Monday, October 25, 2010

Recruiting News: Harvard Adds 20th to Roster

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

Per Montverde School, Steve Moundou-Missi (Montverde School) Montverde, FL, 6-6, F, committed to Harvard over Iowa and Brown. Moundou-Missi, a talented, rugged and physical power forward, gives Harvard its 20th player for the 2011-2012 season roster, including five freshmen.

Per several sources, Jared Smoot (Crown Point HS) Crown Point, IN, 6-10, C, committed to Navy over Brown, Ball State, Evansville. Cornell, Fordham and Northwestern also expressed some interest before taking other commitments.

John Golden (Northfield Mount Hermon School) Northfield, MA, 6-6, F and J'Vonte Brooks (Northfield Mount Hermon School) Northfield, MA, 6-6, F, are both visited Dartmouth this weekend.

Charles Swain (Notre Dame Prep) Fitchburg, MA, 6-2, G has been hearing from Stony Brook and Columbia.

Bill Wrightson (Toms River North HS) Toms River, NJ, 6-8, C was among several class of 2012 prospects reportedly visiting Cornell this weekend. He is currently hearing from Princeton and several top academic Division III programs.


Anonymous said...

So who is Amaker going to cut next?

KC Prep Hoops said...

We hear Davis Reid, a 2012 combo guard from KC was at Cornell scrimmage too. The kid can flat out shoot it and his stock is rising in mid-major world.

Anonymous said...

Who cares who he cuts? Is this JV basketball? This is D1 basketball and a microcosm of life.... Nothing is given but needs to be earned. The best players will play and if your not walk away with a harvard education so please cut this garbage out

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point, it is sneaky how Amaker brings in these AI guys every year to keep their AI numbers up and then they never see the light of day of their sophomore year. That is the point, not on who gets cut

Amaker has been caught once with his Shoparite antics and I would not be surprised to see it happen again

Plus it is not DI basketball to cut 14 guys over a few years, thats enough to field another entire team. How many other teams about there have cut this many guys?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The only people defending these cuts are the alums and fans of the schools doing the cuts.

These fans care nothing about the kids that get pushed aside. They only care about winning and winning by any measure.

The Ivy schools that regularly make these widespread cuts (which has not included Cornell, at least not yet) want to keep these cuts quiet.

Anonymous said...

CBB, I notice that you seem to be careful to use the plural in discussing Ivy schools which cut recruited players to make room for new ones in later years. If that is the case, I am curious to which programs besides Harvard you are referring. In addition, I wonder if you can help me as an uninformed reader estimate what a normal level of attrition would be for a team which did not proactively cut unpromising players but still did not actively work hard to keep guys on the squad who probably would not see much playing time. Two players a year? Three? All recruited players can't stay with a program because there isn't enough room on the bench, even including the JVs. We all like to criticize Amaker because he seemingly threatens traditional Ivy guidelines on recruiting and academic minimums, but how far out of the norm is his behavior?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Good questions.

Normal/acceptable attrition in the Ivy might be 1, maybe 2 losses per year for non-graduation/loss of eligibility reasons. But losing 8 kids in 4 years in a program is definitely a bit high.

If you view our roster reports, you will see 2-3 teams suffering abnormally high losses each year, shedding 3+ players per season.

These teams are Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth.

Columbia, Cornell and Yale have the best retention rates.

Columbia has not lost a single player in 3 years. Harvard has lost 14, almost entirely to pure cuts or constructive cuts.

Princeton and Brown are somewhere in the middle of the pack.

This is not a matter of opinion, these are the facts. Just look at the attrition numbers.

Anonymous said...


I'm a Cornell fan, and certainly not defending Amaker, but of the 3 schools with the high "cut" rates, perhaps there are other reasons such as coaching change which has driven this? Whenever there is turnover at the helm, there's generally turnover in the roster (I think you probably see this more often in football).

Cornell had Donahue as coach for 10 years, Columbia and Yale each had a Jones brother for a while.

mrjames said...

Whoa there.

"Harvard has lost 14, almost entirely to pure cuts or constructive cuts."

This is not true. Almost entirely due to cuts? Are you serious?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...


Max Kenyi (left during '10-'11)
Pete Edelson (left during '10-'11) CUT
Spencer de Mars (left during '10-'11)
Hugh Martin (left during '09-'10) CUT
Peter Boehm (left during '09-'10) CUT
Peter Swiatek (left during '09-'10) CUT
Eric Groszyk (left during '08-'09) CUT
T.J. Carey (left during '08-'09) CUT
Kyle Fitzgerald (left during '08-'09) CUT
Adam Demuyakor (left during '08-'09) CUT
Ndu Okereke (left during '08-'09) CUT
Darryl Finkton (left during '08-'09) CUT
Cem Dinc (left during '08-'09) CUT
Alex Blankenau (left during '08-'09) CUT

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Coach Courtney has not cut anyone and we don't expect any cuts.

We could be wrong down the road, and you are free to remind us that we are/were wrong if it happens. But don't hold your breath. Cornell is not cutting anyone.

Work hard and the kids have a spot in the program.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Also, Columbia has a new coach and a 21 player roster.

ZERO cuts by Coach Smith so far. And he could have done so already had he wanted to do it.

mrjames said...

So, here are the ones that I know about.

Cem Dinc just didn't want to play anymore. That's his choice.

Darryl Finkton wasn't going to be cleared from injury.

Ndu Okereke left the team to pursue other interests at the college (this happened frequently under Sullivan too, if you do your homework).

Blankenau, Carey, Fitzgerald and Demuyakor were absolutely cut. Against their will. This has been well publicized.

Groszyk suffered a horrible, career-ending concussion. He didn't want to quit, but Harvard didn't want the liability since the doctors felt it was really risky. If you want to blame that one on Amaker, go ahead.

I don't know about Swiatek, Boehm or Martin to be honest. Though, it would have been strange for Boehm, who was productive during his freshman year, to be cut.

DeMars decided to focus on being a student.

Edelson I don't know about, but he was offered a JV spot when he came to Harvard, not a varsity spot, so I'd bet he's back playing JV.

And Kenyi is obviously taking a year for personal reasons.

By my count that's 4 cuts that we definitely know about. There are 4 more that I don't know about 100 percent. And 6 that have an alternate explanation.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

You are off on a few of those guys.

Harvard's number of 14 departures is insanely high compared to the other Ivies. And the explanation is one word: (insert coach name here)

There were at least 10 cuts in that group. Some of the cuts were forced, others were constructive/implied, where the player was made to feel unwelcome in the program to the point of not wanting to be part of the team.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 7:07 PM on October 25,

Tommy Amaker has no incentive to bring in players with high academic index scores to boost his squad's average. The AI bands are only used in football. Beyond the very clear cut requirements in football, Ivy members only need to have the average AI of ALL their athletes fall within one standard deviation of the mean for their respective student bodies.

As long as you have enough smart kids on the tennis, squash, fencing and cross country teams to prop up the overall non-football average, you can pretty much stock the men's basketball team with whomever you want.

In other words, aside from football, Ivy League academic requirements for athletes are tantamount to a self-monitored honor system.

THAT'S what makes Amaker and Scalise so dangerous to Ivy athletics. Any school could basically decide to win any non-football sport by offering aggressive financial aid tantamount to scholarships and abandoning academic requirements. To date, it had not appeared that any Ivy had crossed that line.

Harvard looks like it has now stepped over the line.

Anonymous said...

Thats fine if Harvard wants to try to win that way but they should be upfront about it, why did they even bring Hamel in this year, is this guy ever going to play and will he still be on the team his sophomore season?

I have no problem with Harvard throwing out the AI and trying to win at all costs, I wish Cornell would do the same but they should not be bringing guys in who they will cut a year later just to boost their AI.

If the league would just allow athletic scholarships for basketball, we would not have any of these problems

mrjames said...

We can all agree (I hope) that this is 100 percent at the root of the perverse roster incentive structure.

"If the league would just allow athletic scholarships for basketball, we would not have any of these problems"

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

ABSOLUTELY 100 percent.

Anonymous said...

It appears Jerome has made cuts at penn this yr. Mullan and Egglestons younger bro

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The Penn news was already reported on the Blog.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:14, how do you know that the kids Amaker is bringing in aren't academically qualified? We don't know their grades, just because their better basketball players doesn't mean they are undeserving of getting into Harvard.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:14 here again. There is actually data available to judge whether athletes have Ivy caliber academic credentials. You'll notice that most players who commit to Ivies will be noted to choose, for instance, Penn over Cornell and Yale among others. That's evidence that at least two other Ivies deemed this kid academically admissible.

But when most recruited Harvard players say that they picked the Crimson over several other schools including more than a few high-majors, but none of which were Ivies, that is a red flag. The population of high school kids who can be legitimately admitted to Ivies AND play Division I basketball is exceedingly small. When these guys pop up, all of the Ivy coaches chase them because they can't afford not to.

Meanwhile, Amaker is bringing in stud after stud, NONE of whom were pursued by any other Ivy coach. Of course, I haven't seen the students' transcripts and SAT scores, but you can be sure that James Jones and Sydney Johnson have. If one kid turns down high-major scholarships to accept at Harvard without considering Princeton and Yale, that may just be good recruiting by Amaker. But if five kids turn down high-major scholarships without getting a sniff from ANY other Ivy League coach, that doesn't pass the smell test.

Anonymous said...


Don't you think these kids realize the roster situation? Or at least their parents do? One advantage of no scholarships is that these kids can decommit with no fuss if it turns out Harvard nabs another recruit in his class that plays his position. They look at Amaker, at Harvard's name, maybe even Jeremy Lin in the NBA and they've chosen to "gamble" on Harvard anyway. You don't get to play D-I ball without being super competitive and believing you're better than the vast majority of ballers.

I'm not even saying these kids didn't make a mistake in thinking they wouldn't be cut. Personally, if basketball is that important to them, I think they did screw up. I just think you need realize that they're aware of the roster situation and took a gamble anyway.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The families are not aware of the roster situation and they are sold on endless marketing speeches from the recruiting coaches.

Please don't be so naive.

mrjames said...

"The families are not aware of the roster situation and they are sold on endless marketing speeches from the recruiting coaches."

You'd rather them be sold on endless marketing speeches from this blog? I'm getting a creepy FOX News vibe here.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We give them an alternative view from the endless speeches/letters they are getting from the coaches, which tells them everything they want to hear.

Again, these are the undisputed facts:

There were 14 kids in 3 years at Harvard that were taken off the roster.

In cotnrast, no losses at Columbia, one at Yale, two at Cornell and three at Princeton.

In other words, the 14 departures at Harvard is more than TWICE the combined 6 departures at four other Ivy schools or half the league.

To quote Keyshawn Johnson, "C'om man!"

Anonymous said...

and again, you refuse to admit that one-time walk-ons do not deserve to be on the team all four years. Nuts

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

NONE of those 14 kids were walk-ons. They were all announced as part of the official recruiting classes.

Go back and read the Harvard press releases announcing the class and stop trying to defend a ridiculous 14 departures in 3 seasons.

Anonymous said...

"But when most recruited Harvard players say that they picked the Crimson over several other schools including more than a few high-majors, but none of which were Ivies, that is a red flag. "

It is amazing what you can find in Shop-a-rite

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We hear that the supermarket's security camera tapes would be a huge hit on YouTube.

How many hits would that get?

"Hmmm.... just shopping here for some soda, chips and oh my, what a coincidence, Les Rosen is here, father of the Ivy League's top recruiting target. Well, now that I got my chips, lets stop over and chit chat."

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Forget about this Blog for a moment.

How many different "representatives" of Ivy institutions questioned Harvard's conduct in the New York Times investigation?

mrjames said...

This took a little work, but here were Sullivan's rates of attrition over his final six classes or so (number of freshmen recruited / number that played all four years with the team):

1999-2000: 6 / 4
2000-2001: 1 / 0
2001-2002: 4 / 4
2002-2003: 9 / 4
2003-2004: 3 / 2
2004-2005: 3 / 2
2005-2006: 5 / 3

Versus Amaker's Classes:

2007-2008: 7 / (3 or 4)
2008-2009: 7 / 5

We'll see how this trends over time, but Sullivan was at about 61% of his recruits playing all four years. And out of Amaker's first two classes we're either at 57% or 64%, depending on what you ultimately think will happen to Kenyi.

Harvard has historically had attrition problems. I've heard a ton of different reasons from student-athletes during my time watching the team.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

So you are saying that Harvard is a "special case" and "unique" from Yale, Princeton, Cornell and the other Ivies and therefore it is not the current leadership at fault.

You can almost hear the other 7 schools laughing right now.

Anonymous said...

Mr. James,

The data that you found (thank you) shows the percentage of Sullivan's recruits who dropped out at any time over their next four years. Conversely, the data that you show for Amaker currently reflects merely the percentage of his recruits who dropped out within either two years (class of 2007-08) or only one year (class of 2008-09). Surely, you are not comparing these statistics on an apples-to-apples basis.

Sullivan's numbers are final figures. Amaker's numbers are incomplete and, judging by the first two campaigns in the Amaker era, may very well go up by the time the recruited classes graduate.

You may find CBB's flogging of the "cutting" theme a little heavy-handed, but your data does not help your counterargument. Amaker has approximately the same percentage of drop-outs in less than half the number of years in which a recruit COULD drop out.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

With 21 on board next year at Harvard, Tommy's biggest and most interesting cut has yet to take place.