Thursday, August 12, 2010

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes...
  • A writer for previews the Big Red in 2010-2011 and notes:
After last season's spectacular run to the Sweet 16, what is in store for the upcoming Cornell men's basketball season? The truth is that the Big Red clearly cannot be as good as they were last year, with almost all oftheir key players having graduated in the spring. Louis Dale, Jeff Foote, and Jon Jaques have already commited to playing professional basketball overseas. Foote and Jaques are going to play for rival Israeli teams, while Dale plays in the German Bundesliga. Fellow teammate Ryan Wittman has still not decided what he is going to do next season. Although he played in the NBA Summer League, it does not seem certain that Wittman will receive an NBA offer before the start of the season. He has said that playing overseas would not be a bad alternative, and would still give him a chance to get into the NBA in the future. Either way, expect Wittman to be playing pro ball somewhere next season.

As for the Cornell basketball team, it will not look like the same dominant Ivy League team of last year. Nonetheless, Cornell still has a reasonable chance to win the not-so-competitive Ivy League. Harvard, Cornell's toughest competitor, recently lost their best player, Jeremy Lin, who signed a deal with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA this offseason. It will be interesting to see whether Lin can step in and make a difference on the NBA team. He is one of the only players to enter the NBA from the Ivy League.

Cornell's new coach, Bill Courtney, will need to mold together a cohesive unit if Cornell hopes to win their 4th straight Ivy League title. With players like Chris Wroblewski and a decent new recruitment class, the Big Red will still be competitve in their league. Although winning the Ivy League would guarantee them a spot in the NCAA tournament, it will be extremely difficult for them to advance out of the 1st round and beyond. The new freshman class, made up of Dwight Tarwater, Manny Sahota, Jake Matthews, and Dominick Scelfo will have to contribute and step up if Cornell wants to have a successful year.
  • Last season, the storyline of Cornell's nonconference schedule was the search for "signature wins" and building the Big Red's NCAA Tournament resume. In this regard, Cornell was very successful, snatching regular season wins over teams in the SEC, Big East, CAA and A-10, including at Alabama, St. John's, UMass, Drexel, LaSalle, and against St. Joseph's. as well as Vermont of the America East. The Big Red also narrowly fell to then No. 1 Kansas. This season the storyline is quite different. We will probably repeat this statement several times between now and the start of Ivy League play, but Cornell's nonconference schedule this season will be a learning experience. The focus of the games will be finding a consistent rotation, defining roles, improving each game, building chemistry, and placing the team in a position to make a run for a fourth consecutive Ivy League title beginning on January 15, 2011 when the Big Red visit Columbia. With only three seniors, Cornell will also want to prepare itself for the '11-'12 season as well. Sure, there are bound to be ups and downs with this inexperienced group. Nevertheless, looking around the Ivy League, there appears to be no dominant team. In fact, most of the Ivy teams have huge questions facing their own personnel. If the Big Red can mature and develop during the fall, this Big Red team can really surprise people in the winter. It just may very well be that Cornell has a group of stars that was hidden behind arguably the greatest senior class in Ivy League history. And we know these guys are hungry to play and write their own legacy.
Turning down scholarship offers from programs in the A-10 and Conference USA, incoming Cornell freshman point guard, Dominick Scelfo, could be a key contributor for the Big Red during 2010-2011.

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