Monday, March 31, 2008

Recruiting News: Mitchell Watt Eliminates Cornell Due to Lack of Athletic Scholarship

Pictured above, former recruiting prospect, Mitchell Watt during his his campus visit to Cornell in the fall of 2007. Watt has eliminated Cornell as a college choice because the Big Red do not offer athletic scholarships.

By Adam Zagoria
ZagsBlog/The Herald News (West Paterson, NJ)
March 31, 2008

Here is the latest on Mitchell Watt, a 6-foot-9, 205-pound senior forward from Arizona Desert Edge High.

After de-committing from Cornell, Watt is looking at Buffalo, Pepperdine, Rutgers and Davidson, all strong academic schools that he feels will also offer a competitive level of basketball. Watt hopes to sign during the late period, which runs April 16-May 21.

"I've kind of closed my recruiting down because I don't want too many people to be involved," Watt said Monday by phone.

Watt visited Buffalo this past weekend and said he enjoyed it.

"I really liked the school and the coaching staff and the players a lot," he said. "It was a nice area, Buffalo's a nice town."

Watt will also visit Pepperdine the weekend of April 19 and Rutgers the weekend of April 26. He said he he is still "considering" Davidson, but doesn't plan on visiting that school at this point.

"My last trip is with Rutgers," said Watt, who is being recruited by assistant coach Craig Carter. "I'd like to make a decision somewhat early in the signing period."

Asked what he knew about Rutgers, Watt said: "The (Big East) Conference is very attractive. Rutgers as an institution is highly regarded in the academic sense. I'm looking for a prestigious school academically and someone who will challenge me on the court."

Watt said he de-committed from Cornell because the other schools were offering him a full ride.

"I'm getting full ride offers from high institutions," he said. "I'd rather go that rout. I'm also looking for some challenging basketball that will challenge me and possibly take me to the next level."

Watts, also the Student Body President, averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks , 4 assists and 2 steals per game while leading his team to a 28-2 record and the state title. He had nine blocks in the state final, his coach, Joe Babinski, said.

Asked to describe Watt's game, Babinski said: "He's very, very athletic. He's 6-9, slender. He plays above the rim. He has slim hips so he might have trouble in the low blocks.

"He can shoot the 3 and the 15-footer. He's good at taking it to the hole. He can cover inside and out. He's a real athletic young man. He's a very intelligent young man."

Rutgers has a three-man class coming in for next year, highlighted by McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario of St. Anthony; 6-6 wing Pat Jackson of Brooklyn Boys & Girls; and 6-8 big Christian Morris of South Kent (Conn.).

If Watt commits, he would be the fourth member of that class.

Louis Dale Tabbed All-American

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Sophomore Louis Dale has been named to the Associated Press honorable mention All-America team it was announced on Monday. Dale, the 2007-08 Ivy League Player of the Year, helped lead the Big Red to its first Ivy League title and NCAA tournament berth in 20 years.

Dale ranked second on the team and sixth in the Ivy League in scoring (13.7 ppg.) and led the Ancient Eight in assists (4.9 apg.), good enough for 55th nationally. The sophomore started all 28 games, ranking among the team leaders in rebounding (second, 4.4 rpg.), steals (first, 34) and free-throw percentage (second, .897). The three-time Ivy League Player of the Week also ranked among the Ivy leaders in field goal percentage (seventh, .446) and assist/turnover ratio (second, 1.59). In league play, Dale was even better, posting averages of 14.4 ppg., 5.0 apg. and 4.6 rpg. The Birmingham, Ala. native led the nation in free-throw percentage for much of the year (currently seventh in Division I) and made a school record 52 consecutive shots from the charity stripe. His 12-of-12 effort at Bucknell tied the school record for most free throws in a game without a miss and also tied a single-game high in Division I.

The 5-11 guard scored in double figures in 22 games and led the team in scoring in eight contests and was the leader in assists 16 times. He tied his career scoring high with 24 points in both wins over three-time defending league champion Penn and notched a career-best 10 assists in the season-opening win over Lehigh. His 22-point, 11-rebound, six-assist effort in a win over Dartmouth helped Cornell clinch at least a share of the Ivy title. Against NCAA qualifier and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Siena, Dale had a dominant 20-point, nine-rebound, six-assist effort in a win. He ranked sixth on the school's single-season assist list (138).

Dale is the first player to earn All-America honors from the AP since Ken Bantum was also an honorable mention pick in 1985.

Cornell closes its season after setting school records for wins (22) and conseuctive wins (16), while also establishing marks for season points and 3-pointers made, as well as free-throw percentage. Cornell became the 13th team in conference history to finish with a perfect league slate (14-0) and is the first non-Penn or Princeton team to accomplish that feat. The Big Red will return four of its five starters and all four All-Ivy League selections into the 2008-09 campaign when it will attempt to defend its Ancient Eight title.

FIRST TEAM

  • Michael Beasley, Kansas State, 6-10, 235, freshman, Washington, 26.5 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 53.5 fg pct, 38.9 3-pt fg pct, 1.7 blocks (72 first-place votes, 360 points)
  • Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, 6-9, 250, junior, Poplar Bluff, Mo., 23.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 54.0 fg pct, 81.7 ft pct (72, 360)
  • D.J. Augustin, Texas, 6-0, 180, sophomore, New Orleans, 19.8 ppg, 5.7 apg, 37.2 minutes (66, 346)
  • Kevin Love, UCLA, 6-10, 260, freshman, Lake Oswego, Ore., 17.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 55.7 fg pct (52, 318)
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, 6-7, 200, junior, Detroit, 17.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 55.1 fg pct, 44.9 3-pt fg pct (52, 309)

SECOND TEAM

  • Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, 6-8, 251, sophomore, Schererville, Ind., 20.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 51.5 fg pct, 37.5 3-pt fg pct (9, 211)
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt, 6-6, 205, senior, Kenner, La., 20.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 52.6 fg pct, 47.3 3-pt fg pct (7, 159)
  • D.J. White, Indiana, 6-9, 251, senior, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 17.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 60.4 fg pct, 1.7 blocks (2, 146)
  • Stephen Curry, Davidson, 6-2, 185, sophomore, Charlotte, N.C., 25.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 43.8 3-pt fg pct, 89.8 ft pct, 1.9 steals (4, 117)
  • Roy Hibbert, Georgetown, 7-2, 278, senior, Adelphi, Md., 13.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 60.1 fg pct, 2.3 blocks (1, 86)

THIRD TEAM

  • Derrick Rose, Memphis, 6-3, 190, freshman, Chicago, 13.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.5 apg (4, 85)
  • Chris Lofton, Tennessee, 6-2, 200, senior, Maysville, Ky., 16.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 39.8 3-pt fg pct, 83.5 ft pct (4, 82)
  • Darren Collison, UCLA, 6-1, 165, junior, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., 15.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 50.6 3-pt fg pct, 87.4 ft pct, 1.9 steals (2, 80)
  • Brook Lopez, Stanford, 7-0, 260, sophomore, Fresno, Calif., 19.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.2 blocks (1, 73)
  • Eric Gordon, Indiana, 6-4, 215, freshman, Indianapolis, 21.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 84.5 ft pct (4, 72)

HONORABLE MENTION
Joe Alexander, West Virginia; Josh Alexander, Stephen F. Austin; Ryan Anderson, California; Darrell Arthur, Kansas; Jerryd Bayless, Arizona; Marqus Blakely, Vermont; Jon Brockman, Washington; Chase Budinger, Arizona; Jaycee Carroll, Utah State; Mario Chalmers, Kansas; Lee Cummard, BYU; Scott Cutley, Cal State-Fullerton; Louis Dale, Cornell; Jeremiah Dominguez, Portland State; Wayne Ellington, North Carolina; Adam Emmenecker, Drake; Al Fisher, Kent State; Gary Forbes, Massachusetts; J.R. Giddens, New Mexico; Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State; Mike Green, Butler; James Harden, Arizona State; Alex Harris, UC Santa Barbara; Andrew Hayles, Alabama State; Richard Hendrix, Alabama; George Hill, IUPUI; Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin; Ty Lawson, North Carolina; Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky; Tony Lee, Robert Morris; Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth; O.J. Mayo, Southern California; Drew Neitzel, Michigan State; DeMarcus Nelson, Duke; David Padgett, Louisville; Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga; A.J. Price, Connecticut; Arizona Reid, High Point; Tyrese Rice, Boston College; Brandon Rush, Kansas; Thomas Sanders, Gardner-Webb; Sean Singletary, Virginia; Jamar Smith, Morgan State; Tyler Smith, Tennessee; Greg Sprink, Navy; Jason Thompson, Rider; Sam Young, Pittsburgh.

Gore and Wittman, Academic All-Ivy

The Ivy League Office released its list of student-athletes selected for All-Ivy Academic honors in winter sports today. Cornell's Adam Gore and Ryan Wittman were among those honored.

Spotlight on: Adam Wire

Adam Wire, a rugged 6'6" rising-sophomore combo forward played in just 11 games as a reserve for the Cornell Big Red during 2007-2008. On the season, Wire tallied seven points, six rebounds, two assists and 1 steal in his limited 28 minutes of action for averages of .6 points and .5 rebounds in 2.5 minutes per game. His most memorable game from his rookie year was his scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds in Cornell's Ivy League Championship clinching win over Harvard.

While Wire's minutes were limited in 2007-2008 due to Cornell's solid depth at both forward positions, people close to the basketball program have been very encouraged by Wire's abilities and expect he will eventually garner substantial minutes. Specifically, Coach Donahue told the Ithaca Journal during January 2008 that Wire is on the cusp of breaking into the rotation. Now with the graduation of Jason Hartford and his 18.5 minutes of playing time per game, Wire has an opportunity to earn an increased role during 2008-2009. A physical and hard-nosed defender and rebounder, Wire plays "bigger" than his 6'6" size and could find himself as Cornell's primary reserve at power forward.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Schedule Update: Minnesota Gophers Toughen Nonconference Competition with Game Against Cornell

The Minnesota Gophers have scheduled 7'0" Jeff Foote and the Cornell Big Red for the 2008-2009 schedule.


By Sid Hartman
Minneapolis Tribune
March 30, 2008

Play tough schedule

One thing Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith is determined to do is improve his team's nonconference competition. The Gophers will play host to a NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) tournament on Nov. 13-15 that could attract some top college teams. The Gophers have scheduled Iowa State, Cleveland State and Cornell for next season, and now comes the announcement that they will play Louisville in University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, in December as a part of a doubleheader. Smith is interested in scheduling teams such as the University of Alabama here because he wants to recruit in that area...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spotlight on: Aaron Osgood

Aaron Osgood, a 6'9" 215 lb. rising sophomore in 2008-2009, appeared in eight games as a freshman for Cornell during the 2007-2008 campaign. On the year he averaged 1.0 points and 0.4 rebounds while playing a total of 25 minutes (3.1 minutes per game). In this limited playing time, Osgood made 4/5 shots from the floor for 80 percent on fields goals.

Osgood's most memorable game was without question the Big Red's dominant 91-46 win over Division III Alvernia College. During that game, Cornell fans caught a glimpse of Osgood's talents as he converted an athletic dunk in a fastbreak transition play for his very first points in a Cornell uniform. He finished the game with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

A former high school lacrosse player and state doubles champion in tennis, Osgood is long and athletic and has the potential to become a strong rebounder and shot blocker in the low post.

Due to the graduation of Cornell's Jason Hartford, Osgood is now one of two or three players on the roster battling for the coveted spot as Cornell's primary back-up center to Jeff Foote. With hard work and dedication during the offseason, Osgood has the opportunity and ability to earn meaningful playing time next season.

Recruiting News: Chris Wroblewski Selected to Chicago All-Star Game

On April 4th, the 2008 Chicago High School Classic boy’s basketball senior All-Star game will take place at Niles North High School in Skokie, IL. Incoming Cornell basketball recruit, 6'1" point guard, Chris Wroblewski (pictured above) from Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois was selected to the North-All Star team. The classic will feature 30 of Illinois’ top high school basketball stars. The game tips at 7:30 pm with the Slam Dunk Contest and the 3-point Shootout starting at 6:30p.m. Wroblewski was one of six all-stars selected to participate in the 3-point Shootout contest.

The game will be broadcast in the Chicago area on the Comcast Local channel on tape at a later date and will be available for On-Demand viewing on Comcast cable.

Below are the rosters:

NORTH ALL-STARS
# POS Name Height High School College

Coach Robert Smith
Simeon
33 SG Danny Barnes 6'2 Oak Park River Forest Eastern Michigan
33 SF Peter Boehm 6'7 New Trier Harvard
24 SG Dion Dixon 6'3 Crane Cincinnati
21 SF Josh Evans 6'4 Niles North Unsigned
24 SF Ryan Hare 6'4 Marshall Unsigned
54 C Kamil Janton 6'9 Bartlett Eastern Michigan
24 PF Jake Lindfors 6'10 Driscoll Albany
3 SG Jeremy Montgomery 6'2 Lincoln Park Unsigned
13 SG John Moran 6'2 Jacobs Northern Iowa
40 PF John Shurna 6'8 Glenbard West Northwestern
32 C Stan Simpson 6'9 Simeon Illinois
10 PG Kenyon Smith 6'0 Simeon Illinois State
12 PG Kevin Stineman* 6'0 Stevenson SIU Edwardsville
33 SG Gozie Umeadi 6'3 Fenton Unsigned
33 SG Chris Wroblewski 6'0 Highland Park Cornell
*Injured

SOUTH ALL-STARS
# POS Name Height High School College

Coach Jeremy Moore
Decatur Eisenhower
42 C Josh Crittle* 6'8 Hales Franciscan Oregon
1 PG Kevin Dillard 5'11 Homewood-Flossmoor Southern Illinois
1 SG Bryan Hall 6'2 Young Northern Illinois
24 SG Matt Humphrey 6'5 Hales Franciscan Oregon
11 PG Lewis Jackson 5'9 Decatur Eisenhower Purdue
12 SG Verdell Jones 6'4 Champaign Central Unsigned
23 PG David Kushnir 6'2 Niles North Unsigned
23 SG Chris Parrish 6'3 Riverside-Brookfield Southern Illinois
55 SF Al Rapier 6'5 Perspectives Unsigned
34 SF Carl Richard 6'5 Richards Indiana State
31 PF Jeremy Robinson 6'8 Decatur Eisenhower Illinois State
3 PG AJ Rompza 5'9 Young Central Florida
2 PF Supo Sanni 6'4 Homewood-Flossmoor Illinois [Football]
44 PF Tyler Storm 6'6 Geneseo Northern Illinois
23 SF Tommie Thomas 6'2 Richards Purdue [Football]
*Injured

Recruiting News: JuCo Target Julian Jones

As previously reported on The Cornell Basketball Blog, the Big Red coaching staff are recruiting junior college ("JuCo") forward, Julian Jones. Pictured above, Coach Donahue and Coach Spiker during the Big Red's practices in Anaheim, California in preparation for Cornell's first round game against Stanford. Below is a recent article on the recruitment of Julian Jones.

Former Warren starter Julian Jones put together a big season for the College of Lake County men's basketball team, and the 6-foot-7 center's potential is even bigger.

Warren grad getting Division I attention

By Bob Grossman
Daily Herald
March 28, 2008

Tom Shields, College of Lake County's men's basketball coach, had a talk with freshman center Julian Jones in early January.

Shields had watched the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Jones progress to the point where he was in the starting lineup.

But Shields wanted more from Jones. A lot more.

He knew that if Jones would commit himself to basketball, Jones could go from playing a role, to at times dominating games. He told the Warren graduate that he would have no hard feelings if Jones decided basketball wasn't for him.

"He had no idea how good he could be," Shields said. "I told him let's do it right or not do it."

After some soul searching, Jones decided he would be all about basketball for the rest of the season.

The results speak for themselves.

From mid-January on, he averaged about 18 points and 12 rebounds for a CLC team that won 10 of its last 13 games.

"In 30 years of coaching, I've never had a player improve as much in six weeks as Julian Jones," Shields said.

Jones' performance has caught the attention of a number of Division I schools. Since Jones was an academic qualifier out of high school, he has the option of leaving CLC after this season and going to a four-year school.

Or, he can play another year and hopefully his stock will go up even more. Shields said Utah, Cornell, Weber State, Eastern Illinois and Chicago State are among the schools recruiting Jones.

"He's gone from off the recruiting radar to having about 10 Division I schools wanting to sign him right now," Shields said. "His stock has gone through the roof."

Jones' coaches have always talked about what a nice person he is.

Off the court, that's a great quality. But one of the keys to his development this season was that he developed what Shields calls "a competitive chip on his shoulder."

Jones is a bit surprised by all the attention. He is in no rush to make a decision about accepting an offer or coming back to CLC.

"I would never have thought after one year of (college) basketball all these schools would be interested in me," he said.

Jones played his first two years of high school basketball in Maryland. His family moved to the Gurnee area prior to his junior year. At first, it was a bit of a shock for Jones to see the skill level in Warren's program.

Jones split time between the junior varsity and varsity at the start of the season. By the end of the year, he came off the bench and was a regular varsity contributor.

"My main role was to play good defense, rebound and block shots," Jones said. "I (knew) I had to get a lot better for my senior year."

Jones' role expanded as a senior, and by the end of the season he was one of the area's better big men. But his numbers, about 8 points and 6 rebounds per game, did not catch the attention of four-year schools.

"He really developed a feel for how hard he had to play as a senior," Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. "We always felt that Julian had a tremendous amount of basketball potential. He's light on his feet and is such a long, athletic kid."

Jones is just as fluid when it comes to his music, which has always been a big part of his life. His work making beats is featured on his my space page at www.MySpace.com/hitmanbeats53.

His improvement on the basketball court is, of course, music to the ears of Shields. Shields said the next challenge for Jones is playing away from the basket.

"We want him to learn to play on the perimeter and improve his ball handling and footwork," Shields said.

If he does that, what might Jones' future hold?

"He has so much ability," Shields said. "If he grows 1½ inches and puts on 20 pounds of muscle in the weight room, I think he could play in the NBA."

Reminder: Cornell Championship Merchandise

Reminder that IvySport.com is now selling the official Cornell Basketball Ivy League Championship T-Shirts (click here to order, click on the picture to see a larger image). The T-shirt features "Cornell 2008 Basketball Ivy League Champions" and all 8 Ivy schools listed below. Back features "Ivy League, Ancient Eight" with Ivy leaf in center.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wittman Honored by CollegeHoopsNet


Cornell's Ryan Wittman was named by CollegeHoopsNet.com as a Third Team Mid-Major All-American.

Wittman was previously tabbed to the CollegeHoopsNet.com Mid Major All-Freshman Team last season.

Columbia Daily Spectator: Spring Awakens Need for Star Recruit in Ivies

Cornell's Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale meet CBS Announcers Jay Bilas and Dick Enberg during practice just before Cornell's March 20, 2008 NCAA Tournament First Round game against Stanford in Anaheim.

By Kartik Kesavabholta
Columbia Daily Spectator
March 27, 2008

My bracket was one UCLA turnover away from suffering a most miserable and cruel death that I wouldn’t wish upon any rational sports fan. Still, it wasn’t really much of an entry, as I was unexpectedly wrecked by A.J. Price’s torn ACL (I’m a UConn homer). That’s just the way the Big Dance works. After recovering the past few days, I thought I’d use this column space to reflect on some things that I noticed that pertain to Ivy basketball.

First, Cornell couldn’t really match up against a surprisingly solid Stanford team. I was going into it thinking this probably was the best chance our conference has had in years to actually come out with an upset. It feels like the selection committee automatically matches us up with Texas every year, but this year was different. I think the Big Red was one of our stronger and more battle-tested teams in a while. The weird thing was that Ivies have put up a better fight in years past. Penn and Princeton have come close to knocking off the Longhorns in recent tourneys (at least for a good 30 minutes), but this one never really had the chance that I thought it would. The Cardinals played some stifling defense and “took care of business.”

I think it lends more credence to the idea of having a postseason conference tournament. The Big Red was the first squad to officially make it to the contest, and they looked like it. Sometimes teams can have too much time to rest and not be up for the grind. I think if we had an Ivy tournament, not only would it make Ivy basketball more exciting, but it may also prevent our teams from getting cold before the game that should matter more. Not to squeeze the last ounce of life out of this topic, but this game more than validated my stance (and that of many people on campus). There are many reasons to lose a little bit of edge when you’ve got the Ivy title in the bag with two weeks remaining in the season. Given our well-publicized disadvantages as a conference, we have to be represented by a team that really has chip on its shoulder.
We need our version of Georgia. This can only come through an Ivy tourney. If mid-majors can reach the Final Four, I think we should be able to a win a game.

The second thing I noticed was the impact of having a single dominant player. I know it’s hard to recruit when you don’t offer scholarships, but I’m finding that having one player who is a cut above everyone can make a huge difference. This year has already produced the Beasleys and Currys. The teams with one or maybe two guys who are exceptional are advancing. On the other hand, you have a team like Duke (while still one of the nation’s elite) that really looks mediocre because they have no central talent.

They’ve adopted somewhat of a Phoenix Suns-type offense, but they have no Steve Nash. With respect to our conference, if we could just find one player in the region, that alone could be enough to win titles and make a spirited charge in the NCAA’s. I guess it’s easier said than done, but who in this conference has a better chance than Columbia at accomplishing that?

The last thing comes from something I heard floating around the airwaves about expanding the NCAA field to 128 teams. My answer to that is NO. I know it would be great to see one, maybe two Ivy teams get invited, but it eliminates the prestige of the event. You don’t get a prize just for participating, and expanding the field essentially is the equivalent of that principle. What would end up happening is that the entire Big East, ACC, and Big 10 would be in there beating each other to a pulp. While it is a romantic idea, it’s not practical and would just render the regular season even more meaningless (and this coming from an Ivy fan).

So there’s some March Madness commentary. Time for some Spring sports (and Ivy titles).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ithaca Times on Cornell Basketball

Below is an excerpt of an article by Steve Lawrence of The Ithaca Times. Contary to the author's opinion, we believe the Cornell Basketball Program was built to compete against the best of Division 1 scholarship programs. The Ithaca Times writes:
As Cornell's winter sports season draws to a close, Big Red fans are aware that the 07-08 campaigns will be talked about for years to come. The men's and women's basketball teams went to March Madness - the first time in Ivy League history that one school sent both teams to The Dance - and in Louis Dale and Jeomi Maduka, Cornell boasted both Ivy League Players of the Year. On top of that, a local kid (Spencer Van-Etten's Jeff Foote) blossomed before our eyes to become a solid - even dominant at times - big man who will rule the paint for two more seasons.

Granted, both teams got knocked out in the first round of the tournament, but that's not what really matters here. The programs are built to be competitive in the Ivy League, not to compete against Division 1 scholarship programs. The men's thrilling 14-0 run through the Ivies (with only one senior on the floor), coupled with the women's notice-serving smack down of Dartmouth in the title game, indicate that Big Red fans will - quite happily, I will point out - sit in traffic before and after games for the foreseeable future.

Recruiting News: Cornell Pursues North Jersey Point Guard













By Rivals.com Basketball
March 26, 2008

Make no mistake about it, Justin Crosgile, a 5-foot-11, 167-pound point guard from De Paul Catholic in Wayne, N.J., is ready for the spring time.

The jet quick point guard is coming off a strong junior campaign where he helped pilot his team to a 19-5 record while averaging 20 points, six steals, six assists and five rebounds a game.

But if you talk to the three-star prospect there is still plenty in the tank and he hopes to show even more on the AAU circuit.

"I'm real motivated for the AAU season because it is my last year. I want to go out with a bang," Crosgile said.

An injury slowed his season down at the end of the year and his missed five games of action. Crosgile said the time away helped fuel his fire.

"You never know enough to say you have everything down," Crosgile said on his way home from the gym. "I think I did things better this year though. My jump shot was falling. I was hitting more threes. I think my midrange was better. Sometimes I would go to the hole. Our conference is none for taking charges so I had to learn how to pull up and knock down the short range shots and stop on a dime."

Crosgile and his New Jersey Roadrunners team will play in the Playaz Spring Fling the first weekend of April. When the evaluation period opens on the third weekend of April, there will be plenty of college coaches waiting to see him.

As Crosgile puts it, recruiting was "very big this year. Very big."

Crosgile said St. John's, St. Joseph's, Rutgers, Michigan, Seton Hall and Ohio State came in to see him play during the season. Crosgile added St. John's, Rutgers, St. Joseph's, Seton Hall and Houston have offered.

Marquette, Providence, Virginia, Miami, Xavier, Davidson, Cornell and Notre Dame are also showing interest.

Is there a school that has stood out early in the process?

"St. Joe's," Crosgile answered quickly. "They have shown a lot of interest in me. They check up on me a lot. When I got hurt, they called the most. They have told me that they really like me and that I would fit into their program really well. As I see it right now, they have a lot of things going on with what I want to do. They have good guard play and their coaches work really well with their guards."

JMU Job FIlled

As previously reported on The Cornell Basketball Blog, James Madison Univeristy was targetting Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue earlier this month as a possible candidate to fill its head coaching vacancy. That vacancy sign in Harrisonburg, Virginia is now gone. Yesterday JMU hired Matt Brady as their new head coach. In taking the new job, Brady resigns his position as the head coach at Marist.

Columbia Head Coach, Joe Jones is a candidate for the Marist vacancy.

Recruiting News: Mitchell Watt Appears Headed to Rutgers over the Ivy League

After taking an official visit to Cornell during the fall of 2007 and giving the Big Red a soft verbal commitment, Mitchell Watt, a 6'9" post player from Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, Arizona appears poised to accept a scholarship from Rutgers University. Apparently, Watt is attracted to Rutgers' membership in the Big East Conference. Watt told ArizonaPreps, "Rutgers would be a good home at the next level for me. The Big East is real and the education and network possibilities are endless. It would be nice to play there."

Rutgers, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1991. The Scarlet Knights finished 2007-2008 with a miserable 11-20 overall record and 3-15 mark in the Big East, which included lowly losses to Rider and St. Peter's and narrow wins over Dartmouth (55-50), Princeton (54-50), Lafayette (90-79) and NJIT (65-55). Rutgers ended the season with a 211 RPI out of 341 Division I teams and also failed to qualify for the Big East tournament. Rutgers only draws about 5,000 fans per game, just half the capacity of the Rutgers Athletic Center. The latest edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranks Rutgers 59th in the country.

Cornell finished its 2007-2008 season 22-6 with an Ivy League Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Big Red are favored to return to the NCAA Tournament in 2009. The latest edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranks Cornell 12th in the country.

Columbia Spectator: Impossible Task Faces Ivies at NCAA Tourney

Pictured above, Cornell Head Coach, Steve Donahue.


By Jonathan Tayler
Columbia Spectator
March 26, 2008

Odds are good that, amongst the flurry of first-round NCAA tournament games last weekend, you missed Stanford’s dismantling of Ivy League champion and designated tournament representative Cornell, with the Big Red losing by 24 points in a game that was never particularly close. It’s not surprising, I suppose, how much a 14-0 record in the Ivy League means to a team like Stanford.

It’s also not surprising that, once again, an Ivy League team easily routs its conference opponents only to get shellacked when it tries to dance with the big boys. This isn’t a slight on either Cornell or any of the other Ivy teams that have made the tournament—obviously, going into these games as a low seed and going up against one of nation’s top 10 teams usually isn’t going to end well. The last Ivy win in the tournament came in 1998, when Princeton went into the first round as a fifth seed, easily defeated UNLV, and then lost to a Michigan State team that would win the national championship in 1999. (Interesting side note: the leading scorer of that 1998 tournament? Michael Doleac. College basketball really is an entirely different world from the NBA.) Princeton also has the lone highlight of the Ivy League’s recent tournament history, upsetting defending national champion UCLA in 1996 by a stultifying 43-41 score.

Recent years have seen feisty efforts from Penn and Princeton alike. Penn put a scare into a lot of gamblers by hanging tough with Texas in 2006 and again with Texas A&M in 2007, while Princeton, as a 16-seed in 1989, came within an Alonzo Mourning block from knocking off top-ranked Georgetown. Both the Tigers and Quakers also boast first-round wins in the last decade or so, with Princeton’s aforementioned defeats of UCLA and UNLV, and Penn’s upset of Nebraska in 1994.

Nonetheless, you have to go pretty far back to find the last Ivy team that got past the second round. The last Ivy team to make the Final Four was Penn in 1979—that team beat number one-seed UNC in the second round, Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen, and St. John’s in the Elite Eight before Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team obliterated the Quakers by 34 points en route to the national championship over Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad. Penn ended up with a fourth-place finish in the tournament, losing the consolation game to DePaul in overtime. Outside of Penn, only two other Ivy teams have made the Final Four. The first is, obviously enough, Princeton, which, behind future Knicks star Bill Bradley, defeated Penn State, North Carolina State, and Providence before falling to Michigan in 1965. The Tigers came out of that tournament with a third-place finish thanks to Bradley’s Final Four record of 58 points in a 118-82 win over Wichita State. The other team, incredibly enough, is Dartmouth.

That’s right, the Big Green—perhaps one of the longest running jokes in Ivy League basketball, if such a thing is even possible—made it all the way to the national championship game, the only Ivy team to ever do so. Granted, that appearance came in 1944, back when Dartmouth was still known as the Indians and when the tournament consisted of only eight schools and nine games. The participating teams didn’t exactly comprise a current-day Murderers’ Row—Catholic University, Pepperdine, and Temple were three of the eight teams taking part. The Big Green started the tourney with a 63-38 blowout of Catholic, followed by a close win over Ohio State, leading to a title showdown with Utah at (where else) Madison Square Garden.

Dartmouth came in as the favorite, led by Audley Brindley, who scored a shade under 17 points per game in Ivy play and ended up scoring 17.5 points per game in the tournament.

The game itself was full of dramatics. Down two with three seconds left, Dartmouth’s Dick McGuire made an off-balance shot, tying the game at 36 and sending the contest into overtime. Amazingly enough, the overtime period went down to the wire as well, only this time, it was the Utes who stunned the then-Indians, making a basket with—once again—three seconds left to steal a 42-40 win. It would be Dartmouth’s last-ever championship appearance, and the Big Green’s last tournament game until 1956. Dartmouth hasn’t been back to the tournament since 1959.

All in all, the Ivy League has received 65 bids to the tournament, with each team having gone at least once. No team in the Ancient Eight has ever won the championship, and no team since that 1979 Quakers team has really even come close.

If recent history is any indicator of future success, then that championship drought might go on indefinitely. Nonetheless, most Ivy coaches will probably tell you that just getting to the tournament, no matter the first-round result, is the mark of a successful season. I’ll guarantee you that Cornell head coach Steve Donahue wasn’t too happy about Stanford treating the Big Red like the Washington Generals for 40 minutes last Friday. But I’ll also guarantee you that, at the end of the day, Donahue and his players wouldn’t trade their Ivy championship and NCAA tournament opportunity for just about anything else.

Columbia Head Coach Joe Jones on Cornell's Match Up with Stanford


By Brandon Moyse
The Daily Pennsylvanian
March 26, 2008

If you were one of the 3.3 million people who watched the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament online, you may have seen a familiar face at halftime.

Columbia men's basketball coach Joe Jones (along with New York TV personality Jason Horowitz and St. John's coach Norm Roberts) was featured on all the halftime programming of NCAA March Madness On Demand at CBSSports.com.

Jones is no stranger to working on TV: He's done work in the past for Sportsnet New York and MSG Network. Thanks to that experience, his name was recommended to CBS.

It was an opportunity at which he jumped.

"Who wouldn't want to do that? You get a chance to watch all the games and go on TV," Jones said.

The fact that he was only at the CBS studio in New York and not at any of the tournament sites gave him a good view of all the action.

As the Ivy League's representative, Cornell was one team that he watched closely. He thought that Stanford's twin 7-footers, Robin and Brook Lopez, gave the Big Red matchup problems.

"The tournament is all about matchups," Jones said. "Cornell got a tough draw. I really felt like they had a chance to get a first-round win. They're definitely a team that could develop and win a first-round game."

***

Recruiting News: Mitchell Watt Gets Offer from Rutgers

By ArizonaPreps.com
March 26, 2008


Desert Edge HS (Goodyear, AZ) 6-foot-9 senior forward Mitchell Watt reopened his recruitment after committing to Cornell University in the fall of 2007. Watt decided to explore his options in order to play a higher level of basketball at the next level.

This week, with the help of the Arizona Preps staff, Watt received an official offer from a school in the Big East Conference.

This past year Watt helped lead the Scorpions from Desert Edge to a 4A-Division-II state championship over the Santa Rita Eagles. While Watt spent most of the game in foul trouble and only finished with 7 points, many saw his potential and upside with the ultra athletic dunks and the rebounding clinic he would put on.

On the season Watt averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks , 4 assists and 2 steals per/contest, en route to a 28-2 overall record (8-0 in region). In addition, Watt was selected to 1st Team All-Region and First Team All-State according to Arizona Hoop Scoop Magazine.

Today (Tuesday, March 25th), Watt was offered an official athletic scholarship from Head Coach Fred Hill and Rutgers University. After seeing various tapes of Watt and coming out of the tape sessions of the talented big man, they were very impressed and decided they wanted to get Watt in a Rutgers jersey. Assistant Coach Craig Carter worked diligently on recruiting Watt, leading to the offer put forth today.

Rutgers first heard of Watt's ability to play the game after assistant Craig Carter contacted the Arizona Preps' offices, in search of an unsigned low post prospect still on the recruiting board.

Rutgers has recently committed 6-foot-8 St. Benedict's HS monster post man Greg Echenique as their first class of 2009 commit to join signee's in 6-foot-3, 180-pound McDonalds All-American guard Mike Rosario, 6-foot-9, 270-pound center Christian Morris, and 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward Patrick Jackson for the future.

If Rutgers gets Watt to sign late in the signing period, he will join that talented 2008 class.

Watt is a 6-foot-9, 205-pound long and rangy forward that can stretch the defense in a real way. He has a very much improved post game and an ability to knock down the outside shot. In addition, he is a terrific passer with good court vision and an unselfish approach to the game. While he is still very light on the weight scale, his upside is ridiculous. He is fairly athletic and is only getting more athletic as he grows more comfortable with his body and footwork. With 15-20 more pounds on him he will be a serious factor at the next level. On the defensive end Watt is a swat machine and pulls down boards like a carpenter. Furthermore, Watt carries a 3.8 CUM GPA and is already an academic qualifier.

Watt has been quoted saying, "Rutgers would be a good home at the next level for me. The Big East is real and the education and network possibilities are endless. It would be nice to play there."

Watt has also officially been offered by Pepperdine and Buffalo, while William & Mary is also showing some serious interest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Recruiting News: I Got Next!

Incoming Cornell basketball recruit, 6'1" point guard, Chris Wroblewski (pictured above) from Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois is expected to back-up Louis Dale next season and provide sharpshooting off the bench.

Cornell Team Report from The Sports Xchange

Cornell's Adam Wire (pictured front and center) hangs his head in disappointment following the Big Red's loss to Stanford on March 20, 2008 in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament. However, most publications will expect Wire and his teammates to return to the NCAAs in 2009 as a more formidable opponent.

Cornell Team Report

By The Sports Xchange and USA Today

GETTING INSIDE

One blowout loss to a No. 3 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament shouldn't be enough to discourage Cornell from returning to the tournament next season.

After the Big Red suffered a 77-53 loss to Stanford in Cornell's first NCAA Tournament game since 1988, Big Red coach Steve Donahue put the experience in perspective.

"We'll play better the next time we're here," he said.

Donahue's faith is well-founded. Cornell finished 22-6 and 14-0 in the Ivy League with a team that will return all but one player. That one senior, forward Jason Hartford, was a role player who did his best work as a defender and rebounder.

The top four scorers — small forward Ryan Wittman, point guard Louis Dale, guard Adam Gore and forward/center Alex Tyler — will all have two seasons of eligibility remaining and 7-foot center Jeff Foote should be even better after showing considerable progress in his first full season.

Penn, the perennial Ivy League power with three consecutive league titles prior to the 2007-08 season, should be better in 2008-09. The Big Red took some big steps on the way to the first Ivy League title by a team other than Penn and Princeton in 20 years and should be in the debate about the team to beat in '08-09.

"We had a great season. Something to be proud of," Dale said. "And I think this game that, you know, we just played (against Stanford), kind of lets us know that we need to get better for next year, and that it's still going to be difficult to make it back here next year. And I think that's what we're going to focus on.

"And, you know, we're going to try to get better each and every day in the offseason. And hopefully we can improve our season next year."

NOTES, QUOTES

FINAL RECORD: 22-6, 14-0, first place in conference.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Despite a young roster with only one seniors and four second-year players in the starting lineup, the Big Red grew through the course of the season, became a better defensive team, learned how to win close games and win on the road and won its first Ivy League title since 1988.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The NCAA Tournament appearance was nice, but a 77-53 loss to third-seeded Stanford in the first round showed there is plenty of room for improvement. Stanford simply had too much for the Big Red, especially in the paint.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We are very young. All these guys that you saw, six out of seven are sophomore-eligible. This is their first experience, not only just for the experience thing, but strength. As we get older and tougher and bigger, we'll play better next time when we're here, I'm positive of that." — Cornell coach Steve Donahue.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THE GOOD NEWS: The Big Red returns all but one player, including four starters and a total of six players with two years of eligibility remaining.

THE BAD NEWS: That one departing player, senior forward Jason Hartford, brought size, defense and rebounding to the roster. Those three areas looked like significant shortcomings in the NCAA Tournament loss to Stanford. To take the next step, the Big Red must improve inside.

KEY RETURNEES: Guards Louis Dale and Adam Gore, small forward Ryan Wittman, power forward Alex Tyler and center Jeff Foote.

ROSTER REPORT:

—Other Ivy League players scored, but no one proved to be more valuable than Dale, the Ivy League player of the year as a sophomore. Dale finished the regular season leading the Ivy League in assists (5.04 per game) and was sixth in scoring (13.8 per game). He was seventh nationally in free-throw percentage (.906).

—Wittman, the son of Minnesota Timberwolves' coach Randy Wittman, earned first-team all-league honors and finished fourth in the Ivy League with 15.4 points per game and ranked ninth nationally in 3-point percentage at .466.

—Foote, who joined the Big Red at midseason after a mid-year transfer from St. Bonaventure, emerged as a key player for the Big Red because of his size and production. In 21.2 minutes per game off the bench, Foote averaged 8.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.

—Gore was the 2006 Ivy League rookie of the year but missed all but the season opener in 2006-07 because of a season-ending knee injury. He returned to a team led by Dale and Wittman and needed some time to find his way. His production increased over the final month and finished the season averaging 10.1 points per game. Gore will be a senior academically but has two years of athletic eligibility remaining.

Around the Rim with Brian Delaney and The Ithaca Journal


By Brian Delaney
The Ithaca Journal
March 25, 2008

It's taken me a few days to catch up with things at the office, but let's recap a little bit as the basketball season came to a sudden end this weekend for Cornell basketball fans.

Random thoughts:

1. It's going to be extremely difficult to repeat.

No matter how much talent is returning next year - and there's quite a bit - the odds that Cornell sweeps the Ivy titles again isn't good. On paper, the women's team loses a bit more than the men with seniors Gretchen Gregg, Moina Snyder and Megan Hughes departing. The men will lose Jason Hartford, leaving a gaping hole at the forward position for either Pete Reynolds or Aaron Osgood or a junior college transfer to be named later to fill.

But the talent matters less than having to play with that target on your back. The men got a large dose of that this year in their quest for 14-0, and they handled it well. The women were in second place until the last regular season game, then lucked out by earning the tiebreaker bye - which clearly seemed to make a difference against a Dartmouth team that might have been a step slow on Sunday, March 16 in New York City.

2. Cornell and Siena.

What a difference the matchup makes. Little history reminder - Siena beat Stanford without Brook Lopez. Cornell beat Siena at Newman Arena. Both results mean little in March because in the college basketball world, November games are ancient history.

That said, Siena lucked out with a favorable matchup from the tournament committee. The Saints drew Vanderbilt and beat them. In Stanford, Cornell drew a team that probably would have beaten them by 20 points if they played 20 more times. Plain and simple, it was the worst possible matchup for the Big Red. I don't think any Ivy title team in recent years would have been able to hang with this Stanford team on the boards. There's just not enough athleticism (ala Marquette) in the league to out-quick the Lopez twins, Taj Finger, Lawrence Hill and Co.

***

4. Cornell players to watch next year.

Men: Pete Reynolds and Aaron Osgood. Both have a tremendous opportunity in front of them, one which teammates Jon Jaques, Conor Mullen and Andre Wilkins would kill for - a rotation opening.

With 6-9 Jason Hartford graduating, his spot in the lineup is up for grabs - and one, if not both bigs, should be drooling over it. And remember, Jeff Foote and Alex Tyler aren't about to start playing 35 minutes per game. That's unrealistic.

***

5. Ivy teams (other than Cornell) to watch next year.

Men: Penn. If they can put it together on a consistent basis, and after this year, that's a pretty good "if", they'll be strong enough to win the Ivy title.

Schedule Update

Throughout the spring, summer and fall, The Cornell Basketball Blog will update its readers with news concerning Cornell's tentative 2008-2009 basketball schedule. Here is our update on the news and rumors on the upcoming schedule. Underlined links are provided to the public sources of information.

Preseason NIT-The Big Red are reportedly in the Dick's Sporting Goods Season Tip-Off/Preseason NIT. Upon information and belief, sixteen teams are invited to the 2008 Preseason NIT with four "high major" schools each hosting three teams for the first two rounds and consolation games. The four regional winners advance to New York City and Madison Square Garden for the semifinals, third place game and championship. A new format in 2008, the 12 teams that do not advance to New York will will be reseeded and assigned to three campus sites for two more games each. Accordingly, participants in the NIT are guaranteed four games. In addition, participation in the NIT only counts towards one of the Big Red's Ivy League permitted 28 regular season games, as such Cornell will play a total of 30 regular season games in 2008-2009.

at Indiana-This game may be Cornell's first opponent in the preseason NIT. This game is also homecoming for Cornell's Adam Gore (Monrovia, Indiana). In additon, Ryan Wittman's father, Randy Wittman played for the Hoosiers.

at Minnesota-This game is a homecoming for Ryan Wittman, a Minneapolis native.

at Syracuse-This game is not confirmed, but Jim Boheim previously implied Syracuse would play Cornell every year, so long as there is no scheduling conflict. Boheim told ESPN, "We're still going to...play Cornell. We're going to play them for 100 years." Sounds good to us, Jim.

at Siena-The Cornell Basketball Blog has heard from several sources that this game is confirmed. Cornell owes the Saints, the MAAC Champions, a return trip to Albany.

In addition...

14 Ivy League Games

Eight More Nonconference Games (nine more games if Indiana is an NIT opponent)

Alumni News: Aubry Back in Puerto Rico

LatinBasket.com is reporting that 6'11" 240 lb. Cornell alum, Jeff Aubry, Cornell '99, has resigned with Leones de Ponce of Puerto after he was released earlier this year by the Argentine basketball club, Atletico Independiente Neuquen. Aubry played with Ponce during 2005 and 2006. Since rejoining Ponce in late February 2008, Aubry is averaging a solid 6.8 points and a team leading 9.4 rebounds per game.

Monday, March 24, 2008

ESPN's Bill Simmons on the Cornell Cheerleaders


Bill Simmons
ESPN.com Page 2
March 24, 2008

...we happened to be sitting near the Cornell section for the Cornell-Stanford blowout and saw fans wearing Cornell jerseys and red paint. You have to love March Madness if only for the thought of someone buying a Cornell jersey five years ago and saying, "Some day, we'll make the NCAAs and I'll get to wear this thing during a 40-point blowout."

But all of those astounding things paled in comparison to the Cornell cheerleaders, a group that apparently was assembled hastily within 48 hours of the tournament. During the first half, they tried to do one of those pseudo-pyramids in which two groups of three girls lifted two other girls in the air, only one of the girls lost her balance and nearly tumbled face-first to her death before the other girls somehow caught her. Unfortunately, they had to finish their routines for the rest of the game, leading to a terrifying moment where they attempted the pseudo-pyramid again in the second half, only the girl who almost fell the first time had the same petrified look on her face as the babysitter in the last 30 minutes of the "When a Stranger Calls" remake. I don't think I've ever been so scared for someone in my entire life. Somehow they pulled off the pseudo-pyramid, although it was marred a little when the poor girl lost control of her bowels on the three girls holding her up. Just kidding. Again, you have to love March Madness.



Graduation Time

While Cornell graduates one senior in May, Jason Hartford (pictured left), the Big Red return its top five players in minutes played, scoring and rebounding. The rest of the Ivy League is not as lucky as Cornell. Here is a list of those players scheduled to graduate this May from aound the Ivy Leauge. Feel free to share your thoughts on the Ivy League's graduation turnover by either leaving a comment to this post, sending us an email (CornellBigRedFan@gmail.com), or posting a message on The Cornell Basketball Blog's Community Forum (click here).

IVY LEAGUE SENIORS

BROWN

Mark McAndrew 6’2”
Damon Huffman 6’1”
Mark MacDonald 6’9”

COLUMBIA
John Baumann 6’7”
Ben Nwachukwu 6’8”
Bret Loscalzo 6’0”
Mack Montgoermy 6’5”
Justin Armstrong 6’4”
Kashif Sweet 6’0”

CORNELL
Jason Hartford 6'9"

DARTMOUTH
Jonathan Ball 6’4”
Michael Giovacchini 5’11”

HARVARD
Brad Unger 6’8”

PENN
Brian Grandieri 6’4”
Mike Kach 6’4”
Joe Gill 6’6”

PRINCETON
Kyle Konz 6’7”
Noah Savage 6’7”
Matt Sargeant 6’3”
Kevin Steuerer 6’5”

YALE
Eric Flato 6’1”
Matt Kyle 6’11”
Nick Holmes 6’6”
Caleb Holmes 6’6”

Recruiting News: More Schools Get Involved with Watt

ArizonaVarsity.com's editor is reporting that Mitchell Watt, a 6'9" center from Desert Edge H.S. in Goodyear, Arizona has received two more scholarship offers this month. Both Pepperdine and Buffalo have joined the "Watt Sweepstakes" and made offers. The Cornell Basketball Blog was previsouly informed by a confidential source close to the situation that Watt had also received scholarships from Wichita State, Cal St. Fullerton, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona, American University, Texas-San Antonio, and Samford, while fellow Ivy League schools Columbia and Princeton also offered places in their basketball programs. Meanwhile, other schools which have showed interest include Washington State, Northwestern, Tulsa, Texas Tech, Stanford, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, UCLA, and Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).

Watt previously told Rivals.com:
Cornell is my main one right now. A lot of schools have come on late and are holding off until the end of basketball season when I can make some visits to campuses and make a good decision then... I really like Cornell. Cornell is my number one right now, especially since I took an official visit up there. I loved it there. I really like [Cornell's] potential. They have the potential to go to the NCAA tournament. They have really good young players and I really like the coaching staff... I have definitely thought about [committing to Cornell] and actually Washington State coming on late has made me hold off on that... They're not as academically prestigious as Cornell but playing in the Pac-10 is a dream of mine. They've made me hold off on it but I was seriously leaning towards Cornell.
With his long arms and strong defensive instincts, Watt is a skilled shot blocker and rebounder. Paired with either Jeff Foote or Alex Tyler up front, Cornell could develop a dominating frontline in the same fashion as Stanford's Lopez twins.

Oliverson Now at La Tech











As previously reported on The Cornell Basketball Blog, former Cornell Basketball player, Shawn Oliverson has transferred to WAC-member, Louisiana Tech. Oliverson was recruited to Louisiana Tech by Tech's Assistant Coach Curties Condie, a former coach at Utah Valley State. Condie had originally met Oliverson when Oliverson was still in high school attending several area basketball camps.

Although Oliverson is 6'11" and has three years of eligibility remaining, it is not certain that he will have much of an impact in the WAC. Although he was by far the biggest freshmen in the Ivy League during 2004-2005, he only managed to get into 11 games for the Big Red, averaging just 2.1 minutes per game. He spent the last two seasons on a LDS mission but has arrived on his new college campus, hoping to help rebuild a Louisiana Tech team that struggled through a miserable 6-24 season in 2007-2008.

UPDATE: See the official Louisiana Tech press release (click here).

Alumni News: Ryan Cheesman '02

Ryan Cheesman ('02) transfered from Utah Valley State College to Cornell in 2000 and played in 14 games during Steve Donahue's first full season in Ithaca in 2000-2001. Cheesman did not play his senior year for the Big Red, but stayed in Ithaca and eventually earned a B.S. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell in 2002. He now currently works as an associate at Seare Marriott and Co., which specializes in middle-market investment banking with offices in Richmond, Va., and Salt Lake City.

For more Cornell Alumni News stories, click here.