Thursday, October 21, 2010

News and Notes: Evening Edition

Below, some evening news and notes...

Ivy League Man: MHS hoops standout Cherry commits to Cornell

By Daniel Rigdon

MERIDIAN — After being courted by several Division I programs Devin Cherry has come to a decision. That decision: to continue his basketball career playing for The Big Red of Cornell University in the Ivy League.

Cornell, located in Ithaca, N.Y., is a program on the rise. It has captured the "Ancient Eight" conference title for three straight seasons, while making a run to the the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010 before falling to Kentucky.

That commitment to success is a major factor for his decision according to Cherry.

"I know the opportunities that I will have available to me up there," said Cherry. "In the recent years the basketball program has been getting a lot better and I just fell in love with the campus. I really believe in what coach (Bill) Courtney is doing there."

The academic standards of Cornell also played a major role in his commitment, which Cherry continued to elaborate on: "That was a big factor because I wanted to go to a school with great educational values. I believe you can't go wrong with the Ivy League. That combined with the improving basketball program makes it a great combination for me."

Other schools that were involved in Cherry's recruiting process were Penn, Wofford, Princeton, Bucknell, Western Kentucky, Murray State and Jackson State.

As a junior, Cherry helped lead Meridian High to a MHSAA Class 6A runner-up finish, while averaging 11.6 points per game and earned honorable mention All-State honors. In addition to his offensive output he is also the best defender for the Wildcats. Cherry was regarded as the No. 32 prospect in Mississippi according to Hoop Scoop Online.

With the pressure to make a decision lifted, Cherry will now look to help get the 'Cats back to the state title game— and this time win it.

"It's a big load off my shoulders now that I have picked a school," Cherry added. "I can concentrate on my senior year and winning a state championship now."

  • Cornell basketball alum Khaliq Gant ('10) is quoted in an A.P. article covering former Penn State football player, Adam Taliaferro's role in aiding recently injured Rutgers player, Eric LeGrand. All three athletes suffered severe spinal injuries. The following is from the A.P. article:

Taliaferro and his family offered similar encouragement to Cornell basketball player Khaliq Gant after the guard dislocated two vertebrae in his neck in a collision with two teammates that left him temporarily paralyzed in January 2006. Gant underwent a seven-hour operation to fuse the vertebrae and secure them with plates and screws. He started walking about four months later after following extensive rehabilitation.

"From Day 1, I had the confidence that everything happens for a reason, and that I was going to be OK,'' Gant said in a phone interview. "I don't know why, because doctors told me I wouldn't. But internally, I had that motivation to get back to where I was before.''

Now a wine consultant based on Long Island, N.Y., Gant has sent a message to Rutgers offering help. He also walks with a barely noticeable limp.

  • notes that Stony Brook has a "nonconference tilt at Cornell (Jan. 8) against a Big Red team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season."
  • Basketball Prospectus writes with respect to Seton Hall, "The Pirates play a tough slate of Temple, Cornell, Alabama, St. Peter's and either Iowa or Xavier in November."
  • Patrick Stevens of D1Scourse, a Mid-Atlantic college sports blog with a Maryland and ACC focus, told BC Interruption with respect to Steve Donahue, "When the topic of how he was received when he was hired [was raised with him], he noted that he wouldn't have had nearly the same credibility with [BC's] players if he hadn't taken Cornell to the regional semifinals."

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