Thursday, July 15, 2010

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Thursday evening...
  • The Wall Street Journal writes, "LAS VEGAS—The Knicks loaded up their roster for the NBA Summer League this week at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. With 17 players dressing for each game, folding chairs are in short supply. But with a few notable exceptions, most of these young players will never sniff an actual NBA game, let alone see the inside of the home locker room at Madison Square Garden. Was it a bad omen for Ryan Wittman, a rookie guard from Cornell, when he showed up and the name on the back of the jersey was "Whittman"? Las Vegas is an audition for many unsung players like him, and the odds are long. The games are serious, but everyone tends to know the deal."
  • (a Minnesota Timberwolves blog) writes about its day at the Las Vegas Summer League watching the Knicks in action. The site writes, "Poor Ryan Wittman could not even get his name spelled correctly on his jersey (spelled Whittman), even though his dad was in attendance."

Exclusive Interview With Louis Dale (BG Goettingen) Looking To Make An Impact As A Rookie In The BEKO BBL

Louis Dale is a 22 year old 180cm point guard from Birmingham, Alabama that will be playing his BEKO BBL rookie season with BG Goettingen. He played at Cornell from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and played 31 games averaging 12.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 85.3%. He won the Ivy league championship in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was All-Ivy League 1st Team 2008, 2009, and 2010. He was All-Ivy League Player of the Year in 2008. He took some time to talk to german hoops about basketball and coming to Germany to play professional basketball.

Louis, thanks for taking some time to talk to german hoops. What is the first thing that you think about when you hear the word Germany?

The first thing that comes to mind are Bratwursts; I don’t think I’ve really eaten it before but I’m sure i’ll try it once I’m in Germany.

What do you know about Germany and what besides coming to BG Goettingen are you looking forward to see in Germany?

I don’t know very much about Germany other than the soccer team just got 3rd place in the World Cup (Congrats). I’m looking forward to experiencing the culture, meeting the people, and trying to learn a new language. It should be fun and very interesting.

What do you know about your new team BG Goettingen?

I know they won the EuroChallenge last season, and they like to play “40 minutes of Hell”. I am looking forward to going to a successful team.

How easy was it deciding to come to BG Goettingen play?

It was a simple decision for me. The style of play suits me well, and I like coming to a successful team that has shown in the past that they can win.

What was the deciding factor that made you come to BG Goettingen?

I’m not sure. It just seemed like a great all-around place to begin my career so the decision wasn’t too difficult.

What is your impression of coach John Patrick? Have you spoken to him?

I’ve spoken to him, and he seems like a good coach who knows what it takes to win. I also believe that playing for this team and him will help me develop in to a better basketball player.

Do you know any of your future teammates in Goettingen?

I don’t know any of them personally yet, but I have spoken to Jason Boone because we have a mutual friend. I asked him about his experience in Goettingen and he was very positive, so that also made my decision much easier.

You will have a strong point guard tandem with Kyle Bailey who is like a legend in Goettingen. Would you be comfortable being a backup or are you going to fight for a starting job?

I’ll definitely give my best effort for this team, and whether that means i’ll be a backup or starter depends on the coach. I don’t focus on that aspect but rather just helping my team win so I think I would be suited for either role that is given to me.

You just finished a stellar 4 year career at Cornell. What will you never forget about your Sweet 16 run in 2010 at the NCAA tournament?

I won’t forget my teammates and coaches and how hard we had to work to achieve what we did. Going through that experience with some of my best friends truly made the sweet 16, “sweet”.

You played against John Wall in the NCAA tournament. He was drafted #1 in the 2010 NBA draft. Some said that you were on of the top point guards at March madness. Does it hurt that you didn´t get drafted?

I would’ve loved to have been drafted much like any other basketball player, but the fact that I wasn’t only makes me try to analyze my game and see where I can get better.

You played in the Ivy League which is not one of the stronger divisions. Do you think this might of hurt your chances of being drafted and not getting the deserved respect that you should of gotten?

I definitely think playing in the Ivy League hurts a bit in terms of being considered for the NBA, but hopefully in time someone will help change this situation.

What degree did you get at Cornell and what would you like to do later in life?

I got a degree in Policy Analysis and Management. I hope to have a long basketball career, but after that I would like to get involved in finance.

I have seen videos of your game. You can shoot from outside and also like to penetrate. When a game is on the line, what would you rather do, shoot or penetrate?

I would rather penetrate because it opens up more opportunities. The defense has to react more which means that I could either shoot, pass, or get fouled. I think the chance of success is better when penetrating.

What is a hidden strength of your game that nobody knows about?

I would say rebounding. I’m not the biggest guy on the floor but sometimes the rebounds have a way of finding me.

BG Goettingen is known of playing run and gun basketball or better said 40 minutes of hell. Is this a style that you could like?

Yes, I think this style really lets the players use their athletic abilities and instincts. I can envision it fitting me well.

You are from Alabama. What was your childhood like?

I had a great childhood. I grew up in Birmingham which is as urban as it’ll get in Alabama, so no farms for me. I played a lot of sports as a child and had great parents to discipline me and keep me on track.

Who were your NBA basketball idols growing up?

Michael Jordan was my favorite player growing up, but after he retired, I liked Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Shawn Bradley.

The BG Goettingen organization and coach John Patrick have a strong belief in having players that are intelligent with a very good character. Was it just your parents that shaped you into the person you are or were there other people that helped?

Definitely my parents, they laid the foundation for me and instilled the values that I needed to become a good person at heart.

Will learning German be an important priority for you?

I certainly want to learn as much as I can, so I will often work on my German. Part of the experience of playing overseas is learning about the culture and language as well.

You like the music of Eminem. Do you have his new album and is it as good as many think?

I’ve listened to his new album and I like it. It has some good songs on it.

You also like Jim Carey films. What makes him so funny in your eyes?

I think he’s just a naturally funny person so a lot of the faces and comments he makes seem to draw laughs out of me.

What will the Miami Heat achieve with Lebron James?

I think they will definitely win a championship at some point. Not sure how quickly it is going to happen. I think even with their big 3, the Lakers still pose a serious challenge.

What were the most free throws that you ever made in a row?

Sophomore year of college I made 52 consecutive free throws. Other than that I don’t really know.

What was the most crazy shot that you ever made in a practice or game?

I made a hook shot from half court once. Don’t know if I could do that again.

How does a typical summer workout day look like for you?

I run in the morning, then lift and then play basketball.

What was the last DVD that you saw?

Mean Girls

  • ESPN's Andy Katz discusses Tommy Amaker and the Harvard basketball program in his blog today. Harvard has never won an Ivy League title and was recently declared in violation of NCAA regulations governing communication with prospective recruits during a non-contact period.

HAMDEN, Conn. -- Harvard coach Tommy Amaker sat in the stands at Quinnipiac University on Tuesday, watching Kenyatta Smith, a center from Flintridge Prep School in California.

Seated to his right was Vanderbilt assistant coach King Rice. Staffers from Ivy League rivals like Brown, Penn and Cornell were sprinkled throughout the arena. Stanford and Cal weren't represented, but both schools have been monitoring Smith's progress as well.

Whether or not Amaker lands the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Smith, who's rated by Scouts Inc. as the 16th-best center in the Class of 2011, shouldn't be pertinent to his overall success at Harvard. He has already changed the Crimson for the foreseeable future.

Life in the post-Jeremy Lin era is still an unknown. Lin, who wasn't selected in the NBA draft but is currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks' summer league team in Las Vegas, was the face of the Harvard program.

This past year, Lin led the Crimson to their second straight upset at Boston College, tallied 30 points in a close loss at UConn and led Harvard in scoring, assists and steals. He was also the reason the Crimson got plenty of national publicity.

The Crimson won 21 games, including 10 in the Ivy League, to finish third behind Princeton and Cornell. An appearance in the College Insider Tournament, where they lost to Appalachian State in the first round, marked Harvard's first postseason showing since 1946, which was also the last year the Crimson made the NCAA tournament.

But more than anything, Amaker continues to recruit at a high level, and will enter the 2010-11 season with the core of the team -- Christian Webster, Brandyn Curry, Kyle Casey and Keith Wright (all of whom were underclassmen last year) -- gaining intriguing newcomers in shooting guard Laurent Rivard and center Ugo Okam.

At Quinnipiac, coaches hailing from the Big East and the A-10, among others, all said that the Crimson landed an impact player in Rivard, who has the capability to compete at a much higher level.

Amaker has made Harvard an attractive basketball destination for recruits. Former coach Frank Sullivan was beloved by his colleagues during his 16 years in Cambridge, Mass., and was brought on to be a basketball advisor for the America East after he was pushed out of Harvard. But the program received no national attention, even under Sullivan. Amaker has the name (he played for Duke in the mid '80s) and the tenure as a head coach (even if he was inconsistent with Seton Hall and Michigan) to raise Harvard's profile.

But landing recruits (and the rare, but not damaging, "unintentional secondary basketball violation" when assistant Kenny Blakeney had conversations with the staff prior to officially joining the school in 2007), has given the Crimson a chance to do something special.

Under former coach Steve Donahue, Cornell raised the bar for the Ivy League by earning a national ranking and winning two games in the NCAA tournament. Princeton is ripe to rise again under Sydney Johnson, while the Big Red, now under Bill Courtney, will have to maintain what Donahue left behind. Penn, meanwhile, now has a beloved alumnus in Jerome Allen to help attract recruits. But Harvard may be best-positioned to make the next move. Amaker has assured everyone of his intention to see this commitment through. He had the pedigree to get involved in other job openings this past spring, like at Boston College when it fired Al Skinner, but Amaker quickly made it known that he had no interest in leaving.

"I wanted to stay at Harvard,'' Amaker said. "We do need stability, and we've made so many inroads so far. It's a long journey, but I love this school and the track we're on.''

Plenty of schools are said to be "untapped sleepers." Rutgers gets that label, as does Central Florida. But really, is there a better name in the collegiate ranks than Harvard? In the Ivy League, there is no reason why Harvard -- at its level of prestige -- couldn't be a regular contender in men's basketball like it had been in football, hockey and women's basketball.

"We have enormous potential here with a magical name,'' Amaker said.

Even though the Crimson have lost a few players to Stanford in the past two years, getting someone like Rivard who visited a big-conference school like Georgia Tech (even if he didn't receive an offer) bolsters the school's national profile.

If Harvard lands Smith before Vandy, Stanford or Cal follow up with possible offers, it would be another major coup.

Lin was a sensational player for Harvard, but he didn't play in the NCAA tournament. Getting to March Madness would mark Amaker's greatest achievement as a coach.

"We've never won the Ivy League,'' Amaker said. "What we're embarking on now is pretty neat. It's never been like this here -- at least that's what I've been told.''

The Crimson lost to Cornell at home last season, but the atmosphere in the Lavietes Pavilion was as good as any small-college gym. Duplicating that without Lin will be tough, but the schedule has been upgraded.

The Crimson will bring in Colorado, which has two potential pros in Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, and Fordham. They'll also visit Connecticut, Boston College, George Mason, George Washington and Michigan. The Michigan-Harvard series will be the completion of a two-for-one deal. In Amaker's first season in Cambridge, Harvard beat Michigan on Dec. 1, 2007; as Michigan's coach, he guided the Wolverines to a win over Harvard in Ann Arbor on Nov. 17, 2006.

"What we've got here is exciting,'' Amaker said. "What Jeremy Lin did for us, we'll have to make up for a lot of those things. It wasn't just scoring and rebounding. But hopefully our young guys will be better. We've got a nice nucleus returning. The jury is still out on how much we have to make up … if we could take this over the top, and win our league and go to the [NCAA] tournament, that would be something special.''


Anonymous said...

"ESPN's Andy Katz discusses Tommy Amaker and the Harvard basketball program in his blog today. Harvard has never won an Ivy League title and was recently declared in violation of NCAA regulations governing communication with prospective recruits during a non-contact period."

Oh really? Thanks for posting that since I'm sure your readers didn't know that from the other thousand times you've written that. Why does everything you post about Harvard have to have such a negative spin? Jealous that Amaker's recruiting is going to keep Cornell from having any chance at even sniffing an Ivy League title for the next 10 years?

Anonymous said...

The Lou Dale interview reads as if Lou's answers were translated into German and then re-translated back into English. It sounds more formal than I imagine it actually was.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Harvard should be treated negatively because Harvard has cheated and denied cheating for two years until the NCAA backed them into a corner and compelled a plea bargain.

And Harvard has yet to recruit anyone of a BCS/high-major level, unless you count Kyle Casey and his highest offer was from an A-10 school.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Wondering if Harvard magazine will publish a new article and title it, "Guilty."

Anonymous said...

The Harvard Magazine already did write a post about the violation; it was rather brief and flat.

Anyway, is some Harvard fan really going to start up on the "you're only discussing this because you know you're going to lose" bullshit Harvard fans did right before the 36-point beatdown? Until Amaker wins anything anywhere, and after yall couldn't even handle Princeton last year, you'd think lessons about counting chickens or eating crow would've been learned by now but apparently not.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Nice fluff piece by the Harvard magazine. And there was nothing inadvertent about the violation.

Blakeney made several 200 mile trips to Norfolk to visit Keith Wright.

Did Blakeney inadvertently make these trips?

Oh, and Wright just happened to land at Harvard.

Same with Max Kenyi.

And Amaker just happened to land in a Shop Rite with Les Rosen (Zach's father).

The list goes on... violation, after violation.

Anonymous said...

It was tremendously fun to yell "You're a CHEAT, Kenny!" when Harvard visited Newman last year.

Anonymous said...

I didnt realize Vanderbilt was in the A-10. Interesting development.