Sunday, August 29, 2010

News and Notes for Sunday

Below, some news and notes for Sunday...
  • Fulgor Libertas Forli, Ryan Wittman's new Italian basketball club in Italy's second division has posted on its website, Wittman's career highlights video package as produced by Slope Media.
  • Below, the New York Post's story on Cornell women's basketball new assistant coach, Ryan Patrick Woerner and his connection with the men's program.
Cornell tabs Xavier alum as women's basketball assistant
Woerner, son of former Bishop Kearney coach Cathy Crockett, one of the youngest coaches in the country at 21

It wasn’t much, but it was home for Ryan Patrick Woerner. The Breezy Point native spent nearly a week of his life during March sleeping on the couch in the Cornell men’s basketball office and enjoying its great DVD collection.

“It allowed me to really work from sunup to sundown during a critical time in season,” said the 21-year-old Woerner, who was a coaching intern at the time. “Most of my classmates were boarding planes for the Caribbean. I was sleeping in the locker room.”

He was a senior at nearby Ithaca, but the two schools were on different spring breaks, so Woerner’s dorm room wasn’t ready. It forced him to stay on Cornell’s campus, something that came in handy when he was called on at all hours to help the team in any way he could during its run to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

“He wanted to stay on and show how committed he was,” said Xavier boys basketball coach Joe McGrane, Woerner’s mentor. “He was learning too much that he didn’t want to miss anything.”

It was that type of dedication, along with the other skills he showed throughout his stay with the Big Red and former coach Steve Donahue, that is the major reason he will continue to call Cornell home. Woerner was recently added to the school's women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach, making him one of the youngest in the country. He joins a team that was 7-20 last year under head coach Dayna Smith, who will be entering her ninth season.

“I look at it as a tremendous opportunity,” Woerner said. “I was excited. My initial aspiration was to get involved with the men’s game because that is who I’ve done most of my work with in the early parts of my career. Getting involved with the women’s game is something I am ready to do.”

Smith said he helped out at her team’s practices here and there during this internship and came highly recommended by Donahue, who is now at Boston College. Woerner’s basketball upbringing, overall knowledge of the game and the potential for increased New York City recruiting ties made him an exciting candidate.

“He just seems like a very bright individual,” Smith said. “I think he learned a lot around our men’s program last year, being around the type of student athlete that we have at Cornell. The Xs and O’s, I think this is a basketball junkie. He is going to be able to come in and talk shop, write up some offenses and toy with some defense. I think that part he is going to do fantastic with.”

Woerner has been around basketball his entire life. His mother is former Bishop Kearney coach Cathy Crockett, who calling it quits after 23 years at the Brooklyn school last season. He remembers taking the train all over the city from Xavier, his alma mater, to attend his mom’s games. Woerner said he didn’t become a coach to follow in his mother’s footstep, but because of his interest in helping others. Being around basketball from day one just pushed him in that direction to do so.

“He was there every day,” Crockett said. “He was in his infant seat. … He was born Nov. 10. So he was probably in the gym Nov. 12.”

Woerner feels he brings a diverse skill set to the Cornell bench because of the people and programs he has been around. He has been a sponge of coaching information since he was 16 and especially over the last two seasons, filling numerous marble notebooks with information. Following a short stint two years ago, Woerner was a staple around the Xavier boys basketball team from late November until early January. He put together scouting reports and worked with the team’s guards. The Knights, for whom he played just freshman ball, made a Cinderella run to the CHSAA Intersectional Class A final.

“I was pretty impressed with the scouting reports, the details for someone his age. In the three or four pages you could tell he took pride in it,” McGrane said.

While McGrane is the coach Woerner is the closest with, he also spent last fall doing a sports marketing internship at American University, which allowed him to observe men’s coach Jeff Jones’ practices. At Cornell he often got to work out the team’s players who did not travel on the road. Woerner spends most of his summer working St. Anthony’s coach Bobby Hurley’s camp, Five Star and Hoop Group Elite to name a few. Woerner will take all of that experience and try to bolster the Cornell program.

“I think the Ivy League is the most unique conference in the country,” he said. “To have the opportunity to recruit in the Ivy League and overcome some obstacles that it presents is a great challenge for a young coach.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such thuggery. It's okay to post smiling pictures instead of mug shots. We all know we're 'tough' guys. :)