Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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.

Groebe is a 6-3 guard, and as pure a shooter as there is in the Ivy League. Last year he saw minimal time behind Lou Dale, Chris Wroblewski, Geoff Reeves, and the coaching staff watched him develop into a great team guy who accepted his role and the special situation he found himself in after transferring from Massachusetts. He never groused about playing time, always appeared involved, hard working, well-liked by teammates, etc. He played in 27 games, averaged 5.8 minutes, shot 56 percent from the three-point line (23 for 41) and generally did a good job of taking care of the ball when he played (3 turnovers in 156 minutes). There were two areas of concern: ball-handling and his ability to defend quick two-guards. (That's partially the reason I think Kevin App's old idea of going with Wroblewski/Ferry/Groebe, with Groebe at the small forward, could be successful. But I digress...)

Here's Courtney's take on Groebe:
"Max played a little bit last year and had a ridiculous three-point shooting percentage. That's a strength. We're going to count on him to do that. There's a couple things I told him to go work on this summer, getting ready to have a bigger role on the team. I think he's done that. We'll see that in the upcoming weeks here of that's the case, because I'd like him to be more than a standstill shooter, which is what he was last yaer with some terrific players that garnered so much attention that he'd stand there and shoot a wide open shot. Now he's going to have to come off screens and down screens and pin downs and all kinds of things. We'll use those things to get open shots, get the same shots, and again he's going to have to learn to shoot at a different speed because he's not going to be standing there wide open. Hopefully he's worked to do all those things, and we're going to continue to help him do that and improve. If he does that I think he can have a terrific year."

Gatlin's even more of an unknown because he spent last year sitting out after transferring from Centenary. Gatlin played for two seasons at Centenary, before the school announced it was switching to Division III. He's a skinny, wiry 6-8 who gained 25 pounds in the offseason and now weighs about 205. You can read up on his playing days at Centenary right here. On a team that's a little smallish, Gatlin's unique skill set will needed particularly when that Ivy League schedule comes around.

Courtney said: "Gatlin's a guy that, with his athleticism, who is very different than a lot of Ivy League players. He's a kid that loves basketball, so he's constantly in the gym working on his game. He's high energy. That's what we'll need from him most. We'll need him to be super energetic guy, almost like a Dennis Rodman as far as rebounding and defense, and hopefully a little bit better of an offensive player (laughs). But he's a guy that we can hope has that kind of energy. We expect both (Groebe and Gatlin) to have big roles this year."


On another note, Bill Courtney's first recruiting class is now up to three players, after Albany-area guard Galal Cancer orally committed last week. The Albany Times-Union had a story in today's paper.


Anonymous said...

Gatlin + Born Ready = matchup nightmare at the forward spots.

Anonymous said...

I think Groebe can be more of a threat than Wittman because of his slashing ability. I just hope he doesn't come out too timid.