Thursday, April 30, 2009

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Some news around the Ivy League...

Penn head coach, Glen Miller was interviewed on Philly.com. Although there has been no confirmation from a reliable source, internet rumors are swelling that Penn freshman Garvin Hunt left the Penn basketball program last night. If true, Hunt would be the fourth Quaker to quit the program during 2008-2009. We will continue to monitor this story.

The Daily Pennsylvanian recently wrote about the pressure on Glen Miller.

MOSports.com looks back on the career of Dartmouth's Alex Barnett.

Recruiting News

In recruiting news around the Ivy League, Chicago Hoops.com reports that Josh Bartlestein, a former teammate of Cornell's Chris Wroblewski at Highland Park, Illinois, High School and a postgrad student at Phillips Exeter committed to attend the University of Michigan as a preferred walk-on. Bartlestein turned down scholarships from Wagner, San Diego, Elon, UIC, Detroit and Valparaiso.

The following list consists of players from the high school class of 2010 that were identified by Rivals.com, Scout.com or other major recruiting websites as recruiting targets for Ivy League schools. Below each recruit's name is a sample list of schools recruiting these student-athletes.

IVY LEAGUE RECRUITING TARGETS CLASS OF 2010

Julian Boatner (Bloomington North) Bloomington, IN 6-0/165

Princeton, Norte Dame, Bucknell, Navy, Rice

Aaron Bright (Bellvue HS) Bellvue, WA 5-10/175
Eastern Washington, Harvard, Stanford, Gonzaga, San Diego, Vanderbilt, Tulsa

Aaron Brown (St. Benedict's) Newark, NJ 6-4
Harvard, Providence, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Marist

Jarrick Brown (Millbrook HS) Raleigh, NC 6-1/155

Columbia, Princeton

Rakeem Brookins (Roman Catholic HS) Philadelphia, PA 5-11
Brown, Penn, Boston U, Delaware, James Madison, VCU, Richmond, Niagara, Hampton

Mike Buffalo (Wings Academy) Bronx, NY 6-3
LIU, Harvard, Lehigh, Quinnipiac

Sandro Carissimo (Iona Preparatory School) New Rochelle, NY 6-2/170
Albany, Brown, Davidson, Harvard, Holy Cross, St. Francis (NY)

Wes Clark (Governor’s Academy) Byfield, MA 6-1/170

Notre Dame, UConn, West Virginia, Virginia, Bucknell, Navy, Richmond, Harvard, Quinnipiac


DeAngelo Davis (Beaverton HS) Beaverton, OR 6-1

Oregon State, Portland, San Francisco, EWU, Montana, Portland St, Pennsylvania


Tom Droney (Sewickley Academy) Sewickley, PA 6-5/185

Harvard, Davidson, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. Joseph's, Wake Forest, Virginia, Penn State, West Virginia


Justin Drummond (Mountain State Academy) Beckley, WV 6-1

Harvard, George Mason, Pepperdine


Daniel Edwards (Highland Park HS) Dallas, TX 6-9

Harvard, Princeton, William & Mary, SMU, Stanford, Tulane, Marquette, Colorado State, Wichita State, North Texas, Tulsa


Melvin Ejim (Brewster Academy) Wolfeboro, NH 6-6/205

Boston College, Iowa State, Providence, UNLV, Columbia, Harvard, Baylor


Rexton Gordon (St. Anthony's HS) Melville, NY 6-3/171

Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Lehigh, Pennsylvania

Ge'lawn Guyn (Scott County HS) Georgetown, KY 6-3/65

Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State, Miss. State, Penn State, UNC, South Carolina, Charlotte, Wake Forest, Xavier, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Dartmouth


Nolan Hart (Albany Academy) Albany NY 5-10/170

Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Colgate, Lehigh, Fairfield


Fred Heldring (New Trier Township HS) Winnetka, IL 6-10/210
Davidson, Harvard, Illinois, Lehigh, Northwestern, Santa Clara, Wisconsin

DJ Irving (Archbishop Carroll) Radnor, PA 5-10
Penn, Mt. St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Bucknell, Army, Vermont

Garrett Jackson (Westview HS) Portland, OR 6-6/190

Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Gonzaga, Portland, Rice, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Saint Mary’s, Dartmout, Portland State, Utah State


Jayson James (Paterson Catholic) Paterson, NJ 6-5/215

Brown, Princeton, Fordham, LaSalle, URI, Seton Hall, Xavier


Jeremy Jeffers (Greenfield School) Wilson, NC 6-5/180

Harvard, Bucknell, High Point, Western Carolina, Winthrop, William & Mary


Jeremiah Kreisberg (Head Royce HS) Oakland CA 6-9

Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, UC Davis, Yale, Princeton, San Francisco


Jose LaRoss Long (Bob Jones HS) Madison, AL 6-6/190

Harvard


Michael Leunen (Redmond HS) Redmond, OR 6-7

Stanford, Harvard


Frantz Massenat (Trenton Catholic) Trenton, NJ 6-3

Princeton, Fordham, Iona, LaSalle, Rider, Robert Morris


Averon "A.J." Mathews (Tallahassee C.C.) Tallahaseeee, FL 6-10

Dartmouth, Georgia State, LIU, Longwood, Rider


John McArthur (De LaSalle) Concord, CA 6-8 210

Cal, Stanford, Oregeon State, Notre Dame, Portland, Gonzaga, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Clara, Princeton, UCSB


Tyler McNeely (Blair Academy) Blairstown, NJ 6-7/210
Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Lafayette, Lehigh, Penn State, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale

Pat Moore (Notre Dame Junior Senior) Utica, NY 6-5/195

Brown, Colgate, Columbia, Fairfield, Fordham, Harvard, Jacksonville, Northeastern, Rhode Island, Siena

Wayne Newsom (Piscataway HS) Piscataway, NJ 6-7/217
Penn, Monmouth, Drexel, Rider, Fairfield, Iona, Stony Brook

Kevin Noreen (Transitions Charter) Minneapolis, MA 6-8 /195

Baylor, Butler, Gonzaga, Princeton, Northern Illinois, SMU, William & Mary. Wisconson-GB


Rod Odom (Middlesex School) Concord, MA 6-8/195

Arkansas, Boston College, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Massachusetts, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Stanford, West Virginia, Holy Cross, William & Mary, Columbia, Harvard, Pennsylvania


Kevin Panzer (Capistrano Valley HS) Mission Viejo, CA 6-8/185
Arizona State, California, Colorado, Gonzaga, Oregon State, Pennsylvania, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Stanford, Washington State

Drew Parker (La Porte HS) La Porte, TX 6-2

Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Iowa State, Kansas State, Brown


Eric Peterson (Boca Raton) Boca Raton, FL 6-3/170

Samford, EKU, Harvard


Chase Plummer (St. Patrick's) Elizabeth, NJ 6-5

Penn, Princeton, Brown, St. Joe's, La Salle, Robert Morris


Dwight Powell (IMG Academy of Brandeton FL), Ontario, Canada 6-8

Harvard, Stanford


Will Regan (Nicholls School) Buffalo, NY 6-8 220

Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Fordham, Georgetown, Maryland, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Oregon State, Penn St., St. John’s, Stanford, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Buffalo, Siena, Davidson, Harvard, William & Mary


Steve Rennard (St. Joseph HS) Metuchen, NJ 6-1/170

Brown, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Bucknell, Columbia, Davidson, Fordham, Holy Cross, La Salle, Lafayette, Lehigh, Massachusetts, Vermont, Yale


Maalik Reynolds (Westminster) Atlanta, GA 6-6/175

Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Lehigh, Lafayette, FAU, Temple


Matt Rista (St. Anthony's) Jersey City, NJ 6-1

Columbia, Harvard, Lehigh, Iona, Robert Morris, Quinnipiac


Travis Robinson (Friends) Abington, PA 6-4

Harvard, Drexel, Temple, LaSalle


Derek Schell (Catholic Memorial) Waukesha, WI

Lehigh, Princeton


Harold Spears (The Pennington School) Pennington, NJ 6-5/205
Brown, Bucknell, Drexel, Holy Cross, James Madison, Lafayette, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, Princeton

Steve Tecker (Northwestern HS) Maple, WI 6-5
Yale, Bucknell, Drake, Saint Louis, Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Wisc.-Green Bay

Alex Tiffin (Thousand Oaks HS) Thousand Oaks, CA 6-7/195

Holy Cross, San Diego, Boston Univ, Montana State, Pacific, Pennsylvania, UC Davis, UCSB


McCall Tomeny (University Lab School) Baton Rouge, LA 6-5/205

UConn, LSU, Miss. State, Oregon, Tulane, Xavier, La.-Lafayette, Princeton


Bruce Watson North Country CC, NY 6-8 260

Harvard, Yale, Toldeo, Dayton, Iowa


Brennan Wyatt (Dudley HS) Greensboro, NC 5-10/160

Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Harvard, UNC-Greensboro, Western Carolina

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Columbia Lands Point Guard

Pictured above, Cornell's Geoff Reeves throws down a slam on Columbia last season in Ithaca. Below, some breaking recruiting news in the Ivy League.

The Cornell Basketball Blog
received news that Columbia received another late verbal commitment. The Lions welcome Dean Kowalski of St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, N.J. Kowalski is a 5'9" point guard.

McMillan and Other Future Ivy Leaguers to Academic All American Classic

As we have previously reported, Cornell recruit, Peter McMillan (6'7" Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mass.) will participate in the Academic All-American Classic on May 9 in Ontario, California. Several future Ivy League players are expected to participate. Inside UCLA published extensive information about the event and the participants.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top Prospects to Attend Cornell Basketball Camp

The Cornell men’s basketball program and Head Coach Steve Donahue are offering The Cornell Basketball Prospect Camp from June 26-28 on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. This camp is intended for high school students in grades 9-12 and is recommended for players who are serious about potentially playing collegiate basketball at Cornell or at other institutions.

The Cornell Basketball Prospect Camp will provide basketball instruction by Cornell coaches and serves as an opportunity for high school prospects to gain invaluable exposure to the Cornell coaching staff.

Check the Cornell Basketball Prospect Camp website for more information.

Prospective high school players interested in playing basketball for Cornell should contact the Cornell coaching staff and not the editors of The Cornell Basketball Blog.

For a glimpse of Cornell Big Red Basketball, check out Cornell's 2008-2009 Season Highlights and Recruitment video (click here).

Recruiting News

Pictured above, a promotional poster from the 2003-2004 season. Below, some recruiting news...

A source informed The Cornell Basketball Blog that Dee Goens, a 6'0" guard from Marist High School in Atlanta, Georgia committed to Holy Cross last night. Goens received some recruitment attention from Cornell, but was reportedly heavily pursued by Harvard, as well as by Penn, Brown and Columbia. Goens turned down scholarships to Furman, Tulane, Murray State, and Georgia State during the winter in order to pursue an opportunity to play in either the Ivy Leauge or Patriot League.

Schedule Update: Pirates!

The Pirates Plank Blog hosted on NJ.com has picked up the news that Cornell will host Seton Hall during 2009-2010. Here is what Pirates Plank writes:
With next season's schedule months away from completion, the Ith[a]ca Journal is reporting Seton Hall will take to the road to play Cornell on November 20th. The game would be part of a home-and-home series with the Big Red, who have won the Ivy League for two consecutive years. The game gives the new core of Pirates the opportunity to play a decent opponent away from home, which is generally smiled upon by the NCAA Selection Committee, though the game does not give enough of an RPI benefit to make the risk worth it for most teams.

We expect this to be part of a larger trend. Two years ago, the NCAA changed the rules regarding pre-season college tournaments. Prior to the rule change, squads could only participate in two tournaments every four years. That was in place to prevent the same schools (i.e. Duke) from gaining an advantage by being invited to a tournament every year while others were shut out. Even though a team plays three games in these tournaments, they only count as one game against scheduling allowances. Under the rule change, teams are allowed to play in tournaments every year, which led to Seton Hall's participation in the Holiday Tournament hosted by BYU in 2007, and the Puerto Rico Shootout in 2008.

The new rule puts schools like Seton Hall in a bind. The Athletics Department now needs to schedule two more games than in prior years to avoid putting men's basketball at a disadvantage come selection time. However, the stable of willing opponents remains unchanged, leading to higher financial demands for a school such as Cornell to come to South Orange and take a beating. Hence, the home-and-home series allow the Hall to schedule home games without making the payoff.

Losing at Cornell would be a serious setback, and from a basketball perspective, we do not like the risk. However, the Athletics Dept is working with the situation presented to them, and it is Gonzo's job to ensure the team is ready for an early season test.

Is Cornell-Penn Basketball a Rivalry?

The Daily Pennsylvanian is asking its readers who is Penn's biggest rival in sports. We here at The Cornell Basketball Blog previously suggested that Cornell-Penn is a good basketball rivalry. But our friends from West Philly disagreed.

Here is what the D.P. writes today:
...Considering the men’s basketball hasn’t played a truly meaningful game against Princeton since 2004, that rivalry certainly isn’t at its height. Penn-Cornell has fast become a more important rivalry as Cornell has won the last two M. Hoops Ivy titles. In football, Penn-Cornell historically was a huge game, one that nearly rivaled (no pun intended) Harvard-Yale.

So I ask you, which of the following rivalries is the biggest currently at Penn:

  • Penn-Cornell Football
  • Penn-Cornell Basketball
  • Penn-Northwestern W. Lax
  • Penn-Princeton Basketball
  • Any other one you can think of?

Recruiting News

The Cleveland Plain Dealer published the news of Daylen Harrison's commitment to Wyoming over Cornell. An excellent student, Harrison carries a 4.0 grade-point average and a 30 on the ACT. He averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds per game this season for Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

The Plain Dealer notes that Harrison only visited Cornell and Wyoming despite holding offers from Air Force, Butler, Ball State, and Columbia.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recruiting News: High Rankings for Incoming Cornell Recruits

Rick Bolus' High Potential Basketball Recruiting Service recently published its final rankings of collegiate basketball prospects in Tennessee and Indiana for the class of 2009.

In Bolus' Tennessee rankings, he placed Cornell recruit, 6'1" Miles Asafo-Adjei (pictured above) in the Top Twelve.

In Bolus' Indiana rankings, he placed Cornell recruit, 6'6" Errick Peck in the Second Twelve.

Alumni News: ESPN's Doug Gotlieb Says Ka'ron Barnes ('04) is ESPN's Top Baller

The following is an excerpt from Doug Gotlieb's chat session on April 21, 2009 on ESPN:
Allen (Lexington, KY): If there is an ESPN basketball pickup game draft (excluding former pros) - who goes first?

SportsNation Doug Gottlieb: I think Mike Bucklin -- Buck is Izzo's nephew. He's in great shape, great mid-range game, knows how to play. There's also a kid named Jason Roberts who went to KU -- he's another guy who's a pick-up game warrior. The best former D1 player who has a PA job here is Karon Barnes. He was Cornell's leading scorer a couple of years ago. He's pretty good. Charlie Villanueva's brother, Rob. Of the on air guys, I think Russillo might be my first pick. He's kind of a bruiser, can play inside and out, knows his limitations. Plus, he grew up on the tough streets of Martha's Vineyard.

Schedule Update: Big Red to Ball with The Hall

In case you missed the news last weekend.... the Big Red have another opponent on the 2009-2010 schedule.

Cornell Basketball Recruiting Video

SlopeTV, working in conjunction with Cornell Athletics, the Cornell Men's Basketball program and other supporters of Cornell Big Red Basketball, present the official 2008-2009 Season Highlights and Recruiting Video.

video




Peck Expands Game for Ivy League

Cornell recruit, Errick Peck, a 6'6" forward from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis may be the best incoming recruit in the Ivy League next season. But even more important, he may also have the biggest upside of any of the newcomers.

While in high school, Peck played exclusively in the paint as a power forward or center. At 6'6'" -- high major college programs, notably Purdue, Indiana and Penn State, took notice and loved his athleticism and blue collar work ethic on defense and on the glass. Often referred to as a "tweener"-- these schools never made scholarship offers because they believed he was too short to play inside the paint in the Big 10 and had not yet proven he was capable of playing on the perimeter as a small forward.

Nevertheless, Peck is big and strong enough to play inside at a mid-major program and could be just pure dominating in the Ivy League. Not surprisingly, Peck had more than a dozen scholarship offers from very strong mid-major programs such as Butler, Missouri State, Kent State, Cleveland State, Akron, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Colorado State, among others.

In recent weeks, some observers have taken notice that Peck is working hard on expanding his perimeter offensive skills, which could make him even more formidable next season on a loaded Cornell rosters.

Below is an excerpt from an article in today's Indianapolis Star. For some video highlights of Peck, click here.

Peck expands game for next level

Kyle Neddenriep
Indianapolis Star
April 27, 2009

Not to put too much stock into all-star game, where defense is just a good idea, but the transformation of Errick Peck's game is worth nothing.

The 6-6 Cathedral senior was primarily an interior presence for the Irish. Teams would generally leave him open from the outside, and most of the time, he would pass up those shots. Not anymore.

On Saturday at the Eric Gordon Super Shootout City-County Game, Peck hit four 3-pointes and played more like a guard than a power forward. Peck, who is an Indianapolis Star Indiana All-Star, slashed to the basket on the dribble and didn't hesitate to shoot from the perimeter. He finished with 22 points.

Since the end of the season, Peck said he's been working on ballhandling and shooting. Headed to Cornell, Peck is eager to prove college coaches wrong who questioned his ability to play facing the basket.

"A lot of it has to do with confidence," he said. "I know I can expand my game."

Recruiting News: Forward Chooses Wyoming Over Cornell

Several months ago Cornell offered Daylen Harrison, a 6'6" forward from Akron, Ohio's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (SVSM), the alma mater of LeBron James. In addition to Cornell, Harrison also held early offers from Columbia and Air Force. After some impressive late season play, Butler and Ball State also jumped into the mix and made offers. Still, Harrison opted not to commit to a school and decided to wait out the process.

But after some stellar play in the state playoffs he received a late scholarship offer just two weeks ago from the University of Wyoming. Harrison quickly arranged a flight to Laramie, visited the campus and subsequently committed.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported his commitment today.

Harrison's commitment to the Cowboys, along with Ned Cox's earlier signing this week with Evansville, will likely result in the closing off of Cornell's 2009-2010 recruitment class.

Ryan Wittman in Ithaca All Stars Finals

Ryan Wittman has advanced to WVBR Radio's Ithaca Area All-Stars Finals!

Forget the fact that Wittman has a second bedroom just to find enough space for all of his honors and awards from his highly decorated career. This WVBR Ithaca All Star championship is the honor he really wants to win.

Recruiting News

We've received some correspondence recently from readers seeking information about Cornell's incoming recruits.

Bios of each of Cornell's incoming 2009-2010 recruits (and a list of recruiting targets for the future) can be found by clicking here or taking the link on the right column of the Blog.

Unofficially, Cornell has seven new players joining the active roster for 2009-2010. The include the following:

Mark Coury 6-9 red-shirt senior (transfer from Kentucky)
Max Groebe 6-4 red-shirt junior (transfer from UMass)
Errick Peck 6-6 freshman Indianapolis, Indiana
Miles Asafo-Adjei 6-1 Nashville, Tennessee
Josh Figini 6-8 freshman Chisago Lakes, Minnesota
Eitan Chemerinski 6-8 freshman Rockville, Maryland
Peter McMillan 6-7 freshman Los Angeles, California

Including these seven new recruits, the roster for 2009-2010 is expected to have 20 players, 9 of which are seniors in their final year of eligibility.

In addition to the above, there have been several reports of potential walk-on freshman, including Alex Fieldcamp and Trace Cureton (Indianapolis, Indiana).

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League, More on Penn's Town Hall Meeting

The Daily Pennsylvanian has extensive coverage today of Penn's town hall meeting.

Frankly speaking, there was absolutely nothing shared with the audience by the Penn coaching staff or the athletic department that most insiders in the Ivy League already knew about Penn basketball.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League, Meet Glen Miller Day (UPDATED 3:27 P.M.)

Penn is hosting its emergency town hall meeting today with Quakers' head basketball coach, Glen Miller (pictured above). Miller will likely address (at least indiretly) Cornell's back-to-back Ivy League championships and Penn's inability to play competitively within the league in recent seasons.

We personally have nothing against Glen Miller. Others do. However, it should be noted that Miller never won an Ivy League title with players that he recruited. Sure, during his first season with Penn in 2006-2007, his Quaker team rolled to an Ivy title, but Penn did so entirely with an inherited roster of players recruited entirely by Fran Dunphy, Miller's predecessor.

During Miller's second season with Penn, Cornell turned the Ivy League upside down with the Big Red cruising to the 2007-2008 Ivy title with a 14-0 record. A dejected Miller declared to the Philadelphia media, "We have better days ahead. Our opponents in the Ivy League are enjoying it. It won't last long...We'll continue to battle, as hard as we can, the rest of the season. We wear Penn across our jerseys. We'll get back to where we always want to be. Real quick. Quicker than a lot of people think."

Notwithstanding Miller's condescending comments and reference to a proud history of Penn basketball, which as a matter of fact, he had no part in building, Cornell repeated its Ivy League Championship during the 2008-2009 season. Meanwhile, Penn continued to struggle and lose players from its program. One departing player said, "Glen Miller, I just didn't feel like he was the coach for me. That kind of started it."

Is 2009-2010 Penn's year to return to prominence? We shall see. But for now, we are sure this Penn program is getting a good dosage of Big Red humility.

****

For a review and summary of the town hall meeting at Penn, visit the blog, Fire Glen Miller.

Peck Showcases Perimeter Skills in City-County All-Star Game

On Saturday at the Eric Gordon Super Shootout City-County All-Star Game, Cornell recruit, 6'6" Errick Peck teamed up with two of his high school teammates from Cathedral High School, Kelsey Barlow (Purdue commitment) and Jordan Hamilton (uncommitted) to lead the City All Stars to a dominating 128-77 win. Peck told the Indianapolis Star, "I'm going to miss playing with them a lot. I've been playing with them the last eight or nine years, so it was a lot of fun to get out there again."

The Indy Star noted that Peck, who was selected to the Indianapolis Star Indiana All-Star team, showed a much different game than during the high school season, when he played primarily around the basket. Most of his points Saturday in the All-Star game came either driving to the basket or from the perimeter.

"A lot of college coaches said my flaw was handling the ball and shooting from the perimeter," said Peck, who hit four 3-pointers. "That's all I've been working on from the end of the season to now. I'm going to get better as it goes, but (Saturday) I was feeling it pretty good."

Peck won the All-Star game's slam dunk contest.

In case you are keeping count... Peck was invited to four All-Star games this season. In addition to yesterday's Eric Gordon Super Shootout City-County All-Star Game, he was also invited to play in last week's Andre Owens vs. George Hill City-County game. Peck also played in the Indiana North-South All-Star game and is scheduled to play with the Indiana All-Stars next month in the Indiana-Kentucky All Star Series.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Newman Arena Hosts Seton Hall, St. Joseph's...

(click picture for larger image)

The last time Cornell hosted a school from a BCS conference was Georgia Tech on November 23, 2003, when 4,762 fans packed Newman Arena. The wait is now over.

During 2008-2009, an improved home schedule will feature Cornell hosting Seton Hall of the Big East Conference as well as St. Joseph's of the Atlantic 10. Cornell is also expected to have road games this season with Kansas (the likely preseason #1 team in the nation), Syracuse, Alabama and La Salle among others. The Big Red will also face Bryant, South Dakota and Boston University again.

All Star Game Today for Errick Peck, NBA's Eric Gordon to Attend

According to the Indianapolis Star, Cornell recruit, Errick Peck will participate today in the Eric Gordon Super Shootout City-County All-Star Game. Gordon, the former Indiana Hoosier who recently completed his rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers, will be in attendance.

Recruiting News

In recruiting news, according to the Indianapolis Star, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Western Michigan, Army, Navy and Air Force, are all recruiting Chris Welker, a 6'5" class of 2010 forward from Zionsville High School in Indiana.

Additionally, we've added some information to our transfer list and as always...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Schedule Update: The Big East Comes to Newman Arena!

Add Seton Hall to the 2009-2010 schedule. Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal broke the news that Cornell will host Seton Hall during November and visit the Pirates the following season. Other likely opponents for 2009-2010 include@ Kansas, St. Joseph's (Home), @ La Salle, @ Boston U., Bryant (Home), @ South Dakota, @ Syracuse and @ Alabama.


By Brian Delaney
The Ithaca Journal
April 24, 2009

ITHACA -- For the second time this decade, Steve Donahue has scheduled a home game with a major nonconference opponent.

On Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, the two-time defending Ivy League men's basketball champion Big Red will host Big East Conference member Seton Hall at Newman Arena. Cornell will make a return trip to South Orange, N.J., in the 2010-11 season.

"I think it's great," Donahue said. "You get a Big East opponent to play a straight-up home-and-home with you, it's great. It's great for our fans; it's a great opportunity for us to play a team of that caliber on our home court. They're a very good team, it'll be a hard game, and I think this team is ready for that."

Seton Hall's 2008-09 season ended at the hands of Syracuse in the second round of the Big East tournament. The Pirates, under second-year coach Bobby Gonzalez, finished the year 17-15 and did not make a postseason tournament.

Cornell has won 21 straight games at Newman Arena.

Cornell hosted Atlantic Coast Conference member Georgia Tech in front of a sold-out crowd on Nov. 23, 2003. The Yellowjackets won, 90-69.

Columbia Secures Another Late Commitment

After struggling to land recruits throughout much of the year, Columbia has made a very late push for verbal commitments. Last week, Columbia received a late commitment from forward John Daniels and also made another pick-up today with the verbal of 6'3" California guard, Brian Barbour after he visited the campus last weekend. Columbia's recruiting class now consists of six players, including four high school seniors and two Division I transfers.

Celebration in Downtown Ithaca Saturday for Cornell Basketball

From the Ithaca Journal:
At 1 p.m., the City of Ithaca will celebrate the accomplishments of the Cornell men's varsity and Ithaca High School boys junior varsity basketball teams with a proclamation from Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson. The Cornell team went to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, while the IHS team won the Southern Tier Athletic Conference Championship. The Cornell team will also shoot hoops and play basketball skill games with children. A basketball hoop will be set up on The Commons and all kids are invited to participate.

The Cornell Big Red Marching Band will make its annual visit to downtown and parade on The Commons from 3-3:30 p.m.

Cornell Men's Basketball To Be Honored By City Of Ithaca On Saturday


ITHACA, N.Y. -- After a second straight Ivy League title and NCAA tournament appearance, the Cornell men's basketball team will be honored by the City of Ithaca on Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. on the Downtown Ithaca Commons. A proclamation from Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson will be presented and the Cornell team will also shoot hoops and play basketball skill games with area children. A basketball hoop will be set up on the Commons and all kids are invited to participate. Along with the Cornell team, the Ithaca High School junior varsity team will also be honored after winning the Southern Tier Athletic Conference Championship.

Recruiting News: One that Got Away from Us....

Although his name was not splashed around here on The Cornell Basketball Blog (yes, we sometimes keep recruiting names off the Blog), make no mistake about it, Cornell really wanted San Antonio's Ned Cox. Unfortunately, the explosive 6'1" guard opted to take a scholarship to Evansville. Below is an excerpt from an article appearing in the Evansville Courier Press, the first public announcement of Cox's recruitment by Cornell and commitment to Evansville.

Small but spectacular

Go to youtube.com, the popular Internet site with video on any and everything.

Type in the name of Ned Cox, the latest recruit for the University of Evansville men's basketball team. Next, click on the picture next to the tagline that reads: "Judson senior Ned Cox dunks through legs."

Then, in all of four seconds, you can see the 6-foot-1 guard from San Antonio, Texas, bounce the ball in front of him, take three dribbles, windmill and dunk furiously.

There's also a longer video below it — "Judson Rockets Warmups" — that features Cox's entire team dunking in warmups during their 36-2 season. Cox is No. 22.

Cox laughed when a caller mentioned his YouTube celebrity on Thursday, saying dunking was a small part of a total game that helped him average 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals.

"I actually got most of my points working off the ball," said Cox, a 40 percent shooter on 3-pointers. "That's one of the things that made Evansville attractive. I'm going to like playing in their motion offense.

"The coaches there told me they're leaning on making me a point guard, but they said they'll also play me off the ball. In high school, we played three guards and it was just whoever got it took it up the floor. But at the end of the game, I got the ball."

UE coach Marty Simmons said Cox was just another player who will help the Aces reach their goal of being faster, more athletic and more dangerous offensively.

"Ned brings speed, quickness and extreme athleticism," said Simmons. "He can really get off the floor, but he's also a great kid and student who had a lot of other options."

Cox, who will major in business finance, said other schools recruiting him included the Air Force Academy, Cornell, North Texas and Furman. UE won out, though.

"I pretty much just loved everything about the University of Evansville," said Cox. "The campus was very nice, and I really liked the way the coaches and players interacted with each other. I think I'll fit right in."

Also on the signing from TexasHoops.com:
"I signed with them yesterday [Wednesday] when I got back from my visit," said Cox, a 6-1, 170-pound senior guard. "I talked to my parents, and I thought it was the right fit for me. It's been a long process, but I wanted to take it slow and use all of my options."

Cox became the sixth recruit to sign with the Purple Aces this season. He chose Evansville over Furman, Air Force, Cornell and North Texas.
Additionally from the Evansville Courier Press:
Cox joins a UE program that went 17-14 this past season and finished fifth in the 10-team Missouri Valley Conference.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Both The Dartmouth and the Brown Daily Herald have articles recapping their respective basketball seasons.

A Date in Cornell Basketball History: Boys to Men, A Glance Back at Preseason '06-'07

Pictured above, Cornell's freshmen class of the 2006-2007 season (with the '06-'07 media guide insert). The once baby-faced rookies are now Cornell's senior leaders of the '09-'10 season. Below, we go back in time yet again. Blue Ribbon Yearbook's preview of the Big Red heading into the 2006-2007 season.

Blue Ribbon Yearbook (2006-2007) Cornell

COACH AND PROGRAM

One man who averaged just more than a basket per game was responsible for Cornell's greatest victory of the 2005-06 season. No box score of the win exists, but everyone in Ithaca knows what happened.

Last Jan. 24, during a rebounding drill in practice, Big Red sophomore Khaliq Gant collided awkwardly with two other teammates and lay paralyzed on the Newman Arena floor.

Gant suffered a 50-percent dislocation of his C-4 and C-5 vertebrae. Bone from his hip was used to fuse together the two vertebrae. Initial diagnoses set the timetable for his ability to walk again anywhere from two months to never.

But after an extensive rehabilitation stint at Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, close to his Norcross, Ga., residence, Gant has resumed a normal collegian's life once thought forever out of his reach. He may never play basketball again, but he will make his own way to Newman to watch the Big Red try to better last year's third-place Ivy League finish.

"He's doing unbelievable," Cornell head coach Steve Donahue said last August. "He made a miraculous recovery, in all honesty. He's walking around campus now on his own. He's a resident assistant -- back to his old job. He's as much a part of this campus as a normal student would be."

No one, least of all Donahue, can say whether the Big Red's four-game winning streak after Grant was hurt was attributable to a fallen comrade. But Cornell's second straight 8-6 league mark was another wiggle of toes for a program that won only nine Ivy games total in Donahue's first three seasons in Ithaca.

Asked if Gant's injury impacted the Big Red either way, Donahue said, "At that time, it was hard to look at it in that way. But glancing back I was proud of everything our guys did from that moment on -- not just on the court but how they held up off the court and dealt with this tragedy that was around them."

PLAYERS

For the Big Red to cordon off another top-three space in the Ivy this year, successful rehabilitation will again be a huge factor. Not Gant's, as inspirational as that has been, but the bounce-back of veterans Graham Dow (4.8 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.6 rpg) and Jason Hartford (7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 55.5 FG).

Dow, a 6-0 senior point guard from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, has been sandbagged at the conclusion of each of the last two seasons with a sports hernia. He has started each year medically stable but begins deteriorating in December, to the point where he can't practice regularly.

This off-season, Dow finally relented to an operation performed by Dr. William Meyers, the same physician who fixed the same affliction for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Presupposing a complete recovery, Dow is one of Cornell's best defenders and pilots the offense with precision.

"He was so effective for us at the point-guard spot," Donahue said. "He made us such a better team when he was healthy, and now the exciting thing is he's going to be healthy for all 28 games."

Hartford, a 6-9 senior and junior college transfer from Chemeteka Community College in Oregon, has had Code Red luck with the Big Red thus far. He suffered a broken wrist in the second game of last season against Syracuse, recovering in time to break the navicular bone in his foot late in the Ivy schedule. The foot didn't heal properly, so a pin was inserted on June 13.

Donahue predicts Hartford will be jogging by mid-October and, crossing fingers, competing by mid-November.

"He's a key part of our team," Donahue said. "He's a junior college guy that came in last year and helped us. He's extremely fit now. He's really worked on his body in the weight room, and I'm confident that we'll have something we haven't had -- two bigs in there with Andrew Naeve and him together."

Indeed, the Big Red's frontcourt is much more formidable if both Hartford and Naeve (6.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg) are patrolling the paint. A 6-9 senior from Iowa, Naeve is the second-best rebounder and top shot blocker returning to the Ivy League.

Running shotgun to Dow in the backcourt is Ivy League Rookie of the Year and leading scorer Adam Gore (12.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, .419 3PT), a 6-0 sophomore who sent an omen to the league with 22 points against Syracuse last November.

A tenacious three-point shooter who set a school record with 83 triples in 2005-06, Gore must broaden his horizons to advance the Big Red's cause.

"Obviously we were very pleased with what he did last year, but that's the easy part," Donahue said. "The hard part is, where do we go from here?

"He can continue to do things off the dribble ... to be a playmaker and not just a shot-maker. And I think he did that very well in the spring. He's a gym rat; his best quality is he's as tough a competitor as I've ever coached."

The obvious missing link to Cornell's starting five -- given Hartford's timely return -- is the vacancy left at the three spot by graduate Lenny Collins, the first Big Red player ever to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists.

A prime candidate is 6-7 sophomore Brian Kreefer (3.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg), who ripped Harvard for 14 points and nine rebounds in the next-to-last game of last season.

"He can come in and push for a starting spot even if Jason is healthy," Donahue said. "That's how good he played at the end of last year."

Two others who want a say in that are 6-4 sophomore Jason Battle (1.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg) and 6-5 senior Ugo Ihekweazu (2.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg). Both saw action in 20-plus games last season; Ihekweazu earned two starts.

Six-foot-eight senior Jason Mitchell (eight points in 12 appearances) and 6-5 sophomore Conor Mullen (six points in nine appearances) will try to exert influence in the frontcourt, although that will be difficult with the arrival of one of Donahue's best recruiting classes.

The six-man class of 2010 features 6-6 guard Ryan Wittman (20.3 ppg, .500 3PT at Eden Prairie High), a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Basketball award and the son of former NBA guard Randy Wittman.

Another prolific scorer is 6-5 forward Geoff Reeves (23.6 ppg at Burlington High in Kansas), a first-team all-state pick by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. Either Wittman or Reeves has a shot at the small forward slot vacated by Collins.

Donahue also secured the services of 5-11 Louis Dale III (16.0 ppg, 8.0 apg, 7.0 rpg at Altamont High in Birmingham), an athletic backup to Dow at the point.

Three forwards -- 6-8 Pete Reynolds (17.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg at Blair High in Nebraska), 6-7 Jon Jaques (13.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles) and 6-7 Alex Tyler (14.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg at Mercersburg Academy in Maryland) -- round out the class.

BLUE RIBBON ANALYSIS

BACKCOURT: B+
BENCH/DEPTH: B
FRONTCOURT: B-
INTANGIBLES: A-

With Collins, Dow and since-graduated forward Ryan Rourke footing the bill, the table was theoretically set for a Big Red One finish last season.

That didn't materialize, partly because of the injuries to Dow and Hartford and partly because Cornell suffered two baffling home-court losses -- 58-57 to Columbia and 69-64 to Brown.

If the Big Red finds a jack-of-all-trades like Collins among its freshman class, those hideous losses won't occur in 2006-07. A Dow that isn't saying "Ow!" is worth a lot, and Naeve and Hartford in the paint opens up shots for Gore the sniper. The question is whether Kreefer, Battle and/or Iwekheazu are ready for prime time.

Suffice it to say that the reconstruction of Cornell basketball has reached the stage where 8-6 won't cut it anymore. Nudging the Ps -- Penn and Princeton -- from the Ivy perch is the only progress that counts now, a far cry from the standards Donahue set in Ithaca six seasons ago.

"We came in second two years ago. We came in third last year. We've put some steady runs together," Donahue said. "Like everyone else, our goal is to win the championship.

"I think we've changed the culture of Cornell basketball. Now we've got to take another step. Can we do it? I don't know. We're going to try everything we can to make it happen."

Recruiting News

Pictured above, Cornell's Alex Tyler in action against Missouri in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Below, some recruiting news around the Ivy League...

First, we should mention that we will be updating daily our transfer list, so be sure to keep checking it out.

In commitment news, The Shorthorn reports that UT-Arlington signed Cameron Catlett, a 6'3" guard from San Antonio. According to some published reports, Catlett chose UTA over Santa Clara, Colorado State, Utah State and Cornell.

Rivals.com now lists class of 2010's Julian Boatner, a 6'0" 165 lb. guard from Bloomington North High School in Bloomington, Indiana on Cornell's radar screen. Boatner already has an offer from Navy and lists his other college suitors to include Rice, William & Mary, Wright State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky and Princeton. He reportedly has a 3.9 GPA.

Scout.com is reporting St. Joseph's of Metuchen, N.J. guard, Steve Rennard has received his second scholarship offer. This week Vermont made the offer after he received an offer from Iona earlier this spring. Other schools showing interest according to Scout.com are Fordham, St. Francis of New York, Stony Brook, St. Francis of PA, Holy Cross, LaSalle, Davidson, Lafayette, Princeton, Brown, Penn, Lehigh, and Bucknell. Cornell was previously listed, but has not been mentioned recently.

ChicagoHoops.com reports that former teammate of Cornell's Chris Wroblewski, Josh Bartlestein, a 6'4" guard from Highland Park, Illinois and Phillips Exeter Academy just completed college visits to San Diego and Wagner. Bartlestein also holds offers from Sacramento State, UIC, and Elon. He is a member of the class of 2009, but was not recruited by Cornell according to sources close to the situation.

Cornell Basketball in the News

The SportsXChangeg reports that the St. John's November win over Cornell in Preseason NIT was the Red Storm's best nonconference win of the 2008-2009 season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Date in Cornell Basketball History: A Glance Back at Preseason '03-'04

Pictured above, Ka'ron Barnes ('04). Below, we go back in time just a bit. Blue Ribbon Yearbook's preview of Cornell heading into the 2003-2004 season.

Blue Ribbon Yearbook (2003-2004) Cornell

No Ivy League team has won less games in the last six years than Cornell's 42. Actually, no one is really all that close, with Dartmouth and Colombia having 48 each. In Steve Donahue's three seasons as coach, the Big Red hasn't even cracked double digits, with last season's nine wins being the most.

However, that should all change this winter, and by no means will it be a one-year fluke. By design, Donahue rebuilt this program with three consecutive recruiting classes considered among the league's best and finally, after allowing the underclassmen to develop, it's time.

The scary thing is Cornell has just one senior this season. However, as good as it could be next season and the season after, this could be its best shot of capturing the league's first outright Ivy League won by a team other than Penn or Princeton since 1988, when Cornell played in the NCAA Tournament.

There are two reasons for this optimism: First, senior 6-0 guard Ka'ron Barnes (14.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 1.6 spg), is the league's returning leading scorer and is among a short list of favorites for Ivy League Player of the Year. Second, the league is more balanced than any season in recent memory.

"I've been in this league for 14 years, 10 as an assistant at Penn before coming here and this is the first year where it's not Penn or Princeton," Donahue said. "It really is open, and we expect a lot of things, a lot of big things from this team. We're in good shape and no question, I'm excited for the opportunity to challenge for the league title.

"It can be a reality this season. We've put it on our board, we're going for the NCAA Tournament and that's a realistic goal for us."

Barnes, who isn't a true point guard but finally relented last season, spent the summer working out in Philadelphia with numerous NBA and big-time Division I players, and more than held his own. In Cornell's early summer trip to Australia, where it won three of its four games, Barnes dominated, leading all players in scoring three times.

"To me, he's a notch above all other guards in the league, he does so much for us," Donahue said. "This summer, his shooting improved, along with his defense, which was already great, and if he cuts down a little on his turnovers, there's not much else."

A year ago Barnes averaged 2.5 turnovers per game, mainly from trying to do too much, too often. This season, especially after the bonding experience of Australia, Donahue expects his point guard to trust his teammates more, which should cut down on turnovers.

Junior Cody Toppert (9.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg), 6-4, joins Barnes in the backcourt and is among the league's top returning shooting guards. Last year's Ivy Rookie of the Year, 6-6 sophomore Lenny Collins (8.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg) splits time at guard and forward.

"Cody has started every game for me here, and no one plays harder," Donahue said. "Now that the league is younger and he's older, he'll have some real monster games this season. And Collins, he can defend anyone, 6-foot-9 post players to shooting guards, and he's our best all-around player, no doubt about it."

Sophomore 6-4 guard David Lisle (4.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and juniors A.J. Castro (1.9 ppg), 5-9, and 6-5 Steve Cobb (1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg) should also see minutes in the backcourt. Freshman Graham Dow, 5-10, averaged 24 points and 11 assists for Nelson Lords High in Toronto and could see a few minutes at point guard.

Eric Taylor (12.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 bpg, 1.0 spg), a 6-7 junior and potential first team All-Ivy player, shot 56 percent from the field last season, but an abysmal 43 percent from the foul line. He spent the off-season trying to change his technique and finished the Australia trip at 70 percent.

"There may have never been a lower free-throw shooter in the history of this league than Eric last year," Donahue said. "Teams just started fouling him on purpose, it was a dramatic thing for him. But he worked a considerable amount this season and there's no doubt, that he's the best low-post scorer in the league. He gained another 20 pounds of muscle this off-season."

"No one will be able to defend him in our league."

Junior forward Gabe Stephenson (2.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg) is expected to be the fifth starter after battling numerous injuries the last two seasons. On the Australia trip, the 6-9, 240-pounder led the team in rebounds with almost 10 per game and although he will not score a lot, post defense and rebounding is all Donahue's expecting from him. However, he can run the floor and finish on the break when needed.

Grant Harrell (4.3 ppg), a 6-6 junior forward, has started in the past and will see valuable minutes in the post. A trio of 6-9 freshmen could provide added depth, Jason Mitchell (17.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg at Saluda High, S.C.), Andrew Naeve (18.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 5.0 bpg at East Central High in Miles, Iowa) and Dane Williams (10.0 ppg, 5.0 bpg at Columbus, Ga.).

Blue Ribbon Analysis

"Yale, Princeton, Penn have very good teams and so do we," Donahue said. "I believe Barnes will be the best player on the floor and we're real excited about our prospects."

"On the Australia trip we got to know each other, and now, we can look each other in the eye and mean it. We relaxed around each other, as players and coaches. It's a different feeling around here and we're ready."

There is no reason Cornell shouldn't have its best season since 1987-88 when it won the Ivy League crown and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. That was the last time an Ivy team, besides Penn and Princeton, played in the Big Dance. At the very least, it would be a stunner if Cornell didn't register its first winning season since 1997.

Besides returning its top nine scorers, the Big Red has a potential Ivy Player of the Year in senior guard Barnes and reigning Ivy Rookie-of-the-Year Collins. However, junior Taylor could be the focal point and with improved free-throw shooting, he could be the league's most dominant forward.

Four years ago, Donahue inherited the program and focused upon this season as becoming a contender. Now, with the pieces in place and the league as balanced as ever, Donahue and company have set their goals high: Winning the Ivy and returning to the NCAA Tournament.

However, a top half finish and winning record would also be cause for celebration in Ithaca and appears more realistic.