Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ivy League Basketball: The Beginnings...

While the Ivy League was formalized for men's basketball in the 1954-1955 season, the League has its origins in the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League (EIBL) with the rivalries dating back more than 100 years...

Recruiting News: Big Red Move In on Big Men

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivies...

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Thursday...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Foote and Maccabi Preparing for Season Opener

Jeff Foote ('10) and Maccabi Tel Aviv are back in Israel for the final days of preparation for Israeli Super League competition.

The Red and The White

Below, links to the recaps from Cornell's annual Red-White intersquad scrimmages from 2001 through 2009. Cornell's 2010 Red-White scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday, October 23.
  • 2009 (Game high scorer, Jeff Foote 16 points)
  • 2008 (Game high scorers, Ryan Wittman 30 points, Max Groebe 21 points)
  • 2007 (Game high scorer, Ryan Wittman 21 points)
  • 2006 (Game high scorers, Louis Dale, Collin Robinson, Brian Kreefer each with 14 points)
  • 2005 (Game high scorer, Lenny Collins 19 points)
  • 2004 (Game high scorer, Ryan Rourke 16 points)
  • 2003 (Game high scorers, Cody Toppert 42 points, Ka'ron Barnes 31 points)
  • 2002 (Game high scorer, Eric Taylor 12 points)
  • 2001 (Game high scorer, Chris Vandenberg 14 points)

Cornell-Syracuse History

Below, just a few images from the 1oo-plus years of the Cornell-Syracuse basketball series.

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Above, Cornell's specially published postseason media guides (NCAA Tournament) for 2008, 2009 and 2010. Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...

Recruiting News

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jamming Barton Hall Full in '65

As the following article excerpt from a January 1965 issue of the Cornell Daily Sun discusses, Cornell safety officials knew the Big Red's January 18, 1965 game against Princeton and All-American Bill Bradley would draw more than 8,00o spectators. Ultimately, Barton Hall was packed to nearly 9,000 for the game. Above is a photo from the game appearing in the Ithaca Journal.

Brian Delaney Talks with Bill Courtney About Groebe and Gatlin

Only two weeks and three days remain until the start of the 2010-11 college basketball season, with 45 days to go until Bill Courtney makes his Cornell coaching debut on Friday, Nov. 12 at Albany. With that said, here's Part II of my developing series building up to the '10-11 season, stemming from an hour-long conversation with Courtney back in late August. If you missed the first part, on the incoming recruiting class, click here.

Two guys who are in similar positions this fall are guard Max Groebe and forward Anthony Gatlin. Although both are listed as seniors on Cornell's roster, each has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Groebe and Gatlin get lumped together here because they both fall into that intriguing "Coaches, media, players and anyone who's watched practice think they should help; now they just have to do it" category.

More on Galal Cancer: The Cornell Basketball Blog with Jim Hart

After having the opportunity to speak with the high school head coaches of Cornell's first two recruiting commitments-- Shonn Miller (St. Ignatius HS), Cleveland, OH, 6-6, F and Devin Cherry (Meridian HS) Meridian, MS, 6-3, G, The Cornell Basketball Blog recently chatted with the head coach of the AAU team, the Albany City Rocks, Jim Hart, about Cornell's third recruiting commitment, Galal Cancer (Christian Bros. Academy) Albany, New York, 6-2, G. Cancer played for Hart last spring and summer in several AAU tournaments..

When asked about the details of Cancer's college recruitment, Hart indicated that before selecting Cornell, Cancer was offered scholarships during the summer by Albany, Citadel, Navy and Manhattan. He also indicated that Columbia and Brown had asked Cancer to take visits to their campuses with the expectation that offers would be made during the visits. But Cancer's recruitment was by no means limited to just these schools. Hart noted that Stanford, Rice, Wichita State, Northeastern, Wagner, Lafayette, Colgate, Lehigh, Army, and Bucknell were among those schools still remaining in contact and evaluating the guard. "Stanford and Rice wanted to see more of him," noted Hart. Others reportedly involved at various points in the process included LIU, Davidson, Elon, Furman, and Quinnipiac. Hart noted that Cancer visited both Albany and Cornell in the last two weekends and then made his decision to the end process.

"If I had to describe Galal, I would call him a 'closer' like Mariano Rivera with the New York Yankees. He will help you win games down the stretch," said Hart. "He will do whatever it takes to win you the game. I remember during July, Cornell's head coach Bill Courtney was watching our [Albany Rocks AAU] team down at the Peach Jam Tournament in Georgia. Against one of the best teams in the country, I think Galal scored something like 14 of our last 20 points, just took the game over for us."

Hart credited Courtney and Cornell assistant, Marlon Sears for handling Cancer's recruitment.

When asked about Cancer's preferred position, Hart explained that Cancer could play either point guard or shooting guard and described him as both a "strong" and "athletic" player. "But I think he will be a point guard in college. He is the most unselfish human being I've ever seen. He can score when he wants, but he looks for his teammates first," Hart emphasized.

Despite some recruiting services suggesting that Cancer is not a consistent outside shooter, Hart disagreed. "He has all the shooting mechanics and has the ability to go off and hit two or three three-pointers in a row. Right now, he is just not asked to shoot as much as a point guard."

Hart emphasized, "Galal plays for one of the best high school coaches [Dave Doemel] in the state of New York. Galal is ultra disciplined, he will get better and better, his shooting will also get better [when he is asked to shoot more]."

New Site Design

As many of you noticed, we have made a substantial change in site design in the last two weeks. We are interested in receiving your feedback on the new look. Drop us a comment. Your input is much appreciated.

Donahue Featured on Fox Sports

Jeff Goodman of addresses the daunting rebuilding project facing Steve Donahue at Boston College. Below is an excerpt of from the article:
"The type of kid that fits Boston College fits our style,” Donahue said. "Guys who have a high IQ and know how to play the game.” Guys like Ryan Wittman, Jeff Foote and Louis Dale – who helped Donahue get to the ACC after three consecutive NCAA tournaments and a Sweet 16 appearance this past March. Donahue’s style is to push the ball and use the three-pointer, but he understands it’ll be difficult to make wholesale changes to a group of players who have played the same way for their entire careers.

Donahue said goodbye to Cornell after leading it to the Sweet 16.

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Above, a screen shot from Cornell's run to the Sweet Sixteen last March. Below, some news and notes for Tuesday...

Are UK and Cornell on a level playing field? Should they have the same academic standards?
  • Jay Bilas of ESPN gives his opinion on whether college sports has a level playing field in terms of the academic demands and requirments of the respective competing institutions. Bilas writes, "In the lead-up to Kentucky's Sweet 16 matchup against Cornell in March, UK's DeMarcus Cousins told the media the game wouldn't be decided by 'who can read the fastest. … We're here to play basketball. It's not a spelling bee.' While I did not particularly care for the sentiment expressed, he was absolutely correct. It was just an athletic competition, and it was being played on an uneven playing field. The fact that Cornell and Kentucky were playing basketball against each other did not mean that they were equal or comparable academic institutions. They are not. An initial eligibility requirement of 2.5 does not make it so."
  • The New York State Sportswriters Association notes, "Galal Cancer of Albany CBA will attend Cornell next fall, FOX 23 Sports reported this afternoon. Cancer, a seventh-team all-stater, averaged 10.2 points as a junior. The 6-2 standout was also considering SUNY Albany."
  • The News Herald of Northern Ohio notes, "Jay Larranaga, a former assistant coach at Cornell, has been named the new coach of the Erie BayHawks of the National Basketball Development League. Larranaga played at Bowling Green."
  • BallinInEurope ranks Jeff Foote's ('10) Maccabi Tel Aviv club as the No. 6 ranked team in Europe.
  • Alex Hill, a former member of the Big Red's class of 2012, played one season with the Big Red during the 2008-2009 season before opting to return to his home in Toronto, Canada and play for the University of Toronto. In his bio on the Toronto Athletics website, Hill indentified Jon Jaques ('10), as his favorite professional athlete. Hill is the only player to transfer out of the Cornell basketball program in the last five years.

Galal Cancer Formally Announces Cornell Commitment

Left to right, high school seniors already committed to playing basketball for next season: Devin Cherry, Galal Cancer and Shonn Miller. Below, some news articles covering Galal Cancer's formal announcement to attend Cornell.

CBS 6-Albany, New York
September 27, 2010

COLONIE - CBA basketball star Galal Cancer has verbally committed to Cornell University, and will sign his binding letter of intent this November. The 6'2" senior point guard chose the Big Red over UAlbany, Long Island University, The Citadel, Lafayette, and Lehigh.

The chance to receive an Ivy League education is what ultimately swayed the Albany native to choose the Ithaca school.

"I just thought about college and when I'd be done playing basketball", said Cancer Monday afternoon while explaining his decision. "I felt that Cornell would present me with more opportunities with the alumni connection they have."

Cancer said it came down to Cornell or UAlbany -- Ivy League, or staying close to home.

"My parents will be able to come down to see me at some point in time. I'm going to get to come home so it really didn't bother me that much to leave. Cornell's about three hours so it's a good commute."

Cancer helped CBA win the 2010 New York State 'AA' Championship -- the first in school history.

Albany Times Union
September 27, 2010

Galal Cancer put a great deal into basketball during the 2009-10 scholastic season as the starting point guard at Christian Brothers Academy and he played a vital role in the Brothers’ first state Class AA championship.
During the summer with Albany City Rocks, Cancer traveled around the country with teammates like Jamesville-DeWitt center DaJuan Coleman and St. Benedict’s Prep forward Tyler Harris — two of the nation’s most highly-recruited players.

During those journeys, Cancer also narrowed his prospective college destination down to two schools: Cornell University and the University at Albany.

After visiting both schools and taking nearly two weeks to ponder his decision, Cancer has provided first-year Cornell coach Bill Courtney his oral commitment to begin competing for the Big Red in the 2011-12 season.

“I talked to the coaching staff and he was their top recruit — Galal was the guy they wanted,” CBA coach Dave Doemel said.

Cancer, a rugged 6-foot-2 point guard who averaged 10.7 points per game as a junior, earned first team Large School All-Area plaudits from the Times Union in April and was named to the state’s seventh team in Class AA.

“I thought about both schools carefully, and then I thought about the schools after I left and how each would help me. I thought with Cornell, I will have a better chance to be successful after basketball is finished.”

Boston College coach Steve Donahue, who guided Cornell to three straight NCAA appearances and a school-record 29 victories in the 2009-10 season, began recruiting Cancer last year. Courtney, a former assistant at such schools as George Mason, Virginia and Virginia Tech, picked up on Cancer’s recruitment once he took over at Cornell in April and made him a top priority. The CBA guard joins a recruiting class that also features 6-6 guard/forward Shonn Miller and 6-3 guard Devin Cherry.

“He has worked so hard in the classroom and on the court,” Doemel said of Cancer. “With the way their program is going, to have a school like Cornell interested in you is a good thing. Obviously, Cornell is a great school.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

News and Notes: Monday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Monday. Above, photos from Cornell's thrilling win over Davidson on December 20, 2009 in Madison Square Garden.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Red Have Big Position to Fill

Staring with Andrew Naeve (6'10", class of '07) (far left), the Big Red have had four consecutive seasons of having a dominant big man inside the paint. Naeve, a 240 lb. presence inside, was a '06-'07 Second Team All Ivy League selection.

With the arrival of Jeff Foote (7'0", class of '10) (second from left), Cornell had a 2nd Team All Ivy League selection for the '07-'08 and '08-'09 seasons. Foote also was named 1st Team All Ivy League during '09-'10 and was the conference Defensive Player of the Year during 2009 and 2010.

For the 2010-2011 season, Cornell looks to former role playing veterans to step up as key post players. They are 6'9" Mark Coury (second from right, No. 42), a former Kentucky transfer and 6'9" Aaron Osgood (far right). Both seniors, Coury and Osgood must fill a huge void left by the graduated Foote.

Cornell is also making the recruitment of post players its biggest priority for the high school classes of 2011 and 2012.

(edited 9.27.10)

News and Notes: Sunday Edition

Above, last March 2,000 fans gathered in Newman Arena to attend Cornell's NCAA Tournament Selection Show. A CBS TV crew showed the Newman Nation fans live across the country reacting to the Big Red's tournament seed. Below, some news and notes for Sunday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Tradition of Big Red Basketball: The Red-White Scrimmage

We don't know the exact date of Cornell's first preseason, open-to-the-public, intersquad Red-White Scrimmage, but the tradition dates back quite a while, at least as far back as the 1920s with Cornell basketball teams frequently scrimmaging red jerseys vs. white jerseys. Above, the November 28, 1973 issue of the Cornell Daily Sun advertises the Red-White Scrimmage. The Watergate Scandal loomed heavy in the news.

The Red-White Scrimmage traditions continues at Cornell on October 23, 2010.

Before Redcast, The Big Red Hot Line

Anyone remember these schedules? Back in the 80s and even into the early 90s, before the time of the almighty internet revolution and the dawn of RedCast, Cornell fans could only get same-day scores and results of basketball games by calling the "Big Red Hotline."

The Fundamentals of Steve Donahue's Offense

Mens Basketball Hoop Scoop, a coaching website, posted a sample diagram of Steve Donahue's motion offense from last season. The offense is based off a similar scheme run by John Beilein.

News and Notes: Saturday Edition

Above, some images from the media blitz on Cornell Basketball over the last three seasons. Below, some news and notes for Saturday...

Cornell's rise a year ago to No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Top 25 Poll and high academic ranking in such publications as U.S. News & World Report, has made the Big Red an easier marketing sell to prospective recruits with Division I scholarship opportunities.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Recruiting Update: Big Red Add Galal Cancer

Cornell received a verbal commitment tonight from Galal Cancer (Christian Bros. Academy) Albany, New York, 6-2, G.

Recruiting News

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League...

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Here we post some additional screen shots from Cornell's 2010 March Madness run. Further down below, news and notes for the day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jaques on the International Game

Jon Jaques ('10) blogs about the differences between FIBA basketball and the American game. He writes, in part:
I’m only 3 scrimmages into my professional basketball career, but it’s painfully obvious so far that these European basketball rules that I was warned about before I came over here are no joke. In fact, the differences between the European “FIBA” game and the American game (how did we let a separate version exist in the first place? Were Americans not the first people bored enough during P.E. to start throwing balls into empty peach baskets?) are even more devastating than advertised.

My Cornell teammates know that I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with referees. When I wasn’t playing much at Cornell during my first thee years, I was in the refs ear so much that I came close to about 4 technical fouls from the bench, yet became friends (by friends I mean a handful of refs knew I was the annoying, curly headed kid on the end of the Cornell bench who had nothing better to do during games than yap at them) with the Ivy League officials. Once I started playing more and started picking up 2 fouls within the first 5 minutes of every game (guess I wasn’t as close with the refs as I thought), I began joking (I was dead serious) that the people who turn to officiating are the members of society incapable of holding down any other job (this obviously isn’t true: while refs from the bigger conferences have a busy schedule that takes up most of their time, many ivy refs have other jobs during the week and travel the northeast by car during the weekends for the love of the game…and the love of some extra dough).

Anyway, while I respect officials, I never seemed to agree with the American ones (I kind of turn into a jerkface on the basketball court). I don’t think the Euro refs are any worse than American ones, but I think the rules of this strange game they play over here are going to take some getting used to.

Here’s are some thoughts that came up while chatting on Skype (lifesaver) with a few of my former teammates who are also playing “basketball” overseas... [See the Jaques blog for the rest of his entry]

Checking in with Coach Courtney

The Cornell Basketball Blog had a chance to speak with Bill Courtney today and get some updates on the team's offseason news and activities. Here are a couple of quotes from the Robert E. Gallagher '44, Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball:

"We were a bit banged up during the summer, but we seem to be just about fully healthy right now. Miles [Asafo-Adjei] is almost 100 percent [knees] and is just about returning to the court. Andrew Ferry [wrist] is now in full workouts, also almost 100 percent, Jake Matthews [hand/wrist] is now back 100 percent." Courtney added, "[Dominick] Scelfo is also getting back to where he was [in quickness and movement] prior to his knee injury last November."

"The guys are really working hard and are really committed," said Courtney. "Prior to September 16, we were only allowed to coach them for 2 hours per week in groups of no more than four guys. Now League rules permit us to instruct groups of six for 2 hours per week." The players are also spending additional time in the training and weight rooms with Cornell's strength and conditioning staff and spending time in the gym on their own. Full practices begin in mid October.

When asked about playing rotations and starters, Courtney emphasized his staff had made no decisions on playing time. "Everyone is equal right now. The past is the past. We are going to watch the guys in practice and in the two scrimmages [on October 30 and November 6 against Colgate and Lafayette] and see how they play against outside competition." He added, "We've got a lot of new faces so playing time is undecided."

With respect to "Midnight Madness" festivities, Courtney indicated that Cornell's administration is contemplating the idea of holding some Midnight Madness styled celebration during the Red-White scrimmage on October 23. He noted, however that the raising of the Sweet Sixteen and Ivy League Championship banners are still scheduled for unveiling at the Big Red's home opener on November 17.

Eligible for a team foreign travel trip during the summer of 2011 (the Big Red visited France in 2007 and Australia in 2003), Courtney acknowledged the team would spend next summer abroad together but indicated that the destination had not yet been selected.

Watch for additional preseason interviews with Coach Courtney from The Cornell Basketball Blog as well as some upcoming preseason video reports from Slope Media.

News and Notes: Afternoon Edition

Below, some afternoon news and notes...

Syracuse, the Infrequent Visitor

Cornell's first meeting against Syracuse dates back to the 1900-1901 season. Since then the teams have met in more than 100 games, with the Orange taking 86 wins against Cornell's 31 wins in the series. The last Syracuse team to visit Cornell and play in Ithaca was on December 1, 1981, a dominating 90-47 win by the Orange. Above, assorted programs from Syracuse's visits to Ithaca.

Current Syracuse head coach, Jim Boheim, hired by the Orange at the start of the 1976-1977 season, also took his Orange to Ithaca on January 3, 1977 and January 3, 1979 during his tenure

Above, a photo from the December 7, 1973 issue of the Cornell Daily Sun. The photo was taken from Syracuse's December 5 visit to Cornell's Barton Hall.

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Above, some screen shots from Cornell's near upset of No. 1 Kansas last January in Allen Fieldhouse. Below, some news and notes for Thursday...
  • reports the news of Cornell's commitment from Shonn Miller (St. Ignatius HS) Cleveland, OH, 6-6, F. The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Miller will participate in the Garfield Heights/Prep Spotlight Basketball Showcase next week. The Daily Pennsylvanian also reported on the commitment to Cornell as follows:"
    "It’s Miller time for Big Red. Cleveland native Shonn Miller — a product of Lebron James’s summer league basketball team King James Shooting Stars — verbally committed to reigning Ivy champion Cornell after visiting last weekend. According to the St. Ignatius High School website, Miller said that Cornell “just felt right.” St. Ignatius is rated by U.S. News & World Report as a bronze-level high school, and Miller was searching for a college with similar academic standards. Miller is ranked by ESPN as the 111th-best small forward in the country. While he plays inside for his school team “out of necessity,” he performs better on the perimeter."

  • The Dagger Blog of YahooSports previews the CAA and two of Cornell's opponents, Delaware and Virginia Commonwealth. Meanwhile, the ranks Seton Hall No. 31 in the nation. The Big Red visit the Hall this season at Newark's Prudential Center.

More on the Commitments from Miller and Cherry

The Cornell Basketball Blog had the opportunity to speak with the head coaches of Shonn Miller (St. Ignatius HS), Cleveland, OH, 6-6, F (left) and Devin Cherry (Meridian HS) Meridian, MS, 6-3, G (right), Cornell's two newest basketball recruiting commitments.

Miller's head coach at St. Ignatius High School, Sean O'Toole told The Cornell Basketball Blog, "Shonn is the hardest working kid I've ever coached. He's very young, he just turned 17, his best days on the basketball court are ahead of him." When asked to described Miller's physical attributes, position and game, O'Toole noted, "He's 6''6", but a long 6'6", wiry strong, athletic. He is very versatile, he is a point-forward, he play the 2, 3 or the 4." He continued, "Right now Shonn is a finesse player... almost too comfortable shooting from three, we are working to toughen him up and to take contact in the lane and get to the foul line. He is also a terrific defensive rebounder."

Asked about Miller's college recruitment, which included reported offers from Miami (OH), Toledo, Bucknell, Northeastern, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Columbia, Cleveland State, Akron, James Madison, and Lousiana-Lafayette, O'Toole noted that the Ivy League is a perfect fit for Miller. "He's a really smart kid. He could've gone to other high schools in the area [such as national basketball power St. Edward's] with more established basketball traditions, but he came here for the academics and Cornell in the Ivy League is an ideal situation for him." O'Toole noted, however, that had Miller remained uncommitted or attended a prep school, many other schools could have also offered scholarships. "Duquesene [of the A-10] offered him an official visit and could've offered Shonn during his trip... I just spoke with coaches of Notre Dame, his recruitment by them was very real, they were following Shonn very closely."

Cherry's head coach Randy Bolden at Meridian High School said, "Devin's a very smart player with a very high basketball IQ. He's a winner and makes the players around him better. With Devin he's an "interchangeable 1-2" and can play either guard spot for us [at Meridian] or on the college level." He continued, "Devin is our best defender, we play him on the opponents' best guards. He's a great shooter... Yes, he is athletic. Is he a guy that jumps above the rims all the time? No. But he can jump and he has very good speed. He is definitely 'athletic.'"

When asked about Cherry's college recruitment, Bolden noted that Cherry held offers to Penn, Wofford, Jackson State, and SE Louisiana (Southland Conference). He also noted that Western Kentucky, Murray St., Princeton and Bucknell were others involved, but Cherry had narrowed his schools down by the end of the summer and opted to focus on Penn and Cornell. After visiting Cornell and Penn, Cherry made his decision. "He just really felt comfortable with Coach Courtney and Coach Sears."

"He is such a hard worker. I told Coach Coach Courtney they are gonna have to run him out of the gym after practices. He's always trying to get better, always working," Bolden added.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recruiting News: Cornell Pulls One Out of the Deep South

Tonight, Cornell received a commitment from Devin Cherry (Meridian HS) Meridian, MS, 6-3, G.

Cherry visited Cornell earlier in September, but only committed following his visit to Penn last weekend. Wofford, Murray St., Western Kentucky, Princeton, and Bucknell were among others involved in his recruitment.

Ranked as the No. 32 overall prospect in Mississippi by Hoop Scoop Online, Cherry posted 11.6 points per game his junior year as Meridian's second leading scorer. He was named Honorable Mention All-State by the Clarion Ledger. His teammate, Rodney Hood, is ranked No. 2 in Mississippi by Hoop Scoop Online and by as the No. 21 overall player in the U.S. (No. 49 overall by

Cherry plays AAU basketball for the Southern Phenoms program.

Recruiting News: Brown Adds Guard

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League...

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Above, a trio of Fox Sports screen shots from Cornell's March 2010 NCAA Tournament run. Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...