Friday, October 15, 2010

Delaney with Courtney

Some years, with some teams, this question isn't quite as loaded as it is for Cornell in 2010-11. Who does Cornell need to take a big step forward this upcoming season? Once Bill Courtney got rolling, it was understandably tough for him to stop: more or less, who doesn't Cornell need?

The starting point for Courtney was an easy choice: sophomore Errick Peck. The 6-foot-6 forward out of basketball-rich Indianapolis will have as many, if not more, eyes monitoring his development as any other player on the 17-man roster. Steve Donahue called Peck as talented a recruit as he brought into Cornell during his 10-year stint; Peck clearly has an excitable, difficult-to-match-up-with skill set. He can play on the perimeter, score off the bounce, post up and run the floor. He elevates well and is physically strong enough to hold his own at the small forward position, and at the power forward position (in the Ivies, at least).

"You've got to look at guys who were freshmen last year, Errick Peck in particular, who has to take another jump," Courtney said. "He's a guy who got spot playing time last year, and he's going to have to mature and become a guy that we can count on. Consistency will be the biggest thing for him."

Peck doesn't need to be Cornell's best player, night in and night out. But he needs to be one of Cornell's top five players on a consistent basis. He showed a lot of growth in the second semester portion of last season, when he defended better, positioned himself better, played with more confidence and became more comfortable with what was being asked of him. For Peck, Courtney said, maturing mentally is more important than the physical aspect.

"More than anything, more than the physical part, he has to be mentally ready," Courtney said. "That question is still to be answered. I don't know the answer to that. We probably won't know the answer to that until probably November or December. Obviously he has a tremendous amount of potential, and we're hoping and counting on him fulfilling that potential."

Courtney also said 6-2 sophomore point guard Miles Asafo-Adjei needs to earn a larger role.

"(He) has to make a tremendous jump in his game," Courtney said. "But if he does, he can really help us. He's a super athlete, he's one of the quickest guys in our league, if not the quickest, and so if he can improve his game, he can really be a guy that helps us."

Asafo-Adjei's area of need is shooting from the perimeter. It's a constant work in progress for him, but something he's embraced. Donahue loved A-A's work ethic, and how defensively he would make life chaotic for Lou Dale and Chris Wroblewski in practice. If nothing else, A-A can be a change-up guy to Wroblewski who comes in and pressures the ball heavily, runs the offense and takes care of the ball. In transition, he's an absolute blur.

Senior Adam Wire was the third name Courtney went to. Classmate Mark Coury was the fourth (Hopefully they can go from role players to main guys," Courtney said), and senior Aaron Osgood (6-9) and sophomore Josh Figini (6-9) also were mentioned.

With Wire, I think Cornell saw on three occasions last year what he gives you with extended minutes: rebounding, defense, steals and the ability to catch and finish underneath. He had 13 rebounds in 30 minutes in the Vermont win, when Alex Tyler was out with an injury, Coury got in early foul trouble and Donahue had yet to see the light with Jon Jaques; he had 9 rebounds in 27 minutes at La Salle, and he had 7 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes against UMass. He was never a threat to create his own offense, because the 2009-10 team never needed him to do that. I'm not convinced the 2010-11 version will need him to do it, either. But I certainly think Wire will be around the top of the Ivy League this year - not necessarily in rebounds per game - but in rebounds per minutes played per game.

Here was Courtney's take on Osgood: "To me, it seems he has all the ability to be a front-line guy. We'll just have to see if that continues over to the game, because it's different in practice than in games. But he has a chance. He has tremendous potential. He could be the Jon Jaques of this year, a guy that didn't play but who ended up having a great role in his senior season. We're really hoping that he develops into a front line guy for us."

Courtney on Figini: "He's athletic as heck and a tremendous defender already. We have to get him a little better offensively. He's a great athlete. He's strong enough now to defend and rebound, and he's a guy who can definitely have a role on this team."

Who can't? That seems to be the prevailing question right now. How deep can Cornell be this season?

"Deep," Courtney said. "(We're) going to have to be. We have a lot of guys who are so similar. I think we won't be afraid to throw guys in the game, and hopefully our team will play to exhaustion, the guys that are in there, because their teammates have their back."

So that's the last post before the start of the season - first practice is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Lots of unknowns, but lots of great story lines to follow over the next few months. Let the fun begin.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with what they say about figini. Maybe we have been underestimating him.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog, but if you keep clogging my twitter feed with all these retweets from random coaches, I'm going to have to unfollow you. There's really no need for 10 retweets that today is the start of hoops season.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound good for Chemerinski or McMillan.

Anonymous said...

Why no mention of Groebe? Too obvious?

Anonymous said...

Groebe and Gatlin were covered in another part of the series.

Yeah, no mention of Eitan or McMillan -- almost ever -- the silence is defeaning.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

You guys read too much into some of these comments.

Coach C. is speaking off the top of his head. He can't mention everyone and he did speak extensively on Gatlin and Groebe in Delaney's Part III article.

Expecting to see 10-12 guys play each game.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Jeez guys,

McMillan and Chemerinski are just sophomores. Jon Jaques had to wait until his senior year to play.

Again, too much reading into these posts.

The staff loves both of these guys. In fact, there is not a single kid on the team that they don't like.

Eitan has a good chance to play some point-center for the team. His body is still a work-in-progress, but once he gets stronger, he can be dynamite with his ball handling and shooting skills.

McMillan is also another guy they like because he is pretty strong and makes shots. He can flourish in the open court game with his shooting, but must show it on the defensive end.

Anonymous said...

last year at the red-white game, Pmac looked like Wittman's twin brother. It was hilarious.

harry 59 said...

interesting that there's no mention of the freshmen and the transfer.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

A prior Courtney-Delaney chat paid focus to Ferry and the Frosh.

Anonymous said...

Also, for one of Wire's standout games, watch Harvard@Cornell from 2009 on RedCast. Ski & Wire, a freshman and a sophomore who averaged only 2 min per game the previous year, scored 17 and 14 points respectively. It was very much like Seton Hall where Ski & Wire became the two key scorers after Witt.

Furthermore, no matter how many points he scores, Wire provides a spark.

Anonymous said...

Here's some good news about Eitan

Delaney tweets:
Winner of the "he obviously hit the weight room" award from Cornell's first practice: Eitan Chemerinski.