- Brown team report-"G Stephen Albrecht joins the squad after transferring from Toledo. He started 11 of 12 games there before leaving in midseason, scoring 15 or more points five times. Among those were 20-point games against Michigan State and Cornell, and 19 against Cincinnati."
- Columbia team report-"Columbia is one of four Ivy League schools with a different coach at the start of the season than it had at the same time a year ago. Kyle Smith was imported from St. Mary’s (Calif.) to replace Joe Jones, who left to become an assistant to former Cornell coach Steve Donahue at Boston College."
- Harvard team report-"The Crimson has never won the Ivy or appeared in the NCAA Tournament. But fresh off a trip to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament last March, [Tommy] Amaker looks to have the pieces in place to replace three-time champion Cornell atop the league standings."
- Princeton team report-"Princeton has spent the past two seasons in contention for the Ivy League title until the final weekend, only to fall short to Cornell. With its top five scorers back in 2010-11, plus the huge graduation losses suffered by the Big Red, this is the year many expect Sydney Johnson to get his alma mater back to the NCAA Tournament."
October 25, 2010
Cornell enters the season as the three-time defending champion of the Ivy League, fresh off a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Cornell has set the bar for the rest of the Ivy League, and there’s no question the rest of the conference is stronger as a result.
But the coach and eight players are gone from last year’s squad, leaving new coach Bill Courtney the challenging role of serving as everyone else’s measuring stick with a group of players that will have to adjust to their expanded roles in a hurry just to contend in the Ivy League.
Seems like a tall order, but former coach Steve Donahue didn’t leave the cupboard entirely bare when he left for Boston College during the offseason. There’s a lot of talent for Courtney to work with—it just hasn’t been seen much on-court time, except in practice.
The one returning starter is point guard Chris Wroblewski. He’s been an integral part of the team since his freshman season, and the All-Ivy performer showed last year he can set up teammates for easy shots. He may be asked to call his own number more often this season, and he’s a solid shooter who is ready to take on a greater offensive role.
A couple of transfers will vie for the spot alongside Wroblewski in the starting backcourt.
Max Groebe began his career at the University of Massachusetts, leaving for Cornell after his freshman season and showing 3-point shooting ability last year off the bench. Andrew Ferry comes to campus by a more circuitous route, moving from Valparaiso to Palm Beach State College to his new home in Ithaca. He averaged nearly 19 points a game in junior college and will be hard to keep off the floor.
As for the frontcourt … well, there’s nobody to replace Jeff Foote or Ryan Wittman. But there are a host of players with talent, starting with the mercurial Errick Peck. Peck will be very hard for opponents to guard if he can develop some consistency to go with his skills. Senior Adam Wire is ready for an expanded role as well.
And in the paint, veteran Aaron Osgood will battle for time with two more players who started their careers elsewhere. Ex-Kentucky Wildcat Mark Coury is the early favorite to start at center. Centenary transfer Anthony Gatlin spent last season guarding Wittman in practice and now will get the chance to see if any those moves rubbed off.
Cornell isn’t the preseason pick to win the league in most polls. But it is the champ until somebody proves otherwise, and there’s more than enough for Courtney to work with to make this team one to be reckoned with in 2010-11.
• Max Groebe averaged just three points a game last season, but that was the result of a lack of playing time rather than a deficiency in his scoring ability. In the five games in which Groebe got double-digit minutes, he averaged 11 points and made 17 of 28 3-point attempts.
• Cornell was the top 3-point shooting team in the country a year ago, making 43 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc. Though most of the team’s top shooters graduated, Max Grobe made 23 of 41 attempts (56.1 percent) and Chris Wroblewski went 54 of 119 (45.4 percent).
• Anthony Gatlin spent the offseason working to get stronger, as he prepares to take the court in a Cornell uniform for the first time after sitting out last year as a transfer from Centenary. He put on about 25 pounds before the start of practice in October.
Last Year: 29-5 overall, 13-1 in the Ivy League
Head Coach: Bill Courtney, first year as head coach
Quote To Note: “We’re expecting Chris (Wroblewski) now to go from role player, the fourth leading scorer on the team, to the main guy or one of the main guys. We’ve had several conversations already; he has to be a leader for this team. Mostly because of the position he plays, but his personality lends itself to being vocal and one of the leaders on this team.”—Coach Bill Courtney, in the Ithaca Journal.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Probable Starting Lineup: PG Chris Wroblewski, SG Max Groebe, F Errick Peck, F Adam Wire, C Mark Coury
Lineup Breakdown: With Wroblewski the only returning starter, none of these lineup decisions are set in stone. Both Andrew Ferry and Miles Asafo-Adjei will challenge for backcourt spots, while Anthony Gatlin and Aaron Osgood are the most likely to start the season as the top frontcourt reserves.
Scouting The Newcomers: Andrew Ferry, a transfer from Palm Beach State College (and Valparaiso before that) was one of the best 3-point shooters in junior college a year ago and will get significant playing time whether it’s in the starting lineup or off the bench. Fellow transfer Anthony Gatlin, who sat out last season after making the switch from Centenary, could win a starting job in the frontcourt. Guard Jack Matthews will have a harder time of it as a freshman, but he plays like someone who will be hard to banish to the bench. Manny Sahota, Dominick Scelfo and Dwight Tarwater will compete for time in the frontcourt.
• G Andrew Ferry injured his right wrist on a summer basketball trip to China but had recovered in time to participate in practice in October.
• F Errick Peck played in 31 games a year ago, most among the freshmen. He averaged 3.3 points and 1.5 rebounds, and had 25 of his 45 rebounds on the offensive glass.
• F Manny Sahota comes to campus as one of the best athletes on the team. The Canadian native is still raw, but that athleticism could win him time as a freshman.