Tuesday, June 22, 2010

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Tuesday...

  • WVBR reminds Cornell fans of tonight's open meeting with Cornell head coach, Bill Courtney. Come out and meet the new coach of the Big Red.
  • GoldenStateOfMind writes about playing against Cornell, "To me, Cornell is like a huge, overwhelming workout testing your fundamentals and basketball IQ. No, it's not a direct correlation to the NBA game, but it does tell you if you're more of an athlete or more of a basketball player."
  • Penn will face Army in an early 12 pm matinee at the Meadowlands prior to the tip-off of the day's headlining Duke-Butler game. Army is coached by former Cornell assistant Zach Spiker and is assisted by former Cornell players, Ka'ron Barnes ('04) and Kevin App ('07).

Ryan Wittman has worked for the Wolves before, and he's hoping he'll get another shot.

The Eden Prairie High grad, a ballboy when his father Randy was the team's assistant coach, worked out for the current coaching staff on Monday, an audition he hopes for one of the team's second-round picks.

"This is a comfortable gym for me," said the 6-foot-4 Cornell guard, who helped lead the Big Red into the Sweet 16 last March. "I spent most of my life here, so it would be a cool experience."

Ryan Wittman feels right at home during pre-draft workout for Timberwolves Wolves have son of former coach in for a workout

When Ryan Wittman entered Target Center on Monday morning, no one had to give him directions to the Timberwolves' locker room or the team's practice facility. Wittman has known those locations for years as a former Wolves ball boy and the son of former Wolves coach Randy Wittman.

Ryan Wittman, who helped lead Cornell to its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA tournament in late March, was flown in for a workout with the Wolves — the team that employed his father as an assistant for five seasons and a head coach for 124 games.

The Wolves are the last team Wittman is scheduled to work out for before Thursday night's NBA draft. Monday's session was the most nostalgic for Wittman, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who starred at Eden Prairie High School.

"This is a comfortable gym for me," Wittman said of the Wolves' practice facility. "I can remember coming in here when I was a little kid, playing on this court after Wolves games and shooting baskets with my father."

The father-and-son shooting drills were so effective that Wittman ultimately became Cornell's all-time leading scorer with 2,028 career points. He averaged 17.8 points per game during Cornell's memorable 29-4 season that ended with a 62-45 loss to Kentucky in an NCAA East Regional semifinal in March.

Cornell was the first Ivy League school to advance to the Sweet 16 since Penn in 1979, and the tournament run gave Wittman national exposure and helped boost his draft potential.

Wolves have five picks in the draft: Nos. 4, 16 and 23 in the first round and Nos. 45 and 56 in the second.

Wittman's shooting ability is his primary asset to earn consideration on draft night.

"Teams will look at him as a specialty player who can come off the bench and make shots," Tony Ronzone, the Wolves' new assistant general manager/player personnel, said of Wittman.

"He definitely knows what's going on. He comes from a coaching family, and all sons of coaches can shoot it."

Wittman, who graduated in May with a degree in applied economics and management, set a Cornell single-season record with 109 three-pointers last season and holds the Ivy League record for career three-pointers with 377.

All Wittman has to do is get used to a deeper three-point line.

The NBA's three-point arc is 23 feet, 9 inches from the basket compared with 20 feet, 9 inches in college.

Wittman has worked out for New York and Sacramento and participated in a combine at the New Jersey Nets' facility that was attended by scouts from numerous NBA teams.

Wittman also had a workout with Washington, where his father is an assistant to coach Flip Saunders, but said he didn't get any special treatment during that session because of his family name and isn't expecting any Thursday night.

He tried his best to leave the sentimental factor out of Monday's workout with the Wolves.

"This wasn't uncomfortable for me," Wittman said. "I knew coming in here I might see some familiar faces. I viewed today as another workout, not as a place where my dad used to work. I'm not doing this for him. This is my experience."
    From a CBS News in Minneapolis:

June 21, 2010

The Timberwolves have several off-season decisions with the upcoming draft and free agency.

That's why they continue to bring in college prospects for workouts.

And on Monday, there was a Minnesota and a Timberwolves flavor in the group.

And on Monday, there was a Minnesota and a Timberwolves flavor in the group.

He missed a last-second shot to send his Eden Prairie High School team to the state tournament. But he didn't miss often as part of the darling story of the NCAA Tournament, shooting his Cornell team into the Sweet 16 and turning some heads.

"Obviously it was a great experience for us," said Ryan Wittman. "I think everyone else kind of thought it was a surprise but it was something we expected, to be honest. Going into that last year, we expected to be in the Sweet 16."

The irony is the gym he is trying out in is also the gym Ryan Wittman learned a lot about the game of basketball. That's, of course what happens when you father is Randy Wittman, the head coach of the Timberwolves.

Randy Wittman was released as head coach in 2008. But it's that father that instilled in his son what it takes.

"Always to play with confidence, always stay aggressive," Ryan Wittman said, of what his father taught him about the game. "And just pretty much that. Don't try to do too much. Do what you do well."

He is a long shot to get drafted, although he's had several try outs, but that's not the goal. And it could be interesting, if the pure shooter shoots his way to a shot with the team he once served as a ball boy for -- the Timberwolves.

"It would be pretty cool. I've spent almost my whole life here. Been to a ton of Timberwolves games obviously, just been around this organization a lot, followed them growing up," he said. "It'd be a cool experience."


Anonymous said...

Two questions --

1) Did anyone go to the Coaches event? Did Courtney discuss his goals and expectations for next year?

2) Does anyone know how to get a tape of the Cornell @ Columbia game? It's not listed on their site. I emailed some address and got no response. If any Columbian is lurking and has a SideLion subscription, can you tell me if a video (not audio) version of the game is in there? Thnx.

Anonymous said...

Also, the final 7:30 of the Columbia @ Cornell game provides an interesting look at the returning players in action for an extended period of time. It's not very encouraging as it is a 20-10 Columbia run, but it's maybe more telling than watching them against Div II Clarkson, where the frosh played misleadingly well.

From 7:30 to 3:30, especially, it is five returning Cornellians (Wire, Peck, Groebe, Miles, & Coury) against non-bench Columbia players. It's an 8-3 run for Columbia, with Groebe missing 3 shots.

The next 2 minutes is Groebe, Coury, Chemerinski, Miles with one senior (Wilkins). Groebe seems to have found his stride and sinks two treys. It's a 7-6 Columbia run.

In the final 1:45, both teams empty the bench; McMillan, Reynolds, Gray, Aro, Chemerinski all come on + a bunch of Columbia freshmen, and the game devolves into a mess that is also a 5-1 Columbia run.

Wire and Miles looked good. Coury is usually better. Groebe was 2 out of 6 from three but was still responsible for the bulk of our points in the last 7 minutes and will clearly be essential next year.

Of course former ROY Wroblewski was not represented in the last 7 minutes, and was resting after scoring Cornell's first 8 points of the game and finishing with 13, tied with Witt as leading scorer for that game.

Anonymous said...

Also might be interested in last 4 or so minutes of Yale @ Cornell game, again with returning players excluding Wrobo. I think Yale outscores them 11-5, mostly because Miles and Groebe miss a bunch of shots, but Peck and Aro look really good. Peck displays a sweet spin move. Aro plays like he hasn't spent the year on the bench, grabbing 2 or 3 rebounds in little more than a minute of play and making a sweet-looking jumper from almost at the arc. Barry Leonard + the other guy praise him effusively.