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.
  • Ryan Wittman ('10) turned in 15 points and 3 rebounds as his Italian club, Forli bowed on Sunday to league rival Imola in Italian Cup action.
  • is ranking the 263 Mid Major basketball programs based on their performances during the last six years. Each day is counting down the teams cracking the top 100. Notable teams ranked thus far include, IUPUI (100), Valparaiso (97), Boston U. (94), Hawaii (92), Rider (90), College of Charleston (89), Houston (88), Portland (78), Louisiana Tech (75), Wofford (74), Oakland (68), Charlotte (65), Robert Morris (64), Holy Cross (63), Cleveland State (62), American (59), Penn (58), Richmond (55), Buffalo (50), George Washington (45), Ohio (42), Murray State (41), Drake (39), UAB (37), Bucknell (35). Cornell's ranking is not yet disclosed.
  • Former NBA D-League veteran, Cody Toppert ('05) had 16 points for the Plymouth Raiders in Brittish Basketball league action in the Raiders' regular season win over the Guildfort Heat.
  • Jay Larrananga, former Cornell assistant coach, explained to his reason for leaving Cornell and taking over the head coaching position with the NBA D-League's Erie Bay Hawks. Below is the full article by Duane Rankin:
The Erie BayHawks have set a very high bar for their new head coach, Jay Larranaga.

"We truly believe Jay is going to end up being an NBA coach someday," BayHawks majority owner Steve Demetriou said earlier this week.

"So we're pretty excited the Erie fans are going to see him early in his career leading us to a championship and on his way to the NBA."

Those lofty expectations left Larranaga, 35, flattered, but he has a realistic take on them.

"I'm not big on hypothetical," he said. "It's nice that someone would say that, but the most important thing for me is doing a good job today. If I don't do a good job today, then whatever people think might happen tomorrow isn't going to happen."

So the former Cornell assistant says he'll continue to work hard in hopes that will land him an opportunity to work in the NBA.

"I wanted to be an NBA player," Larranaga said. "I dreamed about the NBA when I was 8 years old. If I was ever able to get to the NBA? It's the highest level of basketball."

Last week, the BayHawks named Larranaga, 35, their replacement for John Treloar, who is now the director of player personnel for the Phoenix Suns.

With Cedric Jackson getting NBA call-ups from three teams last season as a rookie point guard with the BayHawks and Treloar going to Phoenix, Erie is trying to establish an identity of being a spot coaches and players can reach the NBA from.

Jackson has been invited to the Cleveland Cavaliers' training camp beginning Tuesday.

So Larranaga has been put on that fast track despite having little head coaching experience.

The son of longtime college coach Jim Larranaga, who is at George Mason, Jay Larranaga was coach of the Irish national team for two years (2008-10). He was its team captain from 2001-06.

Larranaga had an even shorter stint at Cornell as he began working as an assistant there in May, but the BayHawks liked his passion, character and energy.

"We clearly made the hire with the goal of winning a championship as soon as possible," Demetriou said. "Jay is coming on with that goal."

Under Treloar, Erie made the playoffs in its expansion season in 2008-09, but didn't make a repeat appearance last season.

"I'm super excited for the opportunity and highly motivated to make this work and be successful," Larranaga said.

Demetriou said several NBA assistants and former NBA players applied for the position.

"Jay emerged as the best candidate," Demetriou said.

Larranaga said Demetriou, his staff and the BayHawks' tight relationship with one of their NBA affiliates, the Cleveland Cavaliers, drew him to the job.

"I felt like it was a very good situation," Larranaga said.

Through his dad, Larranaga said he talked with several people from the NBA and D-League, such as Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, about this coaching opportunity.

"All of those people told me this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "The chance to be a head coach is something that every coach dreams about."

Erie began searching for a possible replacement for Treloar at least three weeks ago when the Suns and San Antonio Spurs began pursing Treloar.

NBA teams had to contact Demetriou to receive clearance to speak to Treloar.

"We knew about the offers to Treloar several weeks before it was announced," Demetriou said. "Obviously John was thinking about it. He was a candidate and had to go through the interview process.

"The minute we knew that happened, we started a confidential search in the event that John was successful in getting to his next step. It was a pretty thoughtful process."

After scoring 1,249 points in college at Bowling Green (1993-97) as a 3-point shooting threat, Larranaga played 11 years in Italy, Spain, Greece and France.

On the basis of his basketball history as a player, one could conclude the BayHawks will have an open-floor style of play with a lot of ball movement, screens, cuts, and long-range shooting.

Larranaga, who still has the Bowling Green record for most 3-pointers made in a game with nine, said the NBA/D-League rules can hinder playing team basketball, per se, but will strive to have his team play that way.

"There's the illegal defense and trying to take advantage of mismatches and running isolation, but I really believe that basketball, in its purest form, is when five guys are working together as one," Larranaga said.


Anonymous said...

The Blue Ribbon yearbook stuff came out a couple of days ago ... did you get your hands on it?

Anonymous said...

can you post wittman's box scores or statlines? at least from the past couple of games, it looks like he is getting back into the groove.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We will post the Blue Ribbon Preview once it is on