Friday, August 29, 2008

Big Red: Most Impressive Turnaround in New York State

The blog "Storming The Floor" named the Cornell Big Red as the "Most Impressive Turnaround" among New York's Division I college basketball programs. Storming the Floor noted:
Most Impressive Turnaround: Cornell won all of five games in '01-'02. Last season, the Big Red were a perfect 14-0 in the Ivy and only lost one game at home, to Colgate, of all programs.

Recruiting News: Penn and Harvard Go Head-to-Head for Guards

No Pain, No Gaines: The Penn Quakers may have young guards like sophomore Harrison Gaines (right) and new incoming freshman Zach Rosen, but that is not stopping the Philadelphia-based school from heavily recruiting additional point guards and combo guards. Perhaps the Quakers feel they still need to upgrade their talent in order to contain Cornell's Louis Dale (pictured left), the Ivy League Player of the Year. Below is an update from the recruiting front...

Penn is reportedly recruiting point guards and combo guards like they are going out of style. According to, Tim Frazier, a 6'2" guard from Strake Jesuit High School in Houston, Texas will visit Penn this weekend, while also visiting Harvard during the weekend of September 20. Penn and Harvard both reportedly already made offers to Frazier.

Penn and Harvard also both offered 6'1" Brandyn Curry of Hopewell High School in North Carolina. Curry visits Harvard on September 19 and Penn on Oct. 17.

Penn also reportedly offered a third combo guard in Mike Grace, a 6-footer from Winston Salem, N.C., Mount Tabor High School. reports that Harvard recently had a visit from Tom Knight, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound center from Maine. Knight also visited Northeastern during the same weekend. Knight has already scheduled a return visit to Northeastern. There are no apparent plans for him to return back to Harvard. "I think the next couple of weeks are going to be big for my decision," Knight said. "I think I'll be able to know a lot about what I really like after those [two visits]…I like Northeastern quite a bit now."

Spotlight on: Pete Reynolds

In The Cornell Basketball Blog's continuing Player Spotlight series, we profile rising junior forward, Pete Reynolds.

Reynolds, a 6'8" forward for the Big Red, played in only 13 games during 2007-2008 for a total of 33 minutes of floor time (.1 ppg, .4 rpg). But with the graduation of forward/center Jason Hartford, there is now an open slot in the frontcourt rotation behind Alex Tyler and Jeff Foote. Reynolds certainly has the opportunity to fill this new vacancy. Earning minutes, however will not come easy, as he will have to beat out the likes of 6'11" Marc Van Burck, 6'9" Aaron Osgood, and 6'7" Brian Kreefer among other playing-time starved Cornell teammates.

A former tight end for his his high school football team, Reynolds is one of Cornell's best athletes and has showed some reliability scoring in and around the paint. While Reynolds only attempted three field goals as a sophomore, as a freshman during 2006-2007, he appeared in 20 games (6.4 minutes per game), shooting 69 percent from the floor (11/16).

If Reynolds brings more intensity and focus to his defense and rebounding, he could find himself in the 2008-2009 rotation of the Ivy League Champions.

Jersey Numbers Assigned to the Newbies

Cornell assigned jerseys to the new recruits (click here to see the updated Big Red roster). University of Colorado transfer Marc Van Burck will wear No. 55 (his jersey from Salt Lake Community College), Chris Wroblewski grabs Collin Robinson's vacated No. 3 jersey, while Alex Hill takes Jason Hartford's No. 44.

Hustle and Vote in the Poll

Last chance to vote in The Cornell Basketball Blog's latest Poll (see the right side of the Blog). We want to know which Cornell player you think gives the most effort when out on the playing floor. 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 top, Cornell's Alex Tyler and bottom Jeff Foote.

Cornell Basketball in the News: Donahue a "Baller"

Cornell Head Basketball Coach Steve Donahue was named one of the "Top 5 Middle-Aged Ballers on Earth" by The site notes:

3. Steve Donahue (Age 46) : I can tell you that the head coach for Cornell has mad game from personal experience. As a JV player and manager, I had a chance to learn the game by playing pickup with one of the biggest basketball junkies in the world. Coach Donahue works on his fitness and game as if he were still a Division III star at Ursinus. The result of being such a gym rat? A 40-year old who had more game and fitness than his Division I players. A 40-year old who was skooling a Harlem Wizard in a game of one-on-one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cornell's Transfer Stream

Although the transfer of Collin Robinson (pictured left) from USC to Cornell did not work out quite as well as hoped, Cornell fans should not conclude that the recent additions of Marc Van Burck (University of Colorado) and Max Groebe (UMass) are the last of the Division I transfer pipeline to Ithaca. Robinson reportedly left Cornell after frustration with not earning a starting (or starring) position for Cornell.

Since 2000, Cornell has successfully recruited eleven transfers. Below is a list of these transfers and the season they joined the Big Red:
  • 1999-2000-Greg Barratt 6’9”- Utah Valley State College via Univ. of Utah
  • 2000-2001-Ryan Cheesman 6’6” Utah Valley State College
  • 2003-2004-Stevan Marcetic 6’9” Bradley University
  • 2004-2005-Ryan Rourke 6’8” Mesa College via Air Force
  • 2005-2006-Ugo Ihekweazu 6’5” Wofford College
  • 2005-2006-Jason Hartford 6’9” Chemeketa Community College
  • 2007-2008-Collin Robinson 6’0” University of Southern California
  • 2007-2008-Jeff Foote 7’0” St. Bonaventure (currently active)
  • 2007-2008-Andre Wilkins 6’5” Blinn College (currently active)
  • 2008-2009-Marc Van Burck 6'11" Salt Lake C.C. via University of Colorado (currently active)
  • 2008-2009-Max Groebe 6'4" University of Massachusetts (currently active)

Recruiting News: Van Burck was a Buff

Earlier this week, ("CHN") previewed the Cornell Big Red. CHN erroneously referred to new Cornell recruit, 6'11" 260 lb. big man, Marc Van Burck as a transfer from Colorado State University. Van Burck is actually a transfer from Big 12-member, the University of Colorado (via Salt Lake Community College). Van Burck is eligible for two more years and will begin to play for Cornell in 2008-2009. The Cornell Basketball Blog first identified Van Burck as a possible recruit during July 2007. Van Burck's game-by-game production at Colorado can be viewed here.

Recruiting News: Ivy Campuses Buzz with Visiting Recruits

The months of September and October is the hot period for recruiting in Ivy League basketball. The summer AAU tournaments and the elite camps and clinics are over. The Ivy coaching staffs have identified their top prospects and targets, and in some cases, made offers for guaranteed roster spots. Now the student-athletes must make their campus visits to the Ancient Eight schools and decide which university should become their home for the next four years. Here is a brief report on some recent recruiting activity among the Ivies. Ivy League teams will try to find the next stud recruit like Cornell's Louis Dale (pictured above), the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year.

Cornell is recruiting 6’7” 220 lb. forward Cody Shuffler of East Burke High School in Icard, North Carolina. Shuffler, who plays AAU hoops with the Carolina Raptors, reports that the other schools most involved are Davidson, William & Mary, Centenary, and Lehigh. He previously noted that Davidson has been recruiting him the longest, and the Wildcats remain in the mix. West Virginia, Furman, Liberty, Air Force, NC State, and Virginia Tech have also expressed varying degrees of interest. As a junior in high school, Shuffler averaged 19 points and 10 boards for East Burke while shooting 58% from the field and 42% from behind the 3-point line.

Brandyn Curry, one of the top senior guards in the state of North Carolina has a final list, complete with scheduled visit dates. The Hopewell High School 6’1” senior visits Wright State Sept. 8, Harvard the 19th, William & Mary the 27th, Stanford Oct. 3 and the Penn Quakers on Oct. 17. He already visited Virginia Commonwealth unofficially. Penn and Harvard have already made offers to Curry. Princeton and Yale also offered but were trimmed out of the final list.

Both Penn and Harvard also have outstanding offers to other smallish point/combo guards. Penn reportedly offered Mike Grace, a 6-foot guard from Winston Salem, N.C., Mount Tabor High School, while Harvard has offers extended to 6’0” Kyle Randall of Kennedy Catholic High School near Hermitage, Pennsylvania. Harvard also offered 5’9” Russell Powell of Newnan High School in Georgia.

The Harvard Crimson will receive a visit on September 27 from 6’6” wing, Kyle Casey of the Brimmer and May School in nearby Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Casey also holds offers from Penn, Davidson and Holy Cross. He will visit Holy Cross the following week.

Dixfield, Maine’s Dirigo High School’s Tom Knight, a 6’9” 245 lb. post player has narrowed down his college choices to Harvard, Northeastern, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Maine, Davidson and Providence. While the list contains schools from different levels, Knight intends on giving serious consideration to each of the programs on his list and hopes to play immediately if he joins a low/mid-major program.

The Penn Quakers hope to land 6’8” Kyle Chadwick from Charlotte Latin High School in North Carolina. In addition to holding an offer from Penn, Chadwick has offers from Princeton, Rice, Charlotte, Ohio U. and Furman among others.

Columbia has reportedly offered 6’8” Holden Greiner of Traverse City, Michigan and St. Francis High School. Greiner also holds offers from American and Lehigh and will visit Central Michigan on September 27.

Frantz Massenat, a 6'3" lead guard out of Trenton Catholic in New Jersey lists Princeton, Fordham, Rider, La Salle, St. Joes, Temple and UMass as the frontrunners for his services. He already paid an unofficial visit to Princeton.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 Ranks Cornell No. 89 Nationally

There are increased expectations for Cornell's Jeff Foote (pictured above) and the Big Red in 2008-2009. ("CHN"), in releasing one team preview per day of the nation's top 144 teams leading up to the opening of the upcoming college basketball season. This week, CHN ranked Cornell No. 89 nationally and No. 1 in the Ivy League. Earlier this summer, ranked Cornell No. 41 nationally.

During 2007-2008, Cornell finished with an undefeated 14-0 Ivy League Championship and compiled a 22-6 overall record. The Big Red achieved a final RPI rank of No. 65, a final No. 18 national ranking in the Mid Major Poll, and a No. 33 national ranking (in terms of votes received) in the Final Associated Press Poll.

Below is the CHN preview of the Cornell Big Red.

Cornell Big Red Overall Rank: #89
Conference Rank: #1
Ivy League
2007-08: 22-6, 14-0, 1st
2007-08 postseason: NCAA

Cornell made it to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 1988. Yet, once they got there, it was not pretty. This time around things will likely be better in large part due to Ryan Wittman. Two years ago as a freshman we figured out that Wittman is a great shooter and scorer. Last year the 6-6 forward polished his rebounding game and became quite effective hitting the glass on the defensive end. After tallying 15.1 points and shooting nearly 46 percent from long range, it will be interesting to see what Wittman adds to his repertoire as an upperclassman.

Who’s Out:

Jason Hartford was the only senior on the team last year. The big man averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds last season and his absence will cause a small problem regarding the frontcourt depth. Collin Robinson is not returning to the team. When he was playing, Robinson was a good slasher who averaged nearly ten points a game, but the Big Red lived without him for half of last season anyway.

Who’s In:

The most important newcomer will be Marc Van Burck. The 6-11 center at least needs to give the team some quality minutes off the bench and help replace the production of Hartford. Van Burck was highly recruited coming out of high school, but his career at Colorado State [sic] and Salt Lake Community College has not lived up to that potential. A new start in Ithaca, New York might make all the difference. Small forward Alex Hill and shooting guard Chris Wroblewski, a McDonald’s All-America nominee, will not be asked to do too much as freshmen, but both have the ability to make an impact if they can manage to work their way up the depth chart.

Who to Watch:

As important as Wittman is to the team, Louis Dale is the leader. The reigning Ivy League Player of the Year averaged 13.7 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds as a sophomore last season. He can hit the outside shot, but he does most of his damage getting to the basket and getting to the free-throw line. Speaking of the free-throw line, Adam Gore might not get there as often as Dale, but he is one of the best shooters from the charity stripe in the nation. Gore can shoot from anywhere else on the floor as well and hit 41.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The depth behind those two is relatively inexperienced, but Geoff Reeves and Jason Battle will join the newcomers spelling Dale and Gore when they need a break.

Final Projection:

For a team that went 14-0 in conference play last season, there is little reason to think that the Big Red cannot be even better this year. The absence of Hartford is the only thing stopping Cornell and Coach Steve Donahue from dominating once again. Yet, not having Hartford around is not as big of a deal as it seems. Alex Tyler is a returning starter and Jeff Foote emerged as a major presence under the basket once he was eligible late in 2007. Foote, a seven-footer, led the team with 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his 22 games and having him around for a full season will be huge. As long as Brian Kreefer and Andre Wilkins and Van Burck are ready to see minutes off the bench, the frontcourt will be even better than it was last year. The traditional Ivy powers will be tougher this year, but so will Cornell. But this time the Big Red hope to make a little more noise in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Louis Dale, Junior, Guard, 13.7 points per game
Adam Gore, Senior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Ryan Wittman, Junior, Forward, 15.1 points per game
Alex Tyler, Junior, Forward, 8.2 points per game
Jeff Foote, Senior, Center, 7.9 points per game

CollegeHoopsNet Top 144 Rolls On

Pictured above, Ivy League Player of the Year and All-American, Cornell's Louis Dale.

Earlier this summer, ("CHN") commenced its annual 2008-2009 rankings and previews of the Top 144 teams in the nation. The site is releasing one team preview per day leading up to the opening of the upcoming college basketball season. This week, CHN ranked Boston College No. 90 in the nation. The Eagles will host Cornell, St. John's and Loyola (Md) in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. St. John's is ranked No. 131 nationally by CHN. Other 2008-2009 Cornell opponents receiving rankings by CHN include, St. Joseph's (Pa) No. 91 and Bucknell No. 129.

While Cornell has never appeared in the CHN Top 144, the Big Red are expected to to earn a ranking within the Top 90 teams. Earlier this summer, ranked Cornell No. 41 nationally.

During 2007-2008, Cornell finished with an undefeated 14-0 Ivy League Championship and compiled a 22-6 overall record. The Big Red achieved a final RPI rank of No. 65, a final No. 18 national ranking in the Mid Major Poll, and a No. 33 national ranking (in terms of votes received) in the Final Associated Press Poll.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chatting with ESPN's Kyle Whelliston

Below we pasted an excerpt from today's chat session with ESPN's Kyle Whelliston.

Jeff, NYC: Kyle, do you still pick Cornell as the favorite in the Ivy League? And did Cornell get overly ambitious with its schedule (at Syracuse, at Indiana, at Minnesota, St. John's in NIT, at Siena, at St. Joseph's, La Salle, Bucknell, Boston University)?

Kyle Whelliston: (4:44 PM ET ) I do, I think they have one more year in them before the P&P show starts up again. As for the schedule, good for them. At this level, you can play UNC 10 times and it won't matter. The winner of this league gets a 14 seed no matter what.

Vote in the New Poll

Vote in The Cornell Basketball Blog's latest Poll (see the right side of the Blog). We want to know which Cornell player you think gives the most effort when out on the playing floor. 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, No. 22, Cornell's Conor Mullen.

Recruiting News

Here is another dosage of Ivy League and Cornell recruiting news...

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Marquis Mason, a 6’5 210 lb. wing forward from Madison East High School in Madison Wisconsin, committed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee over interest from Cornell. Just a member of the class of 2010, Mason also had a scholarship offer from Wisconsin-Green Bay and was also receiving recruiting interest from Stanford, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Marquette, Minnesota, and Illinois. reports that Brown, Columbia and Bucknell are showing recruiting interest in Rexton Gordon, a 6’3” guard from St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, New York. also notes that several Ivy League schools are also looking at Pat Moore a 6’5” forward from Notre Dame High School in Utica, New York and the Albany Rocks AAU program.

According to the NorthStar Basketball Blog, Andrew Madlinger, a 6’2” guard from Ridge High School in New Jersey, recently took an unofficial campus visit to Princeton.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cornell Basketball Photos on

Pictured above, Cornell's Jeff Foote celebrates the Big Red's 2007-2008 undefeated Ivy League Championship compiled a photo gallery of the best pictures from 2007-2008 Big Red Athletics. The gallery includes several photos from Cornell Basketball. Click here to visit's photo gallery.

Big Red Beyond the Arc

Pictured above, Cornell's Adam Gore spots up for one of his patented three-point daggers.

The NCAA will push the 3-point line back one foot to 20 feet 9 inches for the 2008-2009 season, but Cornell should not be affected as much as opposing teams. The Big Red boast several players capable of knocking down three-point shots at above a 40% clip. As a team last season, the Big Red shot 41% from beyond the arc placing Cornell 4th in the nation. Below is a glimpse of Cornell's top returning perimeter shooters.
  • Ryan Wittman 6’6” Jr. 78/170 (46%), 15.1 ppg
  • Louis Dale 5’11” Jr.. 40/106 (38%), 13.7 ppg
  • Adam Gore 6’0” Jr. 59/142 (41%), 10.2 ppg
  • Geoff Reeves 6’5” Jr. 17/40 (43%), 3.5 ppg analyst and former head coach, Fran Fraschilla, named Wittman one of the nation's top 10 shooters earlier this summer. While Dale shot a solid 38% beyond the arc last year, he hit a blazing 47% from downtown as a freshman and could return to form in '08-'09. The Big Red also receive an added shooting boost from incoming freshman recruit, Chris Wroblewski, widely regarded as one of the top half dozen shooters in Illinois during his senior year of high school. Wroblewski participated in the Chicago Senior All-Star Game three-point shootout contest.

Recruiting News: Brown Receives Verbal, Cornell Extends Offer to PG

Pictured above, Cornell's Alex Tyler shoots over a Yale defender in Ivy League action last season. Below, some news and notes on the Ivy League recruiting scene...

First we have a recruiting commitment to report. Brown University received a verbal commitment from Andrew McCarthy, a 6'7" forward from the Northfield Mount Hermon School in New Hampshire. McCarthy is Brown's second verbal commitment for the class of 2009.

According to the Shreveport Times, Cornell has offered a roster spot to 6'0" point guard, Tevin Hall from Shreveport, Louisiana. Hall has reportedly withheld a commitment to the Big Red because "his mother does not like flying." Hall is a three sport athlete for Bosier High School. He is a quarterback on the football team and is a long jumper on the track team.

The following high school players have publicly claimed on various recruiting websites and news publications that they received offers to play basketball for Cornell:

    • Tevin Hall G 6-0 Shreveport LA Bosier HS (AAU: Louisiana Nike Select) (class of 2009)
    • Montez Blair G 6-3 Timber Creek NJ HS (class of 2009)
    • Dan DiVietri G 6-4 170 Mineola NY Chaminade HS (class of 2009)
    • Zach Bohannon F 6-7 Marion IA Linn-Mar HS (AAU: Martin Brothers) (class of 2009)
    • Jeff Georgatos F 6-8 215 Dallas TX Episcopal (AAU: Dallas Heroes) (class of 2009)
    • Phil Beans F 6-7 Toledo OH Ottawa Hills HS (AAU: Ohio Gators) (class of2009)

In other recruiting news, reports that Chandler Fraser-Pauls, a 6'0" 160 lb. class of 2011 lead guard from the Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey has received recruiting interest from Princeton, Brown, Bucknell, Lehigh, Cornell, and Columbia. He hopes to play both soccer and basketball in college. also reports that Harold Spears, a 6'5" 205 lb. wing forward from the Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey has recruiting interest from Brown, Princeton, Penn, Cornell, James Madison, Drexel, and Bucknell. He has taken unofficial visits to Penn and Princeton and expects to visit both Cornell and Brown this fall.

Phillips Exeter-Bound Josh Bartelstein, a former teammate of incoming Cornell recruit Chris Wroblewski is beginning to see his collegiate recruitment heat up according to Drake, Penn, Holy Cross, Princeton Bucknell, Lafayette and Brown are all in the recruiting mix for the 6'4" guard.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Steve Donahue Speaks to Cornell Football Team

The Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball Steve Donahue (pictured above) gave a motivational speech this week to the Cornell Football team during its opening week of practice.

Cornell Head Football Coach Jim Knowles commented on the appearance. "Steve came in and what he did parallels what we are trying to do. I have great memories from the last basketball championship in 1988, and that fall the football team won its first championship since 1972. I remember Coach (Maxie) Baughan pulled out the men's Ivy League championship ring that he had for good luck before the first game. What Steve said to the team was his team took over, they knew what they had to do and they became a true team, not a bunch of individuals. The message was great about operating as a team. We have leadership in these 33 seniors, our first recruiting class. We can't keep doing the same things we've done to get to the next level. As a coach, you try and build them up and teach them the plays, but we don't have control over everything that goes on in the field."

Friday, August 22, 2008

CHN Preseason Rankings Update

Earlier this summer, ("CHN") commenced its annual rankings and previews of the Top 144 teams in the nation. The site is releasing one team preview per day leading up to the opening of the 2008-2009 college basketball season. Today, CHN ranked Stanford No. 94 in the nation. The Cardinal defeated the Big Red last year in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Cornell has never appeared in the CHN Top 144, but is expected to to earn a ranking this season.

ESPN Shoot Around Index Online

Check out's 2008 Summer ShootAround archive for previews of teams on Cornell's 2008-2009 schedule. projects that Andre Wilkins (right), Geoff Reeves (left) and the rest of the Cornell Big Red will go dancing again in the NCAA Tournament as repeat Ivy League Champions.

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

What is the top D1 basketball program in each state.. and which program is the worst? ("CHN") is attempting to answer that question. In Part I of the series, CHN discusses one of Cornell's Ivy League rivals, the Dartmouth Big Green. CHN writes, "One of the worst programs in the country, Dartmouth hasn't been above 250th in the RPI since 1999. The low was 2004 with an abysmal RPI of 324." Pictured above, Cornell's Alex Tyler hits a free throw against the Big Green last year in New Hanover, New Hampshire.

Recruiting News referenced today Max Groebe's (No. 13 pictured above) transfer earlier in the summer to Cornell from UMass.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recruiting News: Bohannon Considering Cornell and Wisconsin Among Others

Zach Bohannon, a 6'7" 185 lb. forward from Marion, Iowa and Linn Mar Community School is holding five scholarship offers with the Cornell Big Red also in the picture. "Right now I have five offers. They are from Albany, Vermont, Denver... Rice, and Air Force," Bohannon told But he added that there are still a few other schools that he is considering. "I am still waiting to hear from Davidson and Drake. Those are two schools that were recruiting me the hardest before the offers came. Cornell actually offered all they could academically and financial aid wise. They can't give athletic scholarships."

Bohannon also noted, however that he is still in the process of working out which schools he will be seeing on official visits. "I was just going over that with my family this weekend with some of the dates and the schools that I am narrowing it down to. Right now, I don't have anything setup for official visits."

Bohannon does not seem opposed to paying for college as he is also considering a walk on role at another program. "For the most part, I've narrowed it down to these final schools. I still am hearing from a few other schools. There is also Wisconsin offering a walk on spot and possibly earning a scholarship after the second year. Unless something new comes to the table soon, I will take three or four visits and narrow it down."

The option in Wisconsin is something that Bohannon is looking into carefully. "For the most part, I am considering it. I will take an unofficial visit to see if all the coaches are on the same page. They saw me play at the Wisconsin team camp. Coach Close was the one that talked to me about that." Bohannon's older brother, Jason, will be a senior at Wisconsin next year. Bohannon told, "If I went there, I'd redshirt my first year. For the most part, it would be him showing me around and helping me make the transition from high school to college. It would be nice to play with him but unlikely because I want to play."

The Forum is Open

Discuss our latest poll question on The Cornell Basketball Blog's Community Forum and Message Board (click here). Membership to the Forum is FREE. The poll question is "Which Cornell Winter Sport Will Draw the Highest Average Attendance This Year?" Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll (on the right side of this Blog), leaving a comment to this post, or by participating in the Forum.

More Prestige Rankings

Following in's footprints of ranking college basketball programs in order of their historical prestige, the web blog, The Bleacher Report also published a similar survey, ranking Cornell 3rd among the Ivy League programs. Pictured above, Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue cuts down the net following Cornell's clinching win of the 2008 Ivy League Championship.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recruiting News

Here is a bit of news on the Ivy League recruiting front…

Barry Hays of Hoop Stars Canada Recruiting Service reports that 29 Canadians have committed to Division I programs for the 2008-2009 season. The list of 29 includes Cornell recruits, Alex Hill and Marc Van Burck, as well as Columbia recruit, Max Craig.

Chris Blake, a 6’6” wing forward from Tom C. Clark High School in San Antonio told, “Texas State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, South Alabama, Columbia are the D-I [schools] that are calling [me], and the D-II schools are Dallas Baptist and Tarleton State. I have no offers but I have taken a lot of phone calls."

Chris Halvorsen, a 6’8” 190 lb. forward from Sibley High School and Mendota, Minnesota reportedly has over fifteen Division I scholarship offers according to His offers include Ball State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lehigh, Kent State, Pepperdine, Pacific, Valpo, South Dakota State, North Dakota State, University of South Dakota, Montana, plus “several Ivy League schools want him as well.” Southern Illinois had a scholarship offer, but pulled it when another recruit gave the Salukis a verbal commitment. Halvorsen’s high school coach told MinnesotaPrep, "Stanford is looking at him, and Iowa State and Iowa are looking at him some too. I would say that the interest from Stanford is serious. They have not offered him yet though but his academic standing has helped make their interest serious." Yale was previously mentioned as a school involved with Halvorsen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cornell Basketball in the News

ESPN's Andy Katz suggests today in his Andy Katz Blog that Cornell could potentially advance to Madison Square Garden and the Semifinals of the NIT Season Tip Off. Katz writes:
The NIT Season Tip-Off announced its matchups Tuesday (with seeds)...Clearly this wasn't done in a traditional NCAA tournament style, since top-seeded Purdue isn't playing 16-seed Mississippi Valley State. But the gist in seeding is to increase the likelihood of the favorites getting to New York. Cornell in the East, Davidson in the South and UAB in the West are the three potential upset teams.

Cornell Basketball in the News

Below are links to relevant press releases and articles concerning Cornell's participation in the NIT Season Tip-Off:

Cornell Basketball in the News

Associated Press
August 19, 2008

NEW YORK -- Stephen Curry will lead Davidson against James Madison in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

The Wildcats are one of seven teams from last season's NCAA tournament in the field of 16, which was announced Tuesday by the NIT Selection Committee.

Purdue and Oklahoma both reached the second round of the NCAA last season while Cornell, Arizona, Mississippi Valley State and Georgia all lost first-round games.

Curry, a junior who averaged 25.9 points last season and is the nation's leading returning scorer, carried the Wildcats into a regional final there they lost to eventual NCAA champion Kansas. Davidson will play James Madison in the South Regional at Norman, Okla., while Oklahoma faces Mississippi Valley State.

Boston College will host the East Regional and will play Loyola, Md., while Cornell faces St. John's.

Purdue hosts the North Regional and will play Eastern Michigan. Georgia will play Loyola, Ill., in the region's other game.

Arizona hosts the West Regional and will play Florida Atlantic, while Santa Clara faces UAB.

The first-round games will be Nov. 17, with the regional championship and third-place games on Nov. 18.

The four winners advance to Madison Square Garden with the semifinals on Nov. 26 and the championship game on Nov. 28.

The other 12 teams will play two more rounds of games on Nov. 24 and 25, at campus sites.

The tournament started as the Preseason NIT in 1985. It is sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods.

Schedule Update: Cornell No. 9 Seed in Preseason NIT

August 19, 2008

NEW YORK — The 16-team field for the 2008 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament was announced today by C.M. Newton, chair of the NIT Selection Committee and features a first round matchup between Cornell and St. John's on Nov. 17 at 9:30 p.m. at Boston College.

“Once again, the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament features an outstanding field and we look forward to another exciting start to college basketball,” commented Newton.

The 2008 NIT Season Tip-Off teams and brackets are as follows:
The East Regional will take place at Boston College and the Eagles will play Loyola (Maryland) while Cornell squares off against St. John’s. In the North Regional, Purdue is the host site for its game against Eastern Michigan and for the Georgia vs. Loyola (Chicago) matchup. Oklahoma is the site for the South Regional, and the Sooners will tip against Mississippi Valley State and James Madison will play Davidson. In the West Regional, Arizona is the host against Florida Atlantic and Santa Clara faces University of Alabama-Birmingham. All first round games will take place on November 17 with the championship and consolation games of the four regions to follow on November 18.

The NIT Season Tip-Off, which began in 1985, has evolved to an enhanced format this year that guarantees every team four games. First- and second-round games will be played at the home campus sites of the four highest-seeded teams. The winners of those sites will move onto New York’s Madison Square Garden over the Thanksgiving holiday for the semifinal and final doubleheaders November 26 and 28.

The remaining 12 teams will play third- and fourth-round games on November 24 and 25. These games will be played on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice and third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible.

ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event; televising games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, with select games also simulcast on

About the NIT
In August of 2005, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), LLC, which is under the umbrella of the NCAA, assumed control of the post season NIT and the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. The post season NIT was founded in 1938 by a group of New York City sportswriters while the NIT Season Tip-Off, formerly known as the preseason NIT, started in 1985. An independent at-large committee chooses the filed for both events. Since the inception of the two Tournaments, tens of thousands of student-athletes and coaches have participated. Visit for more details on Tournament history, selection committee and procedures.

About the NCAA
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Spotlight on: Brian Kreefer

In The Cornell Basketball Blog's continuing Player Spotlight series, we profile rising senior forward, Brian Kreefer.

At the conclusion of the 2007-2008 season, the Big Red graduated only one senior in 6’9” Jason Hartford. He leaves behind 18.5 minutes per game and a vacant spot in Cornell’s frontcourt reserve rotation. Several players are expected to be in the mix to take the open spot. Pete Reynolds (6’8” junior), Aaron Osgood (6’9” sophomore), Marc Van Burck (6’11” junior), Andre Wilkins (6’5” junior) and Adam Wire (6’6” sophomore) will all get an opportunity for the job. But Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue may also look to 6’7” senior, Brian Kreefer as Cornell’s primary reserve at power forward.

During 2007-2008, Kreefer averaged 11.7 minutes per game, appearing in 23 contests and starting 8 games for the Big Red early in the season. However, for the second consecutive year in Ivy games, Kreefer’s playing time declined as he only averaged 5.0 minutes per contest against the Ivy opposition. Coach Donahue’s decision to limit Kreefer’s minutes, however was most likely due to the emergence of Jeff Foote and not a reflection of Kreefer’s solid level of play.

On the year, Kreefer averaged 3.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game while shooting an outstanding 62% from the floor, up from his prior career best 46% on FGs as a sophomore. Kreefer’s shooting percentage skyrocketed his junior season primarily out of a dramatically improved shot selection. After shooting a disappointing 13/50 (26%) from three-point range as a sophomore and a mediocre 11/32 (34%) from deep as a freshman, Kreefer limited his three-point shots last year to a more reasonable 17 attempts. The improved shot selection resulted in a very strong 41% clip from downtown (7/17).

Also a skilled passer from the post, Kreefer averaged 1.3 assist per game, dishing at least 3 assists in five different games, including 3 assists at Duke.

Kreefer was one of Cornell's few bright spots during the nonconference schedule last year. He made all five of his field goals and scored 10 points against Siena while adding five assists. He also led the Big Red with 21 points to go along with three assists, two rebounds and two steals in a win over Army.

With his high basketball IQ, improving rebounding and defense, expect Brian Kreefer to once again be in mix for playing time at reserve power forward during 2008-2009.

Recruiting News: Around the Ivy League

Some news from the Ivy League recruiting map...

Despite receiving recent commitments from Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, the Penn Quakers are still heavily recruiting wing players. Keegan Hornbuckle, a 6’6” forward from Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles holds offers to Penn, Oregon State, Colorado, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Pacific, UC Santa Barbara and Boston U. When asked if he had a leader by, Hornbuckle said, "I'm still not too sure right now about any leaders but if I had to pick like three, I'd say it would probably be the University of Pennsylvania, Colorado and Oregon State.” He noted however that Harvard has also shown significant interest while "Michigan, Arizona and Arizona State have been talking to me and my dad, too." Hornbuckle told he will visit a handful of schools at the end of the month. He plans to visit Pacific, San Fransisco, Saint Mary's, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State.

Blake Jolivette, a 6’0” 180 lb. point guard from St. Thomas High School in Houston was previously mentioned earlier in the summer as a potential Cornell prospect. In an interview with, Jolivette said he had offers from American, Army, Colgate, Dartmouth, Furman, Holy Cross, Lamar, and Yale. Visits to three of them are already set. "I'm going to Yale on September 26th and the next weekend I'm going to both Holy Cross and Furman," Jolivette said. "Now I'm trying to set up a fourth and it's between American and Colgate." He expects to make a decision in October.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Recruiting News: Minnesota Big Man to the Other 'Nell

Cornell's Ryan Wittman (No. 20) defending the ball at Bucknell last season. reports that Mike Muscala, a 6'9" forward from Minnesota has committed to Bucknell. Cornell reportedly recruited Muscala earlier in the year. reports:
The best parts of Muscala's game are still ahead of him and his size, ability, length, ball skills, and early college decision at a top academic school out east (with numerous schools just starting to come harder) reminds a lot of current Cornell standout Ryan Wittman.

Spotlight on: Geoff Reeves

In The Cornell Basketball Blog's continuing Player Spotlight series, we profile rising junior guard/forward Geoff Reeves.

If he played for any other Ivy League team, he would be a “go-to” player, or at least fill a role as a starter. Geoff Reeves is just that talented. But when you are playing with three All-Ivy League perimeter players (in this case Cornell's Ryan Wittman, Adam Gore, and Louis Dale), you sacrifice individual glory for the good and welfare of the Team. In this case, the 6’5” rising-junior from Kansas is arguably Cornell’s best weapon on a very deep and talented Big Red bench.

One of Cornell’s best athletes and leapers, Reeves may have the best all-around scoring skill-set in the conference. His playing time increased throughout last season as the defensive intensity, ball-handling and dribble penetration improved. The numbers speak for themselves. During 14 Ivy League games last season, Reeves averaged 14.9 minutes per game, all in a reserve role. Dangerous pulling up for a mid range jumper or attacking the basket, he shot 42% from the floor and averaged 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and .8 assists per game while filling minutes at both guard positions and in the small forward slot. A perimeter gunner, he also knocked down 11/25 from three-point range, good for 44%. On percentages alone, Reeves field goal and three-point percentages would both fall into the Ivy League’s Top 10 from last year.

During 2008-2009, Reeves is once again expected to fill a “Sixth Man” role, earning minutes at all three perimeter positions. With acquired confidence and experience, Cornell can expect to receive even better play from him as a junior.

Recruiting News: Iowa Guard Says Cornell Offered

Ames, Iowa's 6'4" 185 lb. guard/forward Jesse Pritchard updated on his recruitment this week. "There have been a couple of Ivy League schools. They can't offer [a scholarship] but they told me they would have a spot for me. I'd have to get into the school so it is a little different. Cornell has said that they want me to come and that is like an offer there. I have to apply to the school. Dartmouth and Princeton are in the same situation. I have to get into the school first though." In describing the recruitment and admissions process, Pritchard explained, "It is really the same as a normal student but there is a little leeway. I have to write an essay and do an application. I will take a couple of visits out east and also to some schools in the Patriot League. Schools like Bucknell and Colgate might possibly offer. Right now, I am just enjoying it but I would like to make a fall decision."

There is at least one school that Pritchard mentioned to that he hopes to officially visit. "I know I am going to Cornell for sure. Then for everything else I will see what is on the table." Pritchard does have a few factors that will make the decision easier for him. "It is just a place that fits me both academically and a basketball program that plays the way I play. I want to play for a good coaching staff and find somewhere that I'll be happy."

Pritchard previously told that he held scholarship offers to William & Mary and South Dakota.

Cornell Basketball in the News:

ESPN's Andy Katz referenced Cornell today in his Andy Katz Blog. Katz writes:
Purdue is projected to challenge Michigan State for the Big Ten title. No longer will this Purdue team... be a cute, young team that overachieves. The expectations are for championships. The nonconference schedule has its share of challenges, led off by hosting Georgia, Eastern Michigan and Loyola-Illinois in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The other three hosts are Oklahoma, Arizona and Boston College, with Davidson a possible spoiler in OU's group and a dangerous Cornell team in BC's bracket. (St. John's is also in BC's bracket, which is remarkable since this is a New York-based tourney and the Red Storm are on the road.)