Friday, July 9, 2010

Ithaca Journal Covers Offseason Big Red Activity

Below, a pair of articles from Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal. Above, Cornell's Adam Wire.

It's good to be back from vacation. Feeling energized, with Empire State Games, Jets camp and the fall seasons right around the corner.

Caught up with Jon Jaques and Louis Dale today, both of whom agreed to pro contracts overseas. Jaques signed with Ironi Ashkelon, which plays in Israel's top league. Dale inked with BG Goettingen, which plays in the German Basketball Bundisliga. Both were one-year deals.

Some reaction from both players:

Dale - "What's fun about it is we're all real excited to have this opportunity to travel and play the game we love, and just see a different part of the world." Dale said BG Goettingen plays a pressing, up-tempo style similar to Missouri, which bounced Cornell from the 2009 NCAA tournament. The Club won the 2010 EuroChallenge title in May, led by former Bucknell standout Chris McNaughton. McNaughton, however, recently signed on with another team. Dale said coach John Patrick told him he wants a point guard that can score and set up his teammates - pretty much what the country saw Dale do in the 2010 tournament.

Jaques - "It's wild. I think part of the reason I was so (initially) resistant to playing was that until two, three months ago, I never thought of myself as a pro basketball player. Now it's kind of unbelievable. Being paid to play basketball, basically have a job playing basketball. So many people would kill for it; it's pretty remarkable." Jaques said Steve Donahue had told him that he'd have a good opportunity to sign with an Israeli team because of his Jewish heritage, and that's exactly what's transpired. Jaques said he'll be about a 40-minute drive from Jeff Foote's Maccabi Tel-Aviv team, if Foote makes that club's roster right away. There have been reports that Tel-Aviv would loan Foote out for a year for developmental purposes.

Dale and Jaques also chimed in on the LeBron situation - because honestly, at this point, who hasn't? - Dale felt LeBron would definitely not go to Cleveland; Jaques said King James will pull a fast one on the country and stay in Cleveland. In about 2 hours, we'll all know the answer.

As for Cornell in 2010-11, Jaques reiterated what several teammates and former coaches have already publicly stated - that the Big Red's question mark next season will be experience, not talent, when it comes to potentially winning a fourth straight title.

"Definitely enough talent to win a league championship," Jaques said.

He went on to say Anthony Gatlin, a 6-8 bouncy combo forward, can be a matchup problem for Ivy opponents. "He's going to cause so many problems for opponents because of his length and athleticism," Jaques said. "It's something you don't see a lot of in the Ivy League. Seeing him work out in the gym and the weight room, he's gotten so much stronger in the last year, and he's a pretty skilled player. When he adds that strength to his game, he's going to be a hard matchup."


Recent Cornell graduates Louis Dale and Jon Jaques have finalized plans, like former teammate Jeff Foote, to continue their basketball careers overseas.

Dale signed a one-year contract with the club team BG Goettingen, which competes in the Basketball Bundesliga, Germany's highest level of professional basketball.

Jaques signed a one-year deal with Ironi Ashkelon of Israel's top league. He'll potentially have the opportunity to play against Foote, who signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv a couple weeks ago.

"It's wild," Jaques said by phone Thursday from his hometown of Los Angeles. "I think part of the reason I was so (initially) resistant to playing was that until two, three months ago, I never thought of myself as a pro basketball player. Now it's kind of unbelievable. Being paid to play basketball, basically have a job playing basketball. So many people would kill for it. It's pretty remarkable."

Dale, 22, who's stayed in Ithaca since graduating, plans on returning to his own hometown, Birmingham Ala., at the end of the month, before departing for Germany sometime before his reporting date of Aug. 23.

BG Goettingen won the 2010 EuroChallenge Championship in May, and coach John Patrick plays a pressing, up-tempo style similar to Mike Anderson at Missouri, Dale said. The club is located in Goettingen, Niedersachsen.

"What's fun about it is we're all real excited to have this opportunity to travel and play the game we love, and just see a different part of the world," Dale said. "Especially for Jon and Jeff, they'll be playing against each other, which will be pretty interesting for them, I'm sure."

Dale drew interest from other club teams in Australia and Belgium, but said Goettingen was the best fit. The 5-foot-11 point guard was electric during Cornell's run to the Sweet 16 in the 2010 NCAA tournament, averaging 23.5 points in three games -- wins over Temple and Wisconsin, and a loss to Kentucky.

Jaques didn't enter Steve Donahue's rotation until his senior year, when injuries opened the door for the 6-7 swing forward. Jaques kicked the door down, as his three-point shooting and defense transformed the Big Red into a more potent team. Jaques said that when the season ended, Donahue and his staff informed him he had a good shot to catch on with an Israeli team because of his Jewish heritage.

"For me it's one year at a time," Jaques said. "I'm not really planning on making a career out of this. Right now it's a window in my life where I'd regret not doing it if I decided to pass this up. It's a part of the world I haven't been to and am interested in seeing."
Wittman update

In the NBA's Orlando Summer League on Thursday, Indiana rallied from a 27-point halftime deficit to beat Boston, 86-85.

Former Cornell standout Ryan Wittman, who is dressing for Boston's team, played just over 16 minutes and scored three points. He had two rebounds, an assist, a steal and no turnovers.

Wittman and the Celtics wrap up play in Orlando at noon today against New Jersey. Wittman will also play on New York's Las Vegas Summer League team. The Vegas schedule goes from July 9-18.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon Jacques following in the foot steps of Brent Fisher '98, who also played in Israel (without counting as a foreigner/American).