with an ACL injury. Donahue told Katz that he expects Gore to try to play this season and then graduate in May 2008 with his class and "go back to Indiana and help his folks on the farm [in Monrovia, Indiana]."

Cornell fans may never see Gore in a Cornell uniform again. Gore is expected to undergo a second surgery on his ACL on September 18 and will be out at least an additional four months, possibly missing his senior year altogether. Nevetheless, Gore will attempt to make a healthy return in time for the start of conference play.

On a positive note, the loss of Gore in 2009-2010 should be somewhat mitigated by Cornell's addition of UMass transfer, Max Groebe, a 6'4" sharpshooter.

Cornell's other graduating seniors on the roster include Jason Battle, Brian Kreefer, and Conor Mullen, all reserves. A fifth player, All-Ivy League center, Jeff Foote is also academically classified as a senior, but he is eligible to return for the 2009-2010 season after sitting out 2006-2007 as a red-shirt transfer from St. Bonaventure. Foote previously told the Ithaca Journal on March 21, 2008 that he expects to stay at Cornell for a fifth season.

Cornell's projected starting line-up in 2009-2010 should look familiar to Cornell fans. Ryan Wittman, Alex Tyler, Jeff Foote, and Louis Dale will all return for their senior year. The fifth spot could go to Groebe or possibly Geoff Reeves.

Poll Results: Cornell's Best Dunker

The Big Red's Andre Wilkins (No. 13 pictured left) was voted by the readers of The Cornell Basketball Blog as the Big Red's best dunker. Wilkins received 40% of the total vote. Louis Dale and Geoff Reeves each received 13% of the vote, while Jeff Foote received 12%.

Wilkins provided the crowd at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium some slamming entertainment during pre-game warm-ups last January, but it was Cornell's Jeff Foote that dunked twice on the Blue Devils during the actual game.

Recruiting News

Here is some recruiting news around the Ivies:

Keegan Hornbuckle, a 6’6” wing from Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles told AzCats.com that he completed his college visits and will decide within the next few weeks between offers from Arizona, LMU, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan and Penn. Hornbuckle said he attended Penn’s Elite Camp during the summer.

Aaron Hawley, a 6’7” forward from Rogers High School in Arkansas is off the board according to Rivals.com. He committed to Drake after considering Yale, Belmont, Saint Louis, Air Force and Arkansas State.

Holden Greiner of Traverse City, Michigan committed to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks over an offer from Columbia. A 6’8” combo forward, Greiner picked Lehigh over other interest from Central Michigan and American.

Recruiting News: Bohannon Finishing College Campus Visits

The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin is reporting that 6'7" Zach Bohannon of Linn-Mar High School near Marion, Iowa visited the University of Wisconsin this past weekend where his brother is a member of the basketball team. According to the Capital Times and other published reports, Bohannon already holds "offers" from Cornell, Rice, Harvard, Yale and Air Force. He also is considering walking on at Wisconsin, which has no scholarships left to offer him. Bohannon has already visited Cornell, Harvard and Yale and is visiting Air Force this weekend.

Schedule Update: Cornell to Visit South Dakota in '09-'10

Next season Cornell will visit Vermillion, South Dakota, just a 2-hour drive from the hometown of Pete Reynolds (Blair, Nebraska) (pictured above).

A press release from the University of South Dakota confirms that Cornell will visit the Coyotes during the 2009-2010 season. Cornell hosts South Dakota in this year's season opener for both teams. Published reports also disclosed that Cornell will host St. Joseph's (Pa) and visit La Salle next year.

Cornell Basketball in the News: ESPN's Andy Katz Discusses Cornell

ESPN's Andy Katz had the following to say about Cornell in his insider blog today:
Cornell senior guard Adam Gore will have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn ACL on Thursday. Coach Steve Donahue said Monday night that he was told by doctors Gore could return by the Ivy League season in January. Gore injured the knee two weeks ago during two-on-two drills. This is Gore's second ACL injury. He tore his right ACL as a sophomore. Gore's return could help the Big Red in a quest for a second straight Ivy League title. Cornell is projected to win the league again and is poised to be a spoiler during the course of the regular season, beginning with a game versus St. John's in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Boston College in November.

Gore averaged 10.2 points for Cornell last season, trailing returnees Ryan Wittman (15.1) and Louis Dale (13.7).

Ivy League players typically only redshirt if there is an academic situation with a change in a major or minor. Donahue fully expects Gore to try to play this season and then graduate with his class and "go back to Indiana and help his folks on the farm. I do think he's the type that can come back and help us. He does certain things. He's a catch-and-shoot guy and the toughest guy I've ever coached.''

Donahue said Gore's injury is opening up minutes, shots and likely production for Geoff Reeves, a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged just 3.5 points a game last season. "He's one of the most athletic guys on the floor for us, can shoot the ball and does things Adam doesn't,'' Donahue said. Wittman had a "terrific summer," and is up to 220 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame, according to Donahue.

Donahue expects the Big Red to have another good year. He said Cornell is seasoned enough to handle the expectations of being the team to beat in the Ivy League yet again. The goal of course is to win it, go undefeated again -- if possible -- and get a better seed than the No. 14 the Big Red received a season ago.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Recruiting News: New England Forward Commits to UVM

Rivals.com reports today that 6'7" Brewster Academy (Massachusetts) forward, Luke Apfeld committed to the University of Vermon over some recruitment interest from Cornell. Apfeld held reported scholarship offers from American, Holy Cross, and Lehigh. Apfeld also considered Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Davidson.

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Brown University announced its 2008-2009 schedule this week. Pictured above, Cornell's Jeff Foote stuffs home a basket against the Bears last season in Ithaca.