Friday, July 31, 2009

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League [updated 3:39 pm]


Below, some news and notes around the Ivy League.

The Daily Pennsylvanian updates its readers on the summer workouts of the Penn Quakers.

In scheduling news, Yale becomes the third Ivy school to release its schedule for 2009-2010. Brown and Princeton previously released their schedules earlier this month. While the Bulldogs schedule is not exactly soft, it is not all that challenging either. Yale will face UConn in the Preseason NIT with the other highlight games coming in the form of visits to Providence, Colorado and Colorado State.

The Yale schedule looks somewhat soft in comparison to Cornell's, which is projected to include games at Syracuse, Kansas, Alabama, La Salle, and UMass and home games versus Seton Hall and St. Joseph's. Cornell will also face Davidson in Madison Square Garden in December (and possibly St. John's in a second game in the Garden).

Mark Gilbride, an assistant coach at Yale was named the new head coach at Clarkson University.

Andy Katz of ESPN reports that Mississippi State, Siena and Seton Hall all need one more game for their 2009-2010 schedules. Cornell wanted to host Siena this season, but the Saints declined. Cornell will host Seton Hall on November 20.

Penn's coach Glen Miller announced on his Twitter page that the Quaker coaching staff will have watched their 20th day of basketball in July today - almost 600 games in 14 different cities. Now that is impressive.

Interview with Kathy Orton and Her 2005-2006 Season with the Big Red

Above, Lenny Collins ('06), the captain of the 2005-2006 Big Red. Collins was a 2006 Third Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. He earned All-Ivy honors twice in his career. A first-team All-Ivy pick as a junior during 2004-2005, Collins was a second-team pick as a senior in 2005-2006. Below, in anticipation of Kathy Orton's new book on Ivy League basketball, set for publication during November 2009, we post an archived interview with Orton from the Cornell Daily Sun. Orton followed Cornell during the 2005-2006 season.

Orton Chronicles Ivy M. Basketball

Cornell Daily Sun
May 2, 2006

After bumping into Kathy Orton of The Washington Post at basketball games all winter as she did the legwork for her upcoming book on men's basketball in the Ivy League, The Sun asked her to share some of her insights from the "14-game tournament" that is a basketball season in the Ancient Eight. Today, she shares insights and reflects on this past season - including why she thought Cornell would win the league championship. Tomorrow, Orton predicts the future of the conference and college basketball in general

The Sun: What is it about Ivy League men's basketball that is so unique you were inspired to write a whole book about it?

Kathy Orton: Well, I think it's so different than the rest of Division I basketball. I know there are some very obvious things that make it different [like] not having a postseason, conference tournament, not having scholarships - if you ask coaches, that's one of the biggest things that makes it different from the rest of Division I basketball. But I think there are things that people don't really consider, and that's the Friday-Saturday scheduling … how the student-athletes have to really balance their education and their academics along with their athletics and sort of what that all entails, especially being at a very competitive school like an Ivy League school as well as participating in Division I basketball.

The Sun: Which Ivy League team did you have the most fun watching? Which player stood out after the season was over?

Kathy Orton: That's a tough question, because the one thing I didn't really fully appreciate until I went through the season was how important every single game was. … They like to use that phrase, "14-game tournament" and it really is a six-week, 14-game tournament where every game feels like it's the most important game, and there were so many really competitive, exciting games. I can think of that Cornell-Harvard game, there was the Cornell-Princeton game, those are two that just immediately come to mind. As far as players, I can think of Adam Gore at Syracuse having that great game as a freshman in the Dome, I thought that was impressive. I can think of Scottie Greenman hitting that amazing shot in the overtime, the two he made in the overtimes against Cornell at Cornell. … I know [Penn's Ibrahim] Jaaber was the Ivy League Player of the Year and certainly I saw countless great performances by Ibby, but I think that would be sort of a disservice to the other kids because I saw a lot of great performances from a lot of different kids throughout the season, and it's like asking someone to pick their favorite child, you know? Because they each had something really special, I thought, in all of them.

The Sun: You first saw Cornell play in its second game of the season, a 67-62 loss against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. What was your first impression of Cornell and how did that change throughout the season?

Kathy Orton: I thought, "these guys are fabulous, they're going to win the league," after I saw them the first time. … I was really impressed with how well they had played. That's why I think Cornell really surprised me this year, in that I was never quite sure which Cornell team would show up. So many times they were so phenomenally talented and great, and then sometimes they just looked like they weren't the same guys wearing the jerseys. And I talked to them about this … and I don't know if they were ever able to put a finger on why that would happen. But it was interesting to watch that sort of phenomenon, where it was almost like there were two different Cornell teams. And certainly after [sophomore] Khaliq [Gant's] injury, the way they responded at Columbia was just an amazing performance. I'll always remember that game and the emotion that went into that game because that was really pretty spectacular, the way they were able to win that game because of all that was going on around them.

The Sun: What did you expect coming into the 2005-06 season, and what surprised you?

Kathy Orton: I came into the book trying not to have any preconceived ideas about what Ivy League basketball - obviously, I had covered the league for The Washington Post for several years and knew a little bit about it. But, I wanted to not do a lot of research ahead of time. I wanted to talk to people and get their impressions. Obviously, Cornell's season was such an odd season. … I would talk to the players during the season and they would just tell me how it was just unlike any other season they had been through and then to have the injury to Khaliq put that in a whole other category. … I think there were four schools that I thought had very interesting seasons. Cornell, obviously, for it's up and down season. Penn because it won the league title - I think any time a team goes through a whole season and comes so close to perfection, I think that's interesting. And certainly being the team that everyone was trying to beat, I think that's hard when you're put into a position of having to win, everyone expects you to win and then winning. Princeton, obviously, for its historical success in the league and then sort of having such a miserable preseason and then finishing second in the league. And then sort of the opposite case, Harvard, which was picked to finish second in the league, had a fairly good non-conference season and then just kind of fell apart in the Ivy League season. So those four schools that have intrigued me the most and probably will be the biggest focus of the book.

The Sun: How would you say Glen Miller, the former head coach at Brown, will do taking over the reins at Penn after Fran Dunphy's departure?

Kathy Orton: I think he's an excellent coach; I think Penn's getting a really good coach. It's going to be a tough act to follow Fran Dunphy, who was so well-liked and well-regarded in the community as well as at the school. I always thought whenever I'd go see him, it was like seeing the mayor of Philadelphia because he knew everyone. I think it's going to be really hard on Glen Miller to follow his act at Penn. … But he is a very good coach and I think the players will appreciate getting someone who's very passionate about basketball and very knowledgeable of the game. It'll be interesting to see what it's like for Glen Miller to go back to Brown and play his former team. I think that's going to be hard - when you recruit kids to a school and tell them you're going to be there and then you leave for another school in the conference, I think that's probably going to be very hard on him and I don't envy him having to go through that.

The Sun: You've covered the WNBA and the Ivy League. How would you defend those two leagues to people that say they're not as relevant as other leagues at their level?

Kathy Orton: I've covered so many things, everything from Super Bowl teams … I've covered minor league baseball, I've covered high school sports, and I'll never forget this, an eight-year-old girls' softball team that had its own press kit. It was in California; it was a different world out there. I guess my point is that I've covered every level, from the very small sports to the very big sports and I think there's an appeal to someone in all of them. Certainly more people are going to watch the Super Bowl than are going to watch a Washington Mystics game or an eight-year-olds softball team. But at the same time, I think there's something in there for everyone in the sense that they're all people playing these sports and these people all have stories to tell … and sometimes the more interesting stories are the ones that come from the smaller sports or the less-recognized sports, because by the time you get to the Super Bowl there isn't anything you don't know about Ray Lewis [of the Baltimore Ravens], pretty much. A lot of times I find that, for example, covering the Ivy League … there's not usually a lot of people there to cover these kids and these coaches and a lot of their stories don't get told - which I think is unfortunate, because I think there's much more to them than the stereotype that people have of Ivy League athletes or as the other example, WNBA players.

INTERVIEW PART II (May 3, 2006)

The Sun: Do you think an Ivy League school will ever be able to make a run in the NCAA tournament like George Mason?

Kathy Orton: I think that's become fairly commonplace now to see "mid-major" programs upsetting better-known or higher-regarded teams in the first round. … It's the team like a George Mason going all the way to the Final Four, which is rare but I think it could definitely happen [again]. Do I think it could happen in the Ivy League? I would doubt it. I think if you look, it's becoming harder and harder for Ivy League schools to get the kind of athletes that these schools are getting. George Mason had a lot of very talented players that developed and grew during their four years, and they stayed together for most of the time that they were able to get to the Final Four. If you looked at this year's Ivy League, there were very few seniors. I think it's very hard to stick it out all four years in the Ivy Legaue, play basketball and do well academically. And I think you would have to have a group of kids who could stay around for four years and develop their game over those four years and I just don't see that happening. I think it's too hard for kids to stick out - I think it's amazing that kids stick out all four years playing basketball at an Ivy League school given all the other demands on them, and I think you're going to continue to see fewer seniors. I think this year there were hardly any seniors in the Ivy League, and I think that's going to be a trend in the future.

The Sun: Do you think the Ivy League will ever award athletic scholarships in an attempt to compete on the national sports scene?

Orton: Definitely I know that a lot of people would like to see them award scholarships. It would make recruiting a lot easier for the coaches, that's for sure. Will they award scholarships? I would really doubt it, I don't think the Ivy League presidents would ever go for that. I think there's a lot of people in the Ivy League who question whether sports are an important part of an Ivy League education, and I think that will be a battle that will be constantly fought, so I don't think they will ever get to the point where scholarships will be possible. A lot of people made this argument to me as I was writing the book - why should an athlete take the spot of a kid who is academically maybe more qualified to be there? I would argue that academics are only part of your education, that there's a lot more to it than book smarts. But there [have] certainly been a lot smarter people who've put out books [and] arguments than I have as to why this is important. But I don't know, as far as where the Ivy League is headed, I think it's sort of at a crossroads right now as far as its mission with athletics.

The Sun: What do you think of a postseason tournament for the Ivy League?

Orton: Well, I know most people … will be against what I think on this, but I like it the way it is. Now, the players I've talked to and most of the coaches I've talked to want a postseason tournament, and in fact I've been in contact with someone who just wrote his dissertation on whether or not the Ivy League should have a tournament. He interviewed all of the coaches and players in the league this year, and an overwhelming majority, the head coaches want a tournament. Do I think one will happen? No, I don't think the Ivy League presidents will ever go for it. The reason I would hate to see it go - and it's purely for selfish reasons - [is] because I think the way the league is now is so great. … Every game is so important and I'd hate to see it lose it. That atmosphere the games have now - there's just no game where you feel like, "Eh, you know, it's just one game." It's all very intense and the Friday-Saturday turnaround is so hard, and I think if you felt like you could falter it would lose some of its luster. … I certainly know that these guys do want to play more games. They're hampered by the fact that the league limits how many games they get to play in a season, and I think that's unfortunate, because they do most of them love playing so much they want to play as much as possible. For a lot of them, one of the biggest things would be playing on television, which surprised me. Andy Pogach, who did the survey for his thesis [at North Carolina], found that like 80 percent of the kids, one of the reasons they wanted to play a conference tournament was that they could get on a national TV, like ESPN, and to me that's like, no big deal to be on TV, but I guess for them that's a really big deal for their friends and family to be able to see them on TV. So in that case maybe perhaps there's something to be said for [a postseason tournament], but for me I kind of like it the way it is and I hope that they don't change.

The Sun: What are your predictions for next season?

Orton: Well, it'll be interesting now with Penn getting a new coach, with Fran Dunphy leaving and Glen Miller moving from Brown to Penn. That's going to be really interesting, because you'd think that Penn would be favored to win the league again next year considering they did lose key seniors off that team but pretty much the core of that team is back, [and] Princeton finishing so very strong and losing just Scottie Greenman. … Which is no surprise, Penn and Princeton being near the top of the Ivy League is really going out on a limb by me. But as far as the other teams, it's going to be interesting to see in some respects it's hard to know who's going to be on the roster come October because of the things I mentioned earlier where people tend to just stop playing basketball in the Ivy League. Other Division I schools always talk about how they lose players to the NBA, but in the Ivy League they're losing players too, just not to the NBA - a lot of it is because of the academics. Not that they can't handle the academics, but sometimes they choose that's where their future is, so people decide rather than playing basketball it's more important for me to continue to pursue my academics rather than my athletics. I certianly think [Cornell head] coach [Steve] Donahue always has such a strong team, he's really built that program up to be such a strong team that Cornell would definitely be in the mix. Yale was a very young team but showed a lot of potential, I think they'll definitely be in the mix for a contender. Harvard lost almost its entire team, I would be surprised if they did much next year. Dartmouth had a very young team and didn't lose a lot of seniors, so they could be a strong team next year. Brown came on really strong towards the end there … it'll all depend on who they hire. And Columbia has got a lot of good talent there as well so it'll be interesting to see next year. It could be another interesting year for the Ivy League.

The Sun: In the middle of the 2005-06 basketball season, you took time off to have open heart surgery. How did you balance that with the work you were doing for your book?

Orton: This was something I had known about going into the season that I had this heart condition for a couple years now - actually, all my life, but it became an issue a couple years ago. And I had discovered in August before the season that I would need to have surgery sooner rather than later, and I scheduled the surgery for the two weeks in January when there aren't a lot of games because of the Harvard and Princeton exam breaks - which is another unique thing about the Ivy League, that everybody gets put on hold while these schools have their exams. … I had surgery on January 10, so I missed like the Cornell-Columbia trip down to Penn-Princeton and then missed the first Cornell-Columbia game, so I did miss a few games. But I was fortunate that the players and coaches were so incredibly generous and were so willing to talk to me about those games that I missed, so I didn't feel as though I missed a whole lot even though I wish I could have been there.

The Sun: You covered Maggie Dixon, head coach of the Army women's basketball team, early in the season and then she tragically died in March from a condition similar to yours. How did you take that news?

Orton: Well it was quite a shock because I had written about her [and] had spoken to her on the phone. Obviously, I don't think she had any idea when I was talking to her that she had this condition. And yes, it is almost identical to the condition that I have, so it did cause me to pause for a minute, because based on what I read from the autopsy report she had an enlarged heart and a valve problem and an arrhythmia, and I have all of that. My valve problem has been corrected, it was corrected by the open-heart surgery and also I have a defibrillator, which is similar to a pace-maker. So if she would have had that … I'm not sure but there might have been something, a better outcome for her. But having dealt with this, it is one of those things where you don't ever feel sick. Even right up to my surgery I never felt any symptoms. Really I was asymptomatic, and I'm sure she if she felt anything it was tired, but you don't think of tired as a symptom. So it's one of those tragic, unfortunate things but I'm not sure that there's anything she could have done differently that anyone could have know she had this. … I just feel awful for her family and for her players, the players up there just really, really thought the world of her, so it's such a tragedy for someone that talented and warm and loving to have died so suddenly.

The Sun: You have also covered women's college basketball and reported on the women's NCAA tournament this year. How does the women's game compare to the men's?

Orton: I don't know that it will ever get the same kind of crowds and the same kind of TV ratings and I don't that's something it should shoot for. I think it's a different entity and I think one of the problems with women's basketball is it either tries to be too much like the men or it tries to be completely separate from the men, and I think it should try to strike a middle balance. It is the same game, but I think it attracts a different interest and a different crowd - women's crowds tend to be more family oriented and older and men's crowds can be much more younger and male-oriented. So I think you just have to appreciate what you have and not be trying to be something you're not.

The Sun: Did you think it was a big deal when Tennesse's Candice Parker dunked against Army in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament?

Orton: So much was made about that, and I think any time you turned on ESPN there for a while it was on a constant loop and you saw it every five seconds. You know, it's great she can dunk, it's great to see that there are women who have that athletic ability, but I don't think it's all of a sudden going to make people come to the game just because a women dunks. You either like women's basketball for what it is or you don't, but you're not all of a sudden going to become a women's basketball fan because one woman at one school dunked. I think you have to appreciate the game for what it is. And I think it's great she dunked and it's exciting - and I feel bad for the poor Army girl who had to be in the shot every other second getting dunked on. It's nice but I don't think it's revolutionized the game; she certainly isn't the first to dunk and she won't be the last.

Schedule Update: St. Joseph's Date Revealed, or Maybe Not

Below, we provide some updates on the 2009-2010 schedule.

Season ticket prices have not been announced but reserved seats were sold out last year at a rate of $117 per seat regardless of age. General admission season tickets were $78 per adult ($39 per child).


Last season's home schedule included 13 games in Newman Arena (seven Ivy opponents plus South Dakota, La Salle, Boston U., Quinnipiac, Ursinus and Bucknell).

The 2009-2010 home schedule will once again include the seven Ivy opponents as well as Seton Hall, St. Joseph's and Bryant. Other home games are still being negotiated.

St. Joseph's is reporting that it will visit Cornell on December 6. Obviously the date would be very attractive because Cornell students would still be on campus. And while we know Cornell will host St. Joseph's this year, the December 6 date does not seem logical. Cornell is schedulled to play in South Dakota the following day. In other words, one of these dates will probably get moved.

Below is a glimpse of the 31 projected games on the Cornell Big Red's 2009-2010 schedule. All games are tentative until formally announced by Cornell Athletics.
  • November 18, 2008-@ UMass, (Legends Classic-Field includes UMass, Cornell, Rutgers, Vermont, Drexel, Florida, Michigan State, Toldeo Valparaiso, Georgia Southern, Troy St. plus one more additional team)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • November 20, 2009- vs. Seton Hall
  • December 2, 2009-@ Bucknell
  • December 6, 2009-vs. St. Joseph's
  • December 7, 2009-@South Dakota
  • December 20, 2009-vs. Davidson (@ Madison Square Garden ECAC Holiday Festival)
  • December 21, 2009 vs. Hofstra or St. John's (@ Madison Square Garden ECAC Holiday Festival)
  • January 2, 2010-vs. Bryant
  • January 5, 2010-@ Kansas
  • @Alabama
  • @La Salle
  • @Boston University
  • @Syracuse
  • Local New York State rival TBA
  • 14 Ivy League Games

Recruiting News

Above, Cornell's Alex Tyler, Jon Jaques and Jeff Foote sport their championship rings. Background, Cornell fans surround Cornell coach, Steve Donahue as he prepares the final cut of the Ivy League championship net. Cornell is the winner of two consecutive Ivy League titles. Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League.

Scout.com reports that Ben Vozzola, a 6'5" wing from Centennial High School in Las Vegas committed to the University of San Diego. Vozzola was recruited by Cornell, Washington State, Nevada, Fresno State, Arizona State and Utah.

Northstar Basketball reports that Marcus Blake, a 6'7" forward from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida is receiving recruitment attention from Columbia, Stetson, Auburn, Northeastern, and Western Carolina.

Although a likely long shot to land him, Brown is recruiting Russell Smith, a 5'10" point guard from the South Kent School in Vermont. Smith has more than a dozen scholarship offers from BCS schools.

Austin Carroll, a 6'3" guard from Brewster Academy in Massachusetts is hearing from Harvard. He has scholarship offers from Holy Cross, Fairfield, Rhode Island and Xavier.

Below are some related recruiting links:

Groebe's Return to Amherst

So far, it seems that only the Daily Hampshire Gazette has picked up on the underlying storyline of Max Groebe's return to UMass when the Big Red face off with the Minutemen.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alumni News: Toppert '05 and Mercedes '01

We recently updated the whereabouts of some young alums of the Cornell Basketball program. Below are some additional updates on a pair of Cornell's all-time leading scorers. Above, Cody Toppert ('05).

Ray Mercedes ('01), a former All-Ivy League Honorable Mention selection for the Big Red during the 1999-2000 season, played professionally with San Carlos (Dominican Republic) after graduating Cornell. He subsequently graduate from Boston College School of Law and is now practicing law with the global firm, Weil Gotshal in the Corporate Department in New York City.

As we previsouly reported, Cody Toppert ('05) has signed for the 2009-2010 season with MEG Goettingen of the Bundesliga (the BBL), the highest level professional basketball league in Germany. Below is an article from the June 23 issue of the Arizona Republic covering some of Toppert's preparation for the 2009-2010 season.

Cody Toppert got married on a recent Saturday. He was back under Russ Pennell's watch at the Arizona Premier Academy facility in Gilbert that Monday.

You don't go on a honeymoon when you're trying to make a living at a passion that got in your blood as a tyke.

Toppert, eight years removed from being the New Mexico high school Player of the Year, is among a throng of college graduates and former NBA players working out daily under the new Grand Canyon University men's coach who used to run the club program for grade-school and high school players here.
Since mid-May, nearly every mid-afternoon, players coming through the Premier gym have included Washington State guard Taylor Rochestie, Stanford forward Lawrence Hill, Brigham Young guard Lee Cummard, former Indiana Pacers center David Harrison, and former NBA star Dale Ellis' son, Chris.

The NBA draft is Thursday. But not everybody running intense drills under Pennell will be watching the draft board. The two-round draft is only a small fraction of pro-basketball opportunities.

There are the NBA Development League, overseas, the Continental Basketball Association.

The hopeful players pay a fee to get the instruction and work inside Premier, where the evaporative coolers make it hot and sweaty.

"We're trying to help their skill levels improve," Pennell said. " . . . These guys are trying to stay in shape, get ready for tryouts and summer leagues. We're just trying to help them get better."

Pennell's resume improved drastically by taking the University of Arizona to the NCAA's Sweet 16 last season on an interim basis.

A year before that, Pennell was taking high school kids to AAU tournaments in Las Vegas and Southern California.

Ellis, a 6-foot-9, 267-pound power forward, left Georgia to spend the summer working on his game to get beyond the D-League.

"It's a good atmosphere to work in," said Ellis, who played with New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul in college at Wake Forest. "Get that good work in and not get any injuries.

"It's a nice learning environment."

Harrison, 7 feet, signed last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He knows his career is day to day. He can't afford to spend the off-season sitting around.

Toppert, a 6-4 lefty guard, can shoot the lights out. When he and his younger brother Chad, a 6-7 guard who played at New Mexico, get together on the same team for three-on-three games, the other teams don't stand a chance. Even a honeymoon takes a back seat to hoops dreams for Cody Toppert.

"I got married - that was fun, had a blast," he said. "But I've got to get back in here to make sure I stay in shape."

The Case for Cornell Big Red Basketball

Above, Cornell's media guide covers during the Steve Donahue era. (Click picture for a larger image). Below, a continuation in our summer series, The Case for Cornell Basketball.

For a high school recruiting prospect looking for the best balance of basketball and academic success in a college, Cornell has to be in the discussion of the nation's elite programs and certainly at the top of the Ivy League schools after the Big Red won two consecutive Ivy League titles.

Last March, ESPN Rise wrote, "Boston College, California, Cornell, Notre Dame, Penn, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington are among... brainy schools that have flashed significant basketball brawn recently, as each has qualified for at least one Big Dance in the past three years. As much as any college sport, basketball programs often thrive at some of America's smartest schools."

In recruiting, Cornell faces challenges in finding student-athletes that can not only play at the highest levels of collegiate basketball, but are also accomplished academically. Of course, these prospects also need to pass up the opportunity to play on athletic scholarship elsewhere since Ivy League schools do not offer them

One such Cornell player who passed up Division I scholarships to come to Cornell Ryan Wittman. Last year, U.S. News & World Report tabbed Wittman as among the half dozen best student-athletes in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Wittman's list of individual honors to-date is impressive:

• Two-time NABC All-District selection (2007-08 & 2008-09)
• Two-time unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection (2007-08 & 2008-09)
• Second-team All-Ivy selection (2006-07)
• 2006-07 Ivy League Rookie of the Year
• Two-time Ivy League Player of the Week
• Six-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week
• CollegeInsider.com Mid Major All American (2007-2008 & 2008-2009)
• CollegeInsider.com Ivy League MVP (2008-2009)
• CollegeHoopsNet.com Mid Major All American (2007-2008 & 2008-2009)
• CollegeHoopsNet.com Mid Major All Freshman Team (2006-2007)

The ESPN Rise article explains that Cornell is willing to recruit anywhere to find student-athlete talent such as Wittman.

"Most kids we recruit turned down athletic scholarships [elsewhere] to come here," says [Cornell coach, Steve] Donahue, whose Ivy League-champion Big Red squad is off to its second straight NCAA tournament. "Where we're different is that all eight [Ivy League schools] can recruit anywhere in the country -- that's where we can separate ourselves from a lot of other mid-majors who can only recruit two or three hours from their campus.

Indeed, 14 states are represented on Cornell's 2008-09 roster, and three players hail from Canada. Clearly, the Ivy League brand name has enabled Cornell (ranked 14th in U.S. News' national university rankings) to scour the entire continent looking for basketball talent. The tricky part is persuading Division I-level players to forgo an opportunity to play on scholarship.

"There are negatives, yeah -- it costs $50,000 to go here, your SAT scores gotta be off the charts," Donahue says. "But if you find the kids that can do that, you really have a chance to be successful."

While the lack of athletic scholarships is hurdle, fortunately, Cornell recently enacted new financial aid initiatives to help attract elite student-athletes and to provide them more incentive to attend the Ivy League's elite basketball program.

But do not take our word for it that Cornell offers the best balance of basketball and academics in the Ivy League. Stack Magazine's Elite 50 is the most recognized, comprehensive college rankings resource of its kind in determining collegiate athletic-academic balance and is a powerful research tool for any high school athlete looking to compete athletically and study at the next level.

In its most recent ranking, Stack Magazine's Elite 50 ranks Cornell 45th in the country (and No. 1 in the Ivy League) in overall athletics-academics balance. Cornell was 39th the prior year and was the only ranked Ivy League school.

Taking academics out of the equation and examining solely the Athletic Department's overall level of success, Cornell University finished No. 59 in the final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings out of 271 Division I programs.

No matter how you break it down, Cornell maintains both an elite academic reputation and stellar athletics department.

When Will The Ivy League Produce Another NBA Talent?

Above, Cornell's Ryan Wittman pulls up for a jumper against the Minnesota Gophers last season. The following excerpt is from the article When Will The Ivy League Produce Another NBA Talent?, published by The Bleacher Report:

Does the near future hold an NBA talent from the Ivy League? Chances look faint, but Ryan Wittman may be the league's best NBA prospect.

Wittman plays for Cornell, the back-to-back Ivy League champions from 2007-08 and 2008-09. The 6'6" guard certainly has the basketball pedigree. His father, Randy Wittman, played and coached in the NBA after winning a national championship and Big Ten player of the year at Indiana University.

The younger Wittman averages 16.5 points. He led the league in scoring this past season with 18.5 a contest. He's known as a sharpshooter hitting a career 43 percent of his shots from three. Wittman also doubled his assists from 41 the previous season to 82 this past season.

Perhaps his most important NBA resume builder are his performances against teams from major conferences. He averaged just over 27 points against Syracuse, Indiana, and Minnesota this past season, scoring 33 against Syracuse (albeit an ideal opponent for a deep threat like Wittman).

Wittman will play his senior season at Cornell in 2009-2010. It might be a stretch to say that Wittman will become the first Ivy League player drafted since Jerome Allen, but certainly most will say he can find a home in the NBA.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Above, Cornell's Chris Wroblewski in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Below, just some random news and notes around the Ivy League this week...
  • Yale head coach, James Jones is quoted in a New York Times article by Pete Thamel about the business-side associated with this summer's AAU tournaments. Jones' comments were later attacked in the Sporting News by Mike DeCourcy.
  • Columbia's Blaise Staab is playing summer ball in LA's Say No League. On Staab's team is Princeton's Kareem Maddox. And as is usually the case each year, most of the Penn Quakers are in Philadelphia for the summer playing in Philadelphia city summer leagues.
  • After leaving Penn because "Glen Miller wasn't the coach" for him, Harris Gaines is quoted this week in the Press Enterprise after deciding to transfer to Cal-Riverside. In addition to Gaines, three other Penn basketball players quit the program during the course of the 2008-2009 season, including Remy Cofield, Tommy McMahon and Garvin Hunt. Both Gaines and Cofield expressed dissatisfaction with the Penn basketball program. Cofield previously told the Daily Pennsylvanian, "Being here at Penn, I ... did not believe that I could develop into the player that I wanted to be."

News and Notes

Some news and notes that relate to Cornell Basketball...
  • Cornell's Ryan Wittman made five NBA three-pointers en route to 21 points on Tuesday night, including 7/14 shooting from the floor and 7 rebounds, but it was not enough as his team B-2-X fell to El Amin's Fish House 100-95 in a playoff game of the Howard Pulley Pro City League.
  • ESPN's Andy Katz reports the following on Siena's continued scheduling efforts:
Siena finally got a high-profile team to at least play in a one-way, guarantee game next season. It took a former Siena coach in Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt to make it happen. Siena coach Fran McCaffery said the Saints will play at Georgia Tech next season. Siena, which should be the MAAC favorite and was No. 20 in my latest top 25 rankings, played at Kansas and at Pitt last season. Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, still looking for a Dec. 16 home game, said he would consider playing the Saints in a guarantee game as well. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 12 in my top 25...

Some events have yet to be finalized, but for a working list of the early season tournament fields for the 2009-10 season, check here.

Recruiting News: With Recent Success, Cornell is Becoming an "Easier Sell" to Recruits

In recruiting news, Cornell and other Ivy coaches are still in the midst of this 10-day NCAA regulated recruiting period. Reports suggest that Cornell could be hauling in a tremendous recruiting class this season, which would likely continue to involve both freshmen and impact transfers.

From the names we have read and heard, the program is certainly recruiting players at a very high level, albeit under the radars of the national media which is the way Cornell prefers to operate. But more importantly, the Cornell Big Red coaching staff certainly has plenty of academic and basketball aspects to market to these potential recruits.

Outside of the classroom, Cornell is riding upon two consecutive Ivy League Basketball Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. Throw in the attractive and challenging schedules, Cornell's state-of the-art facilities- which are unmatched elsewhere in the conference, and the increasingly exciting atmosphere of Newman Arena and Newman Nation and it certainly could be argued that Cornell is presently offering high schoolers the best academic-basketball balance in the Ivy League.

In terms of academics, Cornell is currently ranked No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report's Top Universities and No. 15 in the world according to Britain's HE-QS World University Rankings. According to U.S. News & World Report and other notable rankings, Cornell also boasts the nation's No. 1 academic departments in multiple fields including Engineering Physics, Architecture & Planning, Hotel Administration, Industrial & Labor Relations, and Agricultural & Veterinarian Sciences. In fact, according to the latest ranking of the National Research Council, Cornell ranks sixth nationally in the number of academic programs ranked in the top 10 of their fields.

BusinessWeek's
Rankings of the Top Undergraduate Schools of Business places Cornell No. 8 nationally. Among Ivies, only Cornell and Penn offer business programs for their undergraduates.

Newsweek also ranked Cornell as the "Hottest Ivy League School."

Because Cornell is returning a rather small roster for the 2010-2011 season, on the recruiting circuit Cornell is offering immediate playing time to high school members of the class of 2010, especially players in the frontcourt positions. The Big Red are also offering yet another impressive non-conference schedule in 2010-2011 which is expected to include games against Syracuse and Seton Hall.

In specific recruiting news, NJHoops.com is reporting that Cornell is showing interest in 6'7" Thomas Noonan from the Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. He is also hearing from Princeton, Yale, Amherst, Hamilton College, Rochester Tech, Williams College, and Bowdoin College. Noonan already visited Cornell.

Meanwhile, Dave Dudzinski, a 6'9" forward from Kaneland HS in Illinois claims offers from Cornell, Brown and Princeton. He told the Dekalb Daily Chronicle that seven of the eight Ivy League schools are actively recruiting him. Dudzinki hails from a farming community northwest of Aurora and is a perfect fit for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Basketball's needs in the frontcourt.

The Examiner.com has a story on Dwight Powell's likely commitment to Stanford over Harvard and others. Harvard has set their sights on other elite prospects such as 6'8" Rod Odom (Middlesex School, MA), 6'2" Pe'Shon Howard (Oak Hill Academy, VA), 6'5" Keala King (Dominguez HS, Compton, CA). But each of these targets have opportunities to attend schools with far superior basketball programs than Harvard and very comparable levels of education. For example, Odom has a scholarship offer to play basketball in the SEC and attend a Top 25 ranked US News & World Report school in Vanderbilt. It would be simply shocking to see these recruits pass up some of the scholarships they have been offered to play basketball at the Ivy League's least successful program (Harvard has never won an Ivy League title and last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1946).

In the event top recruits do enroll at Harvard or elsewhere in the Ivy League, the increasing talent in the conference only helps raise the Ivy League's overall profile.

According to the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, Laurent Rivard has college offers coming in from Davidson, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Elon, Vermont, Penn, Columbia, and Princeton. He is a 6'5" small forward. Rivard is a good fit for the Ivy League, wherever he lands.

From Toms River, NJ and Monsignor Donovan HS, NJHoops.com notes that 6'1" Sean Grennan is getting attention from Princeton, Michigan, Davidson, Notre Dame, St Johns, Seton Hall, Fordham and Cincinnati. He is a member of the class of 2o11.

Corwin Austin, a 6'0" guard from Thomas Jefferson HS in New York is getting interest from New Hampshire and Columbia. He has already visited Columbia.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Looking Back on Brown at Cornell, 1/31/09

Continuing our series of posting video clip highlights from the 2008-2009 season, we look back on Cornell's January 31, 2009 90-58 dismantling of Brown in Ithaca, Later in Providence on February 21, 2009, it would only get worse for the Bears as Cornell crushed Brown, 85-45. Video clips courtesy of SlopeTV.

Schedule Update: Two More Legends Classic Participants Identified

The University of Florida released its 2009-2010 schedule and with the announcement, the Gators have identified two additional participants (and potential Cornell opponents) in the Gazelle Group's Legends Classic.

We have now identified eleven of the twelve participants.

The Florida pod of the tournament will feature Georgia Southern and Troy State. The Trojans of Troy received a postseason invite to the College Basketball Invitational last year and finished 14-4 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Cornell is expect to land in the UMass pod with Drexel or possibly Vermont.

Below is an updated projection of the Legends Classic field:

UMass Region
UMass (host)
Cornell
Drexel

Rutgers Region
Rutgers (host)
Vermont
Team 3 tba

Florida Region
Florida (host)
Troy State
Georgia Southern

Michigan State Region
Michigan State (host)
Toldeo
Valparaiso

Cornell in New York

As we previously reported, Cornell is participating in Madison Square Garden's annual Holiday Festival between December 20-21. The Big Red will play in two games with St. John's hosting the event. The other tournament participants include Davidson and Hofstra. MSG Network is expected to provide television coverage. Cornell opens the event against Davidson on December 20 and will face either St. John's or Hofstra the following day.

Cornell was an attractive participant to Madison Square Garden because of Cornell's deep connections to New York. In addition to a large alumni base in the New York City area, Cornell University maintains a major physical presence in New York. The following schools, departments and centers are located in Manhattan.

Recruiting News

Above, Cornell's Louis Dale and Jason Battle celebrate a thrilling last second victory at Harvard during 2008.

In recruiting news, NJHoops.com reports that 6'8" Logan Buckner of Nease HS in Ponte Vedra, Florida earned the MVP of Hoop Group's Academic Elite Camp. Cornell, Yale Winthrop and Emory are showing interest.

Princeton's coaching staff was spotted at the Hoops City Classic in Kansas City.

In other recruiting news, Harvard's hopes of landing its top recruiting target may be crushed. The CardinalReport.com reports that Dwight Powell, a 6'9" forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida just received a scholarship offer this week from the Cardinal and it appears more than likely he will accept the Stanford offer. "If I am accepted, Stanford would definitely jump to the top, but I don't want to say 100% I would go there. But it would definitely change a few things," Powell told CardinalReport. Powell previously mentioned Harvard as a finalist for his services.

The Crimson have some significant obstacles to overcome in recruiting and should be honored to have Powell even consider Harvard.

Consider the following undisputed facts:
  • Harvard has never won an Ivy League Championship
  • Harvard never appeared in the NCAA Tournament since the inception of the Ivy League
  • Harvard finished second-to-last in the Ivy League standings during 2008-2009
  • In twelve years of head coaching at Seton Hall, Michigan and now at Harvard, Tommy Amaker has guided just one squad to the NCAA tournament
  • Amaker never won a championship as a head coach
  • Harvard Basketball was the subject of an investigation of alleged recruiting violations by the Ivy League Office. The investigation was covered extensively by the national media, including the New York Times
  • Harvard Basketball's decision to cut five players from the roster only one month before the start of the 2008-2009 season was a feature of a story in the New York Times
  • Numerous sources in the media have speculated whether Amaker intends to remain at Harvard, even in the near term
Certainly Harvard offers an outstanding education. But then again, all eight Ivy League schools offer world class educations and opportunities comparable to Harvard's.

Time will tell if Harvard and Amaker succeed in turning around their basketball program.


Penn Basketball Joins Twitter World

The Daily Pennsylvanian's Zach Klitzman reports the following on Twittering in Ivy League Basketball:

Two months ago Steve Donahue, the Cornell basketball coach, launched a Twitter account. I joked that maybe a Glen Miller account would look something like our joke issue Buzz post. Well turns out I’m wrong.

Although technically Miller’s name doesn’t appear anywhere, a Penn Basketball twitter account has been launched. Again, it doesn’t say it’s from Miller, but I don’t know how it could be from anyone else. There are 40 tweets from the last month, which isn’t a bad amount. However, it remains to be seen if Miller will post that often during the actual season. But regardless, it will be quite interesting to see if this account has some degree of the transparency that I know the alums want from the athletic program’s premier team.

Schedule Update: Cornell Visits South Dakota on December 7

Above, Cornell's Ryan Wittman brings the ball up the court against the University of South Dakota last season in Cornell's Newman Arena.

We already reported that Cornell would visit South Dakota this season. But now we have the date. The University of South Dakota newly released 2009-2010 schedule confirms that Cornell will visit the Coyotes on December 7.

In a follow-up story, the Argus Leader writes, "home games against Cornell and Morehead State (Ky.), both Division I NCAA tournament participants a year ago, will headline [South Dakota's] DakotaDome portion of the schedule." (see the related story here by clicking here)

Below is a glimpse of the 31 projected games on the Cornell Big Red's 2009-2010 schedule. All games are tentative until formally announced by Cornell Athletics.
  • November 18, 2008-@ UMass, (Legends Classic-Field includes UMass, Cornell, Rutgers, Vermont, Drexel, Florida, Michigan State, Toldeo and Valparaiso plus three additional teams)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • TBA Opponent (Legends Classic)
  • November 20, 2009- vs. Seton Hall
  • December 2, 2009-@ Bucknell
  • December 7, 2009-@South Dakota
  • December 20, 2009-vs. Davidson (@ Madison Square Garden ECAC Holiday Festival)
  • December 21, 2009 vs. Hofstra or St. John's (@ Madison Square Garden ECAC Holiday Festival)
  • January 2, 2010-vs. Bryant
  • January 5, 2010-@ Kansas
  • vs. St. Joseph's (Home)
  • @Alabama
  • @La Salle
  • @Boston University
  • @Syracuse
  • Local New York State rival TBA
  • 14 Ivy League Games

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Date in Cornell Basketball History: Court Storming '65 Style

Legendary Cornell Head Basketballl Coach, Sam MacNeil with members of the 1964-1965 Big Red team-- Marvin Van Leeuwen, Dave Bliss, Jim Maglisceau.

Cornell fans had the opportunity to "storm the floor" during both the 2008 and 2009 seasons when the Big Red captured consecutive Ivy League titles. Although video clips of those Cornell court storms made it onto Sports Center and other national media outlets, Cornellians stormed the floor long before these banner seasons and the existence of ESPN.

One such memorable court storm occurred on January 16, 1965. In front of 9,000 fans in Cornell's Barton Hall, the Big Red faced the Princeton Tigers and its star, Bill Bradley.

With under a minute left, nationally ranked Princeton led 69-68. But on the last possession for Cornell, Blaine Aston received a pass near the foul line. Aston hit the 17 foot jumper with 3 seconds remaining for a shocking 70-69 Cornell win.

Cornell finished the season 19-5.

Below, some photos from the Ithaca Journal. Special thanks to former All-Ivy Leaguer, Garry Munson, '66 for getting us the photos.


Alumni News: Updates on Young Alums

Joining the Cornell Basketball program involves more than playing Division I basketball. Cornell players also are expected to succeed in the classroom and contribute in their community. In every sense, they are true student-athletes.

Not surprisingly, following graduation, alumni of the Cornell Basketball program have established very successful career paths. Some are playing basketball professionally, while others have moved onto professions away from the basketball court.


Notably, the alums are loyal to the program for life. Many alums of Cornell Basketball can be spotted attending both the Big Red's road and home games.

Below, we provide updates on some young alumni of the Cornell Basketball program.

Cornell alums currently playing professionally include the following:

Former First Team All-Ivy League selection, John McCord ('97), a 6'6" power forward was averaging 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for Olimpique Antibes in the French ProB League before he was traded earlier this month to Limoges CSP Elite, also a member of the French ProB.

Jeff Aubry ('99), a 6'11" center, played the 2009 season in the Puerto Rico Basketball League with the Arecibo Capitanes. He averaged 9.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per games during the season. He formally played in the NBA's D-League.

Cody Toppert ('05), a 6'4" guard signed to play the 2009-2010 season with MEG Goettingen in German's Budesliga, the country's premier league. He formally played in the NBA's D-League.

Ryan Rourke ('06), a 6'8" forward averaged 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Shiga Lakestars of the Japan Pro BJ League during the 2008-2009 season.

Jason Hartford ('08), a 6'9" forward averaged 21.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for Huima in Finland's First Division during the 2008-2009 season.

Alums outside of pro basketball include the following:

Wallace Prather ('02) runs his own sports agency, WP Sports Management and currently represents several high profile NBA players.

Ka'ron Barnes ('04), a former 1st Team All Ivy League selection is a producer with ESPN.

Eric Taylor ('05), a former All Ivy League selection is working in the banking and financial services industry and lives in the Ithaca area. He played professionally in Europe before retiring from basketball.

David Lisle ('06) is enrolled in medical school at Georgetown Medical School.

Lenny Collins ('06), a former All Ivy League selection recently graduated Harvard Law School.

Ugo Ihekweazu ('07) is enrolled at Cornell Medical School in New York City.

Kevin App ('07) is an assistant men's basketball coach with Williams College in Massachusetts.

Graham Dow ('07) is working towards a PhD. in sciences at Stanford University.

Khaliq Gant ('09) is starting his career in marketing and sales with E. and J. Gallo Wines in New York City.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Recruiting News

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League. Above, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Cornell's Chris Wroblewski. Cornell rookies have capured the Rookie of the Year award four of the last seven years (including three of the last four years).

John Carroll, head coach of Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts reports that over 30 college coaches attended Hector Harold's AAU game with the Double Pump Elite at the Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas last week. Schools represented in the crowd included Penn, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, Virginia, Wyoming, and St. Mary's. Harold is a 6'5" wing forward.

Cornell's coaching staff was also well represented in Las Vegas and the Big Red are hot on the recruiting trail of several major impact big men. With the expected graduation of Jeff Foote next May, Cornell is offering immediate playing time to low post high school prospects in the classes of 2010 and 2011.

DaytonFlyersNet.com reports that Clarkston, Michigan's Matt Kamieniecki has scholarship offers from Western Michigan, IPFW, and Wofford. The 6'7" forward is also receiving interest from Cornell, Penn, Dayton, Michigan, and Bucknell. Kamieniecki's parents both attended Michigan and his father is a former pitcher for the New York Yankees. When asked about his timetable for a college decision, Matt responded, "It will probably happen before school ball starts."

NJHoops.com reports that Princeton, Yale, Cornell, and Dartmouth are all showing interest in 6'2"DeOliver Davis of the Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the younger brother of Princeton's Doug Davis.

North Star Basketball identifies 6'7" James Bourne of the class of 2011 from Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia as a recruiting target of Penn, Richmond, Navy, UNC-Wilmington, Lafayette, Davidson, and North Carolina A&T.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cornell's 2009 Ivy League Opener, Victory at Columbia

Continuing our series of posting video clip highlights from the 2008-2009 season, we look back on Cornell's 2009 Ivy League opener, a 71-59 Big Red win at Columbia on January 17, 2009. In front of "Newman Nation Downstate," Cornell extended its win streak over the Lions.

The Big Red have defeated the Lions in seven consecutive games.

Highlights from SlopeTV.

Wittman and Foote Summer League Action

Ryan Wittman's and Jeff Foote's B-2-X team finished as the 6 seed headed into the Howard Pulley Summer Pro City League Playoffs in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nevertheless, B-2-X stormed into the Championship Game on Wednesday night with yet another upset win, defeating A&A Millworks 104-85.

The Minneapolis Tribune noted, "Cornell’s Ryan Wittman, son of Randy Wittman former Wolves head coach, hit some big 3’s to lead his team to victory."

The Championship Game was last night.

The Case for Cornell Big Red Basketball

We write this Blog because of our passion for a university and its basketball program. Below is our Case for Cornell Big Red Basketball.

If a prospective Division I basketball player wants the best balance of academics, athletics, and social atmosphere in the Ivy League, then Cornell is the choice, hands down.

Cornell teams are called "The Big Red" and Cornell is indeed big in every respect.

Where to start? Well, consider the following.

Cornell is the two-time defending Ivy League Champions in men's basketball. The program is showing no signs of slowing down.

A great environment to play college basketball, last season the Big Red led the Ivy League in home attendance. Cornell's fans known as the "Newman Nation," made Cornell's home gym, Newman Arena, the toughest place to play in the Ivy League. The Big Red have won 21 consecutive home games at Newman, the third longest streak in the country. Teams from the Big East and A-10 will visit Ithaca this season.

Freshman in the Cornell men's basketball program not only get playing time, they thrive. Cornell newcomers have won four of the last seven Ivy League Rookie of the Year awards.

Cornell also plays a big time Division I schedule. For example, this season Cornell will face Kansas, Alabama, Syracuse, Seton Hall, UMass, St. Joseph's, La Salle, Davidson and potentially St. John's. Cornell's schedule also includes participation in the Legends Classic and back-to-back games in Madison Square Garden in the Holiday Festival. No other Ivy League program can offer this level of challenge or national exposure in a schedule.

Because Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell does not compete with other Division I or professional basketball teams for the media spotlight. In Central New York, Cornell Basketball is The Show and its players are The Stars.

Players from big time Division I programs regularly transfer to join the Cornell Basketball program. In the last three years, the Big Red welcomed several transfers from the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, and A-10.

Graduates of Cornell's basketball program are successful in life after Cornell. Some are playing professionally, while others have moved onto prestigious graduates schools and careers in field such as business, medicine and law.

While other Ivy League basketball programs offer Division III-type experiences, the Cornell experience is on a much higher level.

Consider the environment.

Cornell's size gives it the feel of a big time Big 10 or Pac 10 school. The Cornell student body is the largest in the Ivy League and consists of over 20,000 students.

The main campus is in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca looks like what an All-American collegetown should look like. It offers a wide range of social outlets and activity, both on and off the campus.

The Cornell campus, perched on a hill overlooking the town, Lake Cayuga and the surrounding rolling hills is widely considered one of the most if not the most beautiful campus in America. It is also by far the Ivy League's largest campus, consisting of more than 4,000 acres.

By way of comparison, Cornell's campus is more than four times the size of the second largest Ivy League school. In fact, Cornell is larger than most schools in the Pac 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Big 10.

Helping add to its larger-than-life image, besides membership in the Ivy League, Cornell is also a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Thus, in addition to the Ithaca main campus, Cornell has extension campuses in every county of New York State, including Manhattan, and maintains campus sites in Puerto Rico, Rome, Maine, Washington, D.C., Peru, and Qatar. In short, Cornell's physical reach is unparalleled by its rivals in the Ivy League. And with more than 250,000 living alumni, Cornell also has the largest alumni base in the Ivy League.

Despite its massive size, Cornell's seven undergraduate colleges help break down the University into smaller and more intimate academic communities.

Cornell's academic offering is not rivaled by any school in the Ivy League. The University offers more more majors and more courses than any other school. Not surprisingly, Cornell is often considered as one of the top 15 universities in the world and virtually every academic program is top ranked in its field.

Thanks for reading The Cornell Basketball Blog and... Go Big Red!

Almuni News: Cornellian Attempts to Sell Harvard Program

Over the summer, Harvard added Yanni Hufnagel (far right) as an assistant coach. He is a 2006 graduate of Cornell with a bachelor of science degree in industrial and labor relations. While at Cornell, Hufnagel served as a student manager for one season with the Big Red.

Hufnagel came to Harvard from the University of Oklahoma where he served as graduate assistant for the men's basketball team.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Legends Classic Format Takes Criticism

As part of the Legends Classic, this November Max Groebe returns to the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts where he played for UMass before transferring to Cornell. The Big Red face the Minutemen in the opening round of the tournament.

Here is a little jab at the Gazelle Group's Legends Classic from the folks at RushTheCourt.Net:
F the Gazelle Group. They’re back again this season with another faux-tournament in the form of the Legends Classic. Remember our piece shredding them on this last year? If you don’t, here’s a refresher. The Gazelle Group got upset when little Gardner-Webb upset Kentucky in Rupp two years ago during a preliminary round game, meaning that the legions of UK fans they expected to buy tickets the next week weren’t showing. So what’d they do the next year – they fixed the tournament! Yep, all four of the ‘host’ teams get automatic entry to the Championship Rounds (final four teams) despite what happens in the prelims. Total asinine garbage. This year’s four faux-champs? Michigan St., Rutgers, Florida and UMass. MSU-Florida could be interesting, and definitely keep an eye on summer hotshot Mike Rosario from Joisey (playing in AC).
FOOTNOTE: Before transferring to Cornell, Mark Coury played 22 minutes for Kentucky in the loss to Gardner Webb.

Also from RushTheCourt, they project Cornell as a No. 13 seed in their July 22, 2009 bracket projections.

In other bracket projections, BloggingTheBracket.com projects Cornell as a No. 14 seed as of July 3, 2009.

Meanwhile, in his June 17, 2009 edition of Bracketology, ESPN's Joe Lunardi projects Cornell as a No. 13 seed. Lunardi previously projected Cornell as a No. 12 seed back on April 13, 2009.

Recording of Cornell vs. Missouri Televised Tonight

CBS College Sports channel (formerly CSTV) is showing recordings of the entirety of the 2009 NCAA Tournament over the next two weeks. A complete schedule is vailable on their website.

Cornell vs. Missouri is airing tonight at 10 p.m. EST.

News and Notes: Around the Ivy League

Above, Cornell Head Coach, Steve Donahue. Below, some news and notes around the Ivy League...

In scheduling news, Brown becomes the second Ivy League school to publish it schedule after Princeton released its slate earlier this month.

While the Princeton schedule is fairly soft, Brown went the challenging route. The Bears will play 31 games thanks to participation in an exempt tournament. Brown will visit Providence, Minnesota, and St. John's, while hosting Holy Cross and Rhode Island. Brown will also face Siena and Virginia Tech on a neutral court in the Philadelphia Classic. On the downside, Brown will face two non-Division I teams- Philadelphia Scienes and Keene St.

Princeton's toughest games appear to be visits to Cal, Rutgers, St. Joseph's and George Washington. The Tigers will be play 28 games.

With respect to recruiting class announements, Cornell, Penn, Yale, Brown and Columbia already published their recruiting classes, leaving Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton as the holdouts.

Last Stand for Graduating Seniors

Continuing our series of posting video clip highlights from the 2008-2009 season, we look back on the Big Red's final regular season home game, a 60-51 victory over the Princeton Tigers on March 7, 2009. Below, SlopeTV gives interviews with Cornell's departing seniors.--Adam Gore, Jason Battle, Brian Kreefer, Conor Mullen and Khaliq Gant. Above, Gore (left) prepares for his last start in a Big Red uniform.