Tuesday, July 6, 2010

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, some news and notes from the long holiday weekend...

ORLANDO -- Ryan Wittman will have to wait at least another day to make his NBA Summer League debut for the Boston Celtics.

Wittman, a recent Cornell University grad, did not play in Monday's AirTran Always Pro Summer League game. Boston blew a 15-point halftime lead in an 87-82 loss to Oklahoma City.

He may not have to wait long, however, to see his first action.

Boston plays Philadelphia at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Celtics also have games scheduled this week Wednesday against Charlotte, Thursday versus Indiana and Friday with New Jersey.

Luke Harrangody, a second-round draft pick from Notre Dame, led the Celtics with 23 points. Byron Mullens had a game-high 24 points for the Thunder.

Seven-foot center Vyacheslav Kravstov from the Ukraine was the only other Celtic player who didn't see any playing time.

Wittman, a 6-foot-7 forward and the Ivy League Player of the Year, was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American while averaging 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists during his senior season for the Big Red.
  • Now the target is on Princeton's back. Hoops Reports ranks the Tigers No. 65 in the site's preseason rankings. Cornell will have a voice in the matter come Ivy play.
  • Louis Dale tweets, "Signed with BG Göttingen! I'll be living in Germany next year! Guess I have another team to cheer for in the World Cup ha! The Deutschland!" The Cornell Daily Sun writes on the topic:

Louis Dale '10 has signed a contract with German team BG Göttingen.

Dale’s teammate at Cornell, Jeff Foote, will be joining him overseas, having just signed a contract with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in Israel.

Speaking of men’s basketball alumni, Ryan Wittman ’10 made his debut with the Celtics Monday in Orlando, Fla. Wittman, who signed an NBA summer league deal with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, did not play in Monday's game, per coach's decision. The Celtics lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 87-82, and will meet Evan Turner and the Philadelphia Sixers Tuesday at 5 p.m. on NBATV.

The Sun’s Athlete of the Year will also play for the New York Knicks in the Las Vegas summer league, which begins on July 9.

Wittman will be joined by Syracuse guard Andy Rautins, who was drafted by the Knicks with the 38th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft.

In an ironic twist, Rautins will wear No. 20, which was Wittman’s number during his four years at Cornell.

  • The Patriot Ledger notes of Wittman's signing with Boston, "forward Ryan Wittman['s] father Randy was a backcourt partner of Celtics coach Doc Rivers with the Atlanta Hawks..."
  • The blog, Ridiculous Upside profiles Ryan Wittman:

    Ryan Wittman, SF, Cornell - Wittman is the prototype coach's son - great shooter, smart player, good leader and able to help everyone else on the team get better. That actually makes sense because Wittman is the son of NBA coach Randy Wittman (I believe most recently as head coach in Minnesota?).

    Here's the problem with Wittman - he's wholly unathletic. He'll give it his best, but unfortunately he just won't have the lateral quickness and strength to guard most small forwards in the NBA.

    Pluses and minuses aside, Wittman will probably have a long professional basketball playing career - though it might not be in the NBA, as he has already been rumored to have a deal set up in Switzerland.

  • Listen to the archived audio interview of Jeff Foote on the Rusty Mike Radio show. Foote discusses his future pro career in Israel.
Secondary violations of NCAA rules happen all the time, with schools often turning themselves in for minor mistakes made. And yep, even Harvard makes mistakes.

It took two years, but Harvard did acknowledge yesterday that it committed a secondary violation by receiving improper recruiting assistance from Kenny Blakeney, who would soon be hired as an assistant coach. Harvard will self-impose recruiting limits for the coming year because of the violation.

The reason Harvard revealed the discovery was that in September 2008, the Ivy League had announced that no recruiting violations were committed in wake of a New York Times report regarding Blakeney's activities.

But subsequent conversations between the school and the NCAA confirmed that while Blakeney was not employed by Harvard at a time when he independently made contact with recruits, he should not have been at the same time in contact with the Harvard coaching staff.

It's a gray area to be sure, which is why it took two years for everyone involved to even figure out a violation even occurred. But in the end, shouldn't Harvard have been smart enough to realize where the lines are blurred and been more cautious even when other schools might not be?

That would qualify as a double standard, of course. Then again, it was Harvard coach Tommy Amaker who said shortly after the New York Times article was published that the school "adheres to austere standards."

It simply doesn't appear that happened in this case.
  • ESPN Boston previewed Ryan Wittman on the Celtics' summer league roster:

The legend of Ryan Wittman

Wittman, the son of former NBA head coach and player Randy Wittman, comes with both a pedigree and a growing legend.

The website/Twitter feed "Completely True Facts about Cornell's Ryan Wittman" includes some Chuck Norris-like myths about Wittman, such as: "Ryan Wittman was signed by the Boston Celtics to help show Ray Allen how to shoot a basketball," and, "In a final effort to improve his shooting, LeBron James has asked to have an elbow transplant from Ryan Wittman."

Here's what's undeniably true about Wittman: He averaged 17.5 points per game for Cornell in his senior season, shooting a robust 42.6 percent from beyond the arc. At 6-foot-7, he has nice height for a wing player. If he gets hot in the summer league, it could raise some eyebrows given his family ties.

First, let's get the obvious out of the way. Ryan Wittman comes from an NBA pedigree. He's the son of former Timberwolves head coach Randy Wittman. The thing is, you would never know it from his time at Cornell. He prefers it that way. He’d rather be known for being the Ivy League player of the year and Cornell's all-time leading scorer.

Now the important detail: He can shoot it. He knocked down 42.6 percent of his 3s for Cornell last year and Celtics president Danny Ainge even handed out a couple of compliments on his spot up shooting. Still, certain perks come with having a father who played nearly a decade in the league then coached and has pretty much been a lifer ever since. Shooting lessons being one of them. "It started out at a pretty young age, obviously with my dad playing basketball growing up, he had a basketball in my hand pretty early. So as far as I can remember, I've always been working on my shot with him, especially at a younger age, he always taught me proper technique and it's kind of built from there."

From the New York Times:

When Donahue recruited Wittman, the son of Randy Wittman, a former N.B.A. coach and Indiana star, he worried about the locker-room dynamic. Would the son of an N.B.A. lifer stand out? Would he wear all kinds of fancy gear? Would he act spoiled?

But as Wittman has emerged as a candidate for Ivy League player of the year, his career has evolved into a delightful paradox: he has stood out by blending in.

Wittman, a 6-foot-6 junior, never brings up his family’s basketball heritage unless he is asked. His teammates and coaches say they have never seen him wear N.B.A. gear, even those socks with the N.B.A. logo that are ubiquitous in the college game. Instead, he epitomizes Donahue’s team-first concept, which has turned Cornell, now closing in on its second consecutive N.C.A.A. tournament bid, into an Ivy juggernaut.

“If we funneled everything through him, I think he’d put up as good numbers as have ever been put up in this league,” said Donahue, who has coached in the Ivy League since 1990. “That’s not what we’re about. That’s not what he’s about.”


Anonymous said...

Hoops Report article:

Much as I like Princeton 2010-11 (they are the logical pre-season choice in the Ivy Title chase), it is very difficult to see how HR could rate them #65 in the country. The Tigers closed 2009-10 @100-110 in the RPIs, and, considering losses/gains, appear unchanged for the season ahead.

I wonder about Hoops Report. HR further damages its credibility by tabbing little-used soph beanpole Will Barrett as a starter over an improved Kareen Maddox, calling Buczak's 3.2RPG, 4.7PPG performance line a "force," misleading readers about Patrick Saunders' 95% free throw shooting (yes, 18-of-19), and naming Douglas Davis as the "best scorer in the Ivy League" (with higher scoring classmates Rosen and Agho back at Penn and Columbia).

Don't get me wrong. The Tigers will contend seriously for the Ivy League crown, and I wish them luck. However, I believe they will need a couple big surprises from last year's reserves and the frosh, to reach a double digit RPI.

Anonymous said...

Thrilled about the Louis Dale news. He will always be one of our greatest players and made the school so proud.

Anonymous said...

The "Don't Insult Us" posting in the Harvard Crimson hits the nail on the head.

Amaker is embarrasing himself, Harvard, and Duke, for that matter.