Thursday, July 8, 2010

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes...

  • It has been a busy summer for Cornell's class of 2010. Four players have signed professional contracts-- Ryan Wittman (summer contracts with Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, representation by Mark Termini Associates Inc.), Jeff Foote (Israel-Maccabi Tel Aviv), Louis Dale (Germany-BG Göttingen, representation by World Wide Hoops) and Jon Jaques (Israel-Ironi Ashkelon, representation by Macklin and Lovett).
  • Dale's signing with BG Göttingenin, a member of Germany's elite pro league, the Bundesliga, is reported on the league's official site.
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, "Cornell basketball star Ryan Wittman, who played at Eden Prairie while his father was coaching with the Timberwolves, wasn't drafted, but the Celtics snapped him up for their summer league team. Wittman was the Ivy League player of the year and led Cornell to the NCAA's Sweet 16."
  • Cornell Athletics formally announced the hiring of assistant coach Ricky Yahn. The press release is as follows:
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell head men's basketball coach Bill Courtney rounded out his first coaching staff with the hiring of Ricky Yahn. Yahn will join Marlon Sears and Jay Larranaga as the Big Red searches for its fourth straight Ivy League crown.

Yahn spent the 2009-10 season as the video coordinator at George Mason University under Larranaga's father, GMU head coach Jim Larranaga. Yahn had previously spent one season on the sidelines at Saint Vincent College. after playing professionally in England and Buffalo, N.Y.

Yahn played at Wheeling Jesuit University where he was a two-year captain. He led the team to a pair of NCAA tournaments, including a league title in 2005. Yahn was named team most valuable player and was a first-team all-league pick before graduating with a degree in psychology in 2007.

The 2009-10 Patriots went 17-15 and were 12-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association, good enough for third in the always competitive CAA. George Mason earned an invitation to the CIT, the program's third straight postseason appearance.

In his only season at Saint Vincent, Yahn helped the squad rebound from a 14-11 campaign the year before to go 22-4.
  • The Ithaca Journal reports on Yahn's hiring and on Wittman's summer league performance with the Celtics:
Cornell men's basketball coach Bill Courtney has rounded out his coaching staff with the hiring of Ricky Yahn, the school announced Wednesday.

Yahn joins Marlon Sears and Jay Larranaga as assistant coaches on Courtney's staff.

Yahn spent last season as the video coordinator at George Mason University under Larranaga's father, head coach Jim Larranaga. Yahn previously spent one season as an assistant at Saint Vincent College after playing professionally in England and in Buffalo.

Yahn played at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia where he was a two-year captain. He led the team to a pair of NCAA tournaments, including a league title in 2005. Yahn was named the team's most valuable player and was a first-team all-league pick before graduating with a degree in psychology in 2007.

George Mason went 17-15 last season and finished with a 12-6 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association.

In his only season at Saint Vincent, Yahn helped the team rebound from a 14-11 season the year before to end with a 22-4 record.

Courtney was introduced as the Big Red's men's basketball coach on April 23. He took over for Steve Donahue, who left for Boston College. Cornell has won three consecutive Ivy League titles.

Wittman update

Recent Cornell grad Ryan Wittman was held scoreless Wednesday in the Boston Celtics' 92-71 win Wednesday over the Charlotte Bobcats in a AirTran Always Pro Summer League game in Orlando, Fla.

Wittman finished 0-for-2 from the field with three assists and a blocked shot in just over 20 minutes of action.

The Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers at 3 p.m. Thursday.
  • Dime Magazine lists all of the undrafted free agents participating in NBA summer leagues, including Cornell's Wittman.
  • For those who missed the news during the holiday weekend, the NCAA determined that Harvard committed secondary violations in connection with conversations with prospective recruits in the summer of 2007 during an NCAA regulated non-contact period. The conversation involved current Assistant Coach Kenny Blakeney and other members of the Harvard coaching staff, including Head Coach, Tommy Amaker. Although Amaker previously declared during the 2008-09 Ivy League Media Day that the accusations, "were proven wrong," Harvard is now subject to recruiting limits for the 2010-2011 academic year. See news stories of Harvard's NCAA violations on ESPN, and YahooSports.
  • Israeli media source, reports on Jaques' signing with Ironi Ashkelon:
Ironi Ashkelon has signed recent Cornell University graduate Jon Jaques to a one-year contract. The 6'7", 220-pound Jewish-American forward averaged 6.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists last season at Cornell as the Big Red made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 only to fall to second-seed Kentucky. Last month, Jaques' Cornell teammate Jeff Foote signed a three-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Harvard basketball fans who still awake from nightmares of Cornell nearly forty-piecing the Crimson last winter can rest assured that at least two members of the Big Red’s Big Three will be playing far, far away from Lavietes Pavilion next winter. After working out for a handful of NBA teams, seven-footer Jeff Foote signed with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, a top club team in Europe. Meanwhile, point guard Louis Dale tweeted that he signed with the club BG Göttingen, which plays in Germany’s top division.

But sharpshooter Ryan Wittman (the one who didn’t seem to miss a three when the Big Red came to Cambridge in February) could be playing right across the river: he's currently trying to crack the Boston Celtics’ roster as a member of their summer league squad playing in Orlando. Can you think of anyone else better suited to be the face of the franchise in four years when Paul Pierce’s contract expires?

  • Jeff Aubry (Cornell '99) and his Arecibo Capitanes captured the Puerto Rico Basketball League championship on July 3. Below, Aubry and his teammates celebrate in a victory parade. Aubry was named first team all-league after averaging nearly 11 points and 13 rebounds per game. He is a former NBA D-League player with the Florida Flame and Fayetteville Patriots.

  • Rush the Court writes, "Behold, the power of KenPom. On his blog, Mr. Pomeroy lists the ten most unlikely wins of last season in a two-part post, but don’t be surprised if you don’t remember a lot of them. It’s a great read, and the statistics add to the wonderment, but this is not necessarily a list of big upsets like Pennsylvania over Cornell, or Northern Iowa over Kansas. By “unlikely wins,” he means games in which one team got down by a large amount and had an incredibly low probability of coming back to win, but did. Great stuff as usual."
Above, Jeff Aubru ('99) with the Arecibo Capitanes of the PBL.


Anonymous said...

The blog deserves a lot of credit for keeping the truth out there about Amaker's recruiting violations. Consistently.

How much heat did the Blog have to take during the season for being a Harvard Hater?

Houseman, where are your cute little comments now?

The truth is the truth, and Harvard should be embarrassed.

Character wins titles. Unfortunately, Harvard won't be able to recruit character until Amaker leaves.

Anonymous said...

Housman is wasting away on a crappy 2nd division Israeli team

q'nis said...

"Character wins titles"

-Reggie Bush, the '04 Red Sox and Michael Irvin disagree.

Anonymous said...

Man, I don't think anyone around here hates anyone else in the Ivy League. We're all in the business of getting better... and looking at the facts and the on-court record. Both are there in black-and-white.

Tommy Amaker's accomplishments in the Ivy League over the past three years are clear. To be sure, he just coached the Crimson to their first-ever 20+W season. That's good stuff! He inherited an all-Ivy athlete (Lin) to build around, and surrounded him with some of the league's top talent.

Nonetheless, when facing the Ivy's top-tier coaches with all that talent, he came up short. He has not beaten Princeton's Coach Johnson in a regulation-length game, had only a single one-point win over Cornell's Donohue, and is even with Yale's Coach Jones. Amaker remains a sub-.500 coach inside the league.

At this point, it is apparent that Coach does not get top team-level, game-time performances from his players. Whether it is a weak conditioning/preparation program, lousy game-time strategy, or the aforementioned 'character' that is the issue, is unclear. His best hope on that front appears to be having up-and-coming assistants who are hired for a couple years to take advantage of their skills in those areas.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:33 -- Completely agreed. Back in January when the blog insisted that Harvard hadn't been cleared by the NCAA, the blogger was abused, there were 30+ comments, even Cornellians were like "get over it, the case is closed". I'm surprised by the crickets that accompanied recent revelations. Releasing the news on the day before a long weekend probably helped considerably.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Amaker and Johnson are both good coaches with good teams but there was little to be done in the face of one of the best teams in the country last year. I mean Temple and Wisconsin had been ranked all year and they looked helpless. Maybe the rest of the league had to just wait for the Big 3 to graduate and their inability to deal with them was not a sign of poor coaching.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4:36
Maybe so, but Johnson's Tigers controlled Harvard pretty well in a couple tight wins and dueled mighty Cornell to a couple 3pt nailbiters this year.

OTOH, for whatever reason, Amaker's Crimson also never seriously threatened Cornell in their 2009-10 games.

Harvard had some injuries for their Princeton games, but the overall body of work suggests [to me, anyway] that Johnson was the better coach.