Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cornell's High Scoring Pair of the 80s, Bantum and Bajusz

Two of Cornell's most prolific scorers were products of the 1980s.

Ken Bantum ('85) closed out a brilliant four-year career in 1984-85, when he was named Ivy League Basketball Player of the Year and was the only unanimous selection on the All-Ivy first team. In addition, he was an Associated Press All-America honorable mention selection. Averaging 20 points per game his senior year, he set Cornell's then all-time career scoring record of 1,411 points and established school records for best field goal percentage in both a season and career, and career marks for most free throw attempts and most starts. A two-year captain and team MVP, he was a second-team All-Ivy selection as a junior and received honorable mention as a sophomore. He was a Seventh Round selection in the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.

One of the greatest to ever wear the Cornell jersey, John Bajusz ('87) was a three-time All-Ivy 1st team selection as guard for the Big Red, becoming just the 12th Ivy player to earn three 1st team selections. He was also runner-up for Ivy Player of the Year two straight years. He received honorable mention All-America by The Sporting News three years. Set Cornell career records for points (1663), field goals made (647) and free throw percentage (.856). Ivy Rookie of the Year and All-Ivy honorable mention as a freshman. Team MVP and tri-captain as a junior and senior.

All Time Cornell Career Scoring Leaders
1. Ryan Wittman (2006-10) .................. 2,028
2. John Bajusz (1983-87) ....................... 1,663
3. Louis Dale (2006-10) .......................... 1,452
4. Ray Mercedes (1997-01) ................... 1,429
5. Ken Bantum (1981-85) ...................... 1,411
6. Mike Davis (1977-80) ......................... 1,400


Anonymous said...

Bantum and Bajusz were great players during my day. But note that Bantum was a forward/center, not a guard.

Anonymous said...

The true killer B's.

Bantum could bang and Bajusz could bring it.

I might be incorrect, but Bajusz did not have the benefit of the three pointer for his full career, and there was not a shot clock in the early 80s - I recall an exciting win against Princeton where the score was something like 33-31. Not that it matters, but his career numbers could have been different.

Bantum was dominant on both ends of the floor, often drawing taller, but not stronger, match ups, like Rik Smits...very few were able to match up with Bantum in the Ivies.

Anonymous said...

Good job ANON 2:52PM

Bajusz had the stroke. The college three-pointer came into existence in 1986-87, his senior year.

SI Vault had this to say: Cornell, John Bajusz.
"Bajusz rhymes with 'pay us,' and the two-time all-Ivy player is cash money out to 24 feet.

Just to put into perspective what these guys accomplished, aside from the 9-season streak of non-losing campaigns during the McNeil era, the five years from 1983-4 to 1987-88 were Cornell BB's longest streak of non-losing years.

If the 2010-11 Red basketballers can bring home a winning season, it will match what Bajusz and Bantum did.

Let's go, Red!

Anonymous said...

I remember being at that 33-31 Princeton game. Princeton was up 27-17 at the half. Tigers scored 4 points in the entire 2nd half!!

Drew Martin broke the 31-31 tie witha drive with something like 20 seconds on the clock.

Was an incredibly intense game