Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ESPN Rumor Central "Evaluates" Cornell for Next Season

A recent post on ESPN's Rumor Central questions Cornell's likelihood of success next season. The author is clearly not a knowledgeable journalist (or even fan) of Ivy League basketball. Not only does the article incorrectly attribute a quote to The Cornell Basketball Blog (the quote cited to us actually came from a Toronto Raptors blog), but in raising issue with Cornell's returning talent, ESPN's Rumor Central fails to mention several of Cornell's top returning players (including Errick Peck, Mark Coury, Max Groebe, Adam Wire, Anthony Gatlin, just to name a few). In low-balling Cornell, ESPN Insiders also relies exclusively on its own recruiting rankings to evaluate Cornell's incoming recruits. The full ESPN post is as follows:

"ESPN.com columnist Dana O'Neil wrote recently about the challenge facing new Cornell head coach Bill Courtney. He takes over an Ivy League team on a rare high, but he's losing most of the players who made a Sweet 16 run possible. So what's in store for the Big Red?

For one thing, there are still talented returnees on the Cornell roster. Rising junior Chris Wrobelewski poured in 12 points in Cornell's tournament victory over heavily-favored Wisconsin; he's an experienced starter and a 45 percent shooter from deep. Of course, there's no room on the perimeter if there's nobody banging inside, so the fact that 6-foot-9 returnees Aaron Osgood and Josh Figini showed nothing last year (even against Penn State-Behrend) is a major problem.

The impact of the incoming recruiting class is tough to figure. Even in the best of times, Cornell never had any buzz about prospects, and this year is no different. 6-foot-3 point guard Dominic Scelfo is the highest-rated recruit to sign with the Big Red, and he's rated No. 173 at his position. The Cornell Basketball Blog calls Canadian recruit Manny Sahota a "gem", but he's still one notch above No. 200 when compared to other small forwards of his class. That's the reality of the situation for Ivy teams, even those who ended the season ranked in the top-25: kids don't choose Cornell to play basketball; they hope to become Supreme Court justices and titans of industry despite spending valuable study time on the hardwood.

With no stars returning, and precious little practical experience alloted to even the remaining upperclassmen, Courtney's team is bound to struggle. Harvard or Penn may win the league this year, but there's no doubt Cornell has something to build on. After all, who else can show a hoops-loving future spinal surgeon a DVD of a Sweet 16 run?"


Anonymous said...

Even more damaging to ESPN/O'Neil's Ivy credibility is that he doesn't mention that Princeton will be in the title mix with, and quite likely favored over, Harvard and Penn, in the pre-season voting.

The research is easy to do these days. I wonder what gives with his editors.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Very true, Princeton will likely be the media's preseason favorite, yet they give no mention to the Tigers.

Anonymous said...

In an earlier Rumor Central post about the Ivy League next year, they actually gave the nod to Brown. Rumor Central is curious.

Nevertheless, they're the only ones to mention Penn for next year, which I buy more than Princeton, unless Jerome Allen turns out to be awful. Fitzpatrick makes it seem like there's no system there at Penn.

Penn and Harvard have the most highly rated recruiting classes; seeing as the Rumor Central person obviously took a look at recruiting rosters, that's probably where he got the Penn and Harvard from.

Anonymous said...

Penn 2010-11 has many question marks. The Quakers only return three contributing players without health issues (Rosen, EgglestonJ, Monkton). Six experienced returnees had injuries that cost them multiple games or the whole 09-10 season. If all come back at full speed, I like the Quakers to contend. But... all will not return at full speed. That's the just how it happens with injuries. Some, but not all, will make it back at 100%.

As for frosh, last year was so typical. Both Harvard and Brown relied on three frosh each. And the frosh played very well... for frosh. Neither team ended up in the title hunt. That's the way it is with groups of freshmen. They need to learn.

If/when a significant number of Penn's injured returnees don't make it back in full health and Coach Allen ends up relying on three or more frosh, the Quakers will not contend.

Anonymous said...

I think Princeton HAS to be the early favorite, they played us close twice last year and didn't lose anyone of note, unlike us with the Big 3 and Harvard with Lin. Also had that very strong CIT performance and Hummer should have a better year 2. My pick, though, is Harvard, just because their recruiting class should make up for what they lost with Lin and I expect Wright and Casey, and maybe even Curry to develop into Ivy first-teamers. Penn wouldn't shock me either, they've got the best player in the conference in Rosen, Eggleton is very good inside, we'll see what they get from Bernadini but Cartwright as a recruit should help them as well.

Anonymous said...

Princeton's point guard graduated. He was steady, solid, effective, and (yes) unnoted [by most].

They have noone obvious to replace him. It is virtually certain that the Tigers will open the season with a starting PG who has no D-1 experience. Given the nature of their offense, this leaves them with a huge question mark.

Anonymous said...

Even though Wrobo is the only returning starter, I think everyone is selling this team short. The non-starters; Wire, Peck, etc got plenty of playing time, and would have started on most other Ivy teams.
P.S. Have to really disagree with Anon 12:36 that Rosen is the best player in the conference. Maybe top 5. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Who was Princeton's pointguard?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The guys we like as player of the year candidates are Noruwha Ago, Matt Sullivan, Kyle Casey, Christian Webster, Max Groebe, Errick Peck and Anthony Gatlin.

Rosen's numbers were inflated a year ago from playing for a real bad team.

There are some very good Princeton players, but hard for that team to generate enough offense to support a player to win the Player of the Year honor.

Anonymous said...

Princeton's PG was senior Marcus Schroeder. He averaged 3RPG, 3APG, 5PPG, and an A/TO of 2:1, while leading the team, playing 32 minutes/game.

Fans get spoiled by looking at the numbers that guys like Dale and Rosen put up. 3APG and 5PPG in the Tigers' miserable excuse for an offense is like 5APG and 8PPG anywhere else. These are very respectable numbers for an Ivy 1.

Schroeder will be missed.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Also widely considered Princeton's best defender.

Anonymous said...

I like most of those POY names, except that I don't see soph Matt Sullivan getting any POY calls in 2010-11.

However, if you're talking big bro Peter, he (with Jack Eggleston and Michael Sands) are the three top returning junior PFs. Peter Sullivan came on strong in the latter part of the 09-10 league season with some nice performances. I do think he would have to lead Brown to a double digit league-W season to be considered.

If Princeton wins the league, and Douglas Davis rings up his customary numbers, he will be a serious candidate. A 6RPG, 14PPG season from Ian Hummer on a league-winning Tiger squad could do it, too.

If Penn gets healthy and competes until the final weekend, and Zach Rosen does something like he did in 2009-10, he will also get big mention. But, truthfully, if Penn keeps all those healthy bodies out on the court, Coach Allen will rely less on Rosen.

Has a player who has never seen a minute of league action ever been named POY? There have been a few new guys named First-Team All-Ivy (Maloney, McCord), but I don't know about POY.

Anonymous said...

I think Wright has to be considered strongly in that junior PF group with Eggleston, Sands, and Sullivan; he was on his way to a breakout year before the injury. And didn't Davis play a lot of point for Princeton?

Anonymous said...

Wright is a good nominee. He must recover over the summer and then stay healthy.

You're right. When Schroeder was resting, Davis played PG.

However, Schroeder, Davis, and Mavraides all played more than 30min/g, so Schroeder was at PG the huge majority of the time.

Davis's A/TO ratio was a stunning 0.55. Both he and Mavraides are actually natural 2's, but the three-guard situation seemed to work for the Tigers. If they can find a PG, they're going to be tough again this year.