Friday, July 16, 2010

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Friday...
  • A question for Cornell basketball fans out there: What would be sweeter, surprising the country and winning the Ivy League title in 2010-2011 or winning it back in 2007-2008?
  • Speaking of alums, Cornell alumni play professional basketball next season will include the following:
-Jon Jaques ('10) -Ironi Ashkelon, Israel, Israel Basketball Super League
-Ryan Wittman ('10)-TBA (summer league with NY Knicks/Boston Celtics)
-Jeff Foote ('10)-Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel, Israel Basketball Super League
-Louis Dale ('10)-BG Göttingen, Germany, Budesliga
-Jason Hartford ('08)-Casino Figueira Ginasio, Portugal, Liga Portugal Basketball
-Cody Toppert ('05)-Plymouth Raiders, U.K., British Basketball League
-Jeff Aubry ('99)-Aericibo Capitanes, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Basketball League
-John McCord ('97)-Limoges, France, French Pro B League

What Cornell did last season -- advancing to the Sweet 16 -- is a modern miracle. In the modern age of recruiting, Ivy League schools are at a serious disadvantage, even when compared to other mid-majors, so Steve Donahue's ability to build an effective team in upstate New York was impressive indeed.

Donahue is off to BC now, so the stage really belongs to his nearest rival from last season, Tommy Amaker. Amaker had Harvard in the hunt behind the heroics of Jeremy Lin, but was never able to snatch the Ivy title away from the Big Red.

This season, he's done everything he can to get over that hump. While none of his six incoming frosh is ranked in the top-25 at his position, it's worth noting that four of them are positional top-100, which is pretty darn good for a team like the Crimson. Aside from that, Amaker should be able to dominate the Ancient Eight on sheer height alone. Ugo Okam and Monty Brown are both over 6-foot-10, and even Amaker's guards are coming in at 6-foot-2 or taller. It's an uncommon advantage in the Ivy.

Amaker is also returning his second-leading scorer in rising soph Kyle Casey, and another giant: 6-foot-10, 235-lb. Andrew Van Nest. Brandyn Curry could be the real key, as it will likely be his job to run the offense in his second season. That job could also fall to junior Oliver McNally, or the two might share time.

Amaker has projected overwhelming force onto the Ivy League scene for the upcoming season. We would be very surprised indeed if the former Dukie did not win the Ivy championship going away. The only question is, will he be able to get a regular seed, or will Harvard be one of the 'First Four' in the initial year of the 68-team tournament?


Anonymous said...

Harvard's (and everyone else's) road to the 2010-11 Ivy League basketball championship goes through Princeton.

Anonymous said...

What about Ryan Rourke?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Rourke did not play last year.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Our vote will likely be for Harvard in the media poll.

Yes, Princeton swept the Crimson last year. But Keith Wright missed both games, and Van Nest missed one game.

Anonymous said...

It would be absolutely terrific if we are able to win our 4th league championship in a row, this time with a relatively new team and coaching staff.

However, winning the first championship in 20 seasons in '07-'08, and as a bonus, doing it in 14-0 fashion is tough to top.

Anonymous said...

Keith Wright played 20 minutes in the second game at Princeton:

Anonymous said...

The '08 winning the Ivy was better for me;it was historic. At this point I just think being in serious contention to win the Ivy should just be standard.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Correct, Wright just missed one of the games, while Van Nest missed both of them. So PU faced a depleted Harvard frontline.

Anonymous said...

"Wizards assistant Randy Wittman was sitting next to me and I asked flat out 'is this kid going to make someone's roster?'

His reply: 'I LIKE him.'"

Come on, BRF. Even Randy Wittman likes Jeremy Lin!

desertjim said...

impossible to say who will win the ivy crown next. cornell,princeton and harvard will battle. 10 wins may take the title

Anonymous said...

Well, Cornell faced a depleted Harvard frontcourt, too. Knock off the passive-aggressive hate -- it's Ivy b-ball and you went to the Sweet 16!! Relax and enjoy!

It's funny how you bash Harvard's talent in favor of Princeton when it suits you and then bash Princeton's talent in favor of Harvard if that helps you in context. Between Cornell having a rebuilding year, losing recruits to Brown and others, and Jeremy Lin (whom you resent for some reason) suddenly weighing NBA contracts, you must really be having a rotten summer.

Anonymous said...

Van Nest being out actually improves Harvard's chances. Dude's terrible.

That being said, I still take Harvard this year; even though they lost Lin their recruiting class is so much better than Princeton's that I think it'll make up for him. That kid Rivard can supposedly really play. Plus having Wright healthy + expected improvement of Casey/Curry/Webster should help a lot.

Anonymous said...

I know people in here tend to hate on Jeremy Lin, but I think we should pause to give some recognition that he's about to make an NBA roster. That's good for everyone in our league.

Anonymous said...

A little off this particular subject, but I think there are over 100 pix of the Wisconsin game at this URL.

SI really outdid itself on our behalf!
I haven't seen this referenced here before.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit harsh to use the word "hate". I know I personally just get tired that if we don't mention Lin, we get accused of being jealous; if we try to preempt the accusations by talking about Lin whenever praising one of our guys, and fail to call Lin the best thing since sliced bread, we get accused of being jealous. It's a no-win situation. It's like we're not allowed to just not care.

Anonymous said...

It's fine you don't mention Lin -- this is a Cornell blog after all. It's just that BRF and others go out of their way to swipe at him. You want to knock Harvard's recruiting practices? -- go ahead. They deserve it.

But there's no reason to say things like (paraphrasing our glorious mod here): "Lin is just a media invention whose mom make cute t-shirts at games and hasn't ever won a title [as if Wittman could have won his titles without Dale and Foote et al.]" The guy can play and he's not a jerk. Back off the insults and back-handed comments -- it makes you look bad considering he's about to ink an NBA contract.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We have nothing against Lin. We have issue with Harvard and its rules violations, starting with the A.D.

Anonymous said...

I recall many Cornell commenters saying they knew Lin had a better chance to be signed.

Essentially, I for one thought he was talented, one of the best players in the league but not THE best, but had the best chance to be signed due to being very talented and having the added value of marketability.

But if you didn't say he was THE best, you were assaulted by Hartards.

I never compared Lin to Witt or Foote, but I oft thought Louis Dale to be the best guard in the Ivy. Yet to a Hartard, how on earth could Dale be the best guard when Lin was getting the NBA's attention? To them it was the sole indicator of talent. What else could they point to? Certainly not his A/T ratio.

I expected Dale to be overlooked because sometimes talented players simply are, or they are worried too short, or not what a team is looking for, or something, I don't know, but anyone who didn't think Dale was the best guard in the Ivy wasn't watching. He even managed to shine amongst 5 UK Sequoias while much of the rest of the team was frenzied, managed 17 pts when few others could produce.

Of course now you will argue that Lin simply had more turnovers and all these worse indicators because he was surrounded by a less talented group, but he still has the same flaws in SL, so I won't buy a counterargument I'm sure is ensuing of "Lin was better, Dale couldn't have been so good without Witt or Foote" etc, which you implied in the above comment.

We know Lin is going getting his dreams, good on him, he's talented, but some of us still honestly believed some of our guys were truly great,and just wanted to think it in peace without requiring Lin disclaimers.

Anonymous said...

To the Lin fan - I think everyone here wants Ivy players to do well once they graduate. But the fact is that he didn't really impress in the games he played at Cornell, where most of the fans are based. And he never won POTY in the league, when Cornell had 2 winners during the same 4 years.

This past season @ Cornell: 19 points (6-9fg, 7-8ft), but only 1 ast and 8 TOs; and his team lost by 36.

2008-2009 @ Cornell: 11 pts, 0 asts, 8 TOs

Should we really be blamed for not being impressed by a combined 1 Ast and 16 TOs?

Anonymous said...

Arg... Blog, I just submitted a comment in which I really shouldn't have referred to Harvard kids as "Hartards", can you NOT post the lengthy comment I just submitted? I meant it more to the ones that act like douches than their fans in general.

Anonymous said...


Nine of the previous 61 Ivy League coaches won titles in their first year at the helm, and a tenth forced the champion to sweep a final road weekend to keep his team out of the top spot. Success can be had, but...

Like Cornell’s Coach Courtney, five inherited championship teams. However, few coaches came without some familiarity with the Ivy League. All inherited considerably more players with experience on a league-winning team than does Coach Courtney.

History suggests that it will be a tall order for the Big Red to compete for, much less win, a fourth consecutive title.

mrjames said...

Obviously, the NBA is looking for different skill sets or places stronger emphasis on certain skill sets than those which would define the best player in college ball. So, merely relying on "this is the best NBA prospect, thus he is the best college player" argument often falls flat.

It is equally fallacious, however, to merely look at one or two games and disqualify a player on those grounds.

Lin is one of just two players since the 02-03 season to record back to back seasons of an offensive rating above 100, Pts Prod/g above 15.0 and EFG% above 55% - three key metrics to assess offensive potency and efficiency. The other was Ibby Jaaber.

Lin had monster junior and senior years, while Dale and Wittman had the better careers. The latter were both helped and hindered by being on a team with three guys who were all weapons at the college level. Buoyed all of their efficiency stats (being on a generally efficient offense will do that), but kept any of the three from really being able to shine on their own.

As a freshman and sophomore, I would have rather had Dale. Junior year, I would have taken any of Dale, Barnett or Lin. But senior year, I would have built my team around Lin.

Anonymous said...

All this bickering about Jeremy Lin is demeaning to Ivy-educated fans. The past is the past. I agree that Louis Dale is THE best pro prospect. I wrote Donnie Walsh about this. The Knicks being the Knicks ignored my letter.

As for most satisfying season '07-08 has to be the best. That being said, I think Cornell will win next year. The returning players are very good, if as yet unheralded. Anonymous, Cornell '59

Anonymous said...

Is it surprising that Lin played poorly against Cornell when he had no real support on his team? We pretty much focused our game on shutting Lin down, which we executed pretty well. Meanwhile, Cornell has 3 players good enough to play in Europe so it's not shocking that we beat the snot out of Harvard.

If you put Lin on Cornell, I guarantee he would have made us a better team than if we only had Louis. Louis is good, but Lin is just a better overall player, which we have seen over the last 5 summer league games. Just because Louis has won POY doesn't mean he's a better player. He won because he was on an Ivy League winning team and benefitted from having better teammates.

And yes, Louis did well against Kentucky. But Lin played against Wall, too. Lin had 11 in the 4th quarter while Wall was guarding him. Wall also went 0-4 while Lin was guarding him. There's a reason Lin got 3 NBA contract offers immediately after that game and Louis is going to Europe.

Anonymous said...

I believe McCord's team advanced to Pro A in France based on the results this season. But I don't know if McCord is going back.