Monday, November 8, 2010

"Albany's Will Brown talks Cornell"

Albany defeated Cornell, 78-75 victory on November 22, 2006 in Ithaca. At the time, Ryan Wittman (above) was a first semester freshman.
By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 8, 2010

Well, for all you college basketball fans out there, an official hearty hello and welcome back. It's game week.

Cornell, in Year 1 of Bill Courtney, opens Friday night at Albany - an intriguing game on a number of levels. First, the Great Danes are coming off a very trying 7-25 season in 2009-10, return a lot of guys who saw minutes and who believe they are capable of winning a good number more games in 2010-11. Second, it's Cornell's first game of a new era: one year after winning two NCAA tournament games and reaching the Sweet 16, the Big Red start over with Courtney, three new assistant coaches, a large returning corps of role players, one new transfer and three new (available) freshmen aiming to prove doubters wrong and keep Cornell at or around the top of the Ivy League conversation. Third, the one returning surefire dependable ball-handler from last year's team, Chris Wroblewski, is rehabbing an ankle sprain suffered in a scrimmage against Colgate two Saturdays ago. Will he be ready for opening night?

Albany coach Will Brown spoke at length today in a phone interview about Friday's matchup and about his own team. Although he and his staff are prepping for a Cornell team that's almost entirely different, from a personnel standpoint, from what's available to them on film, Brown said he believes his team will be armed with a good knowledge of the Big Red come Friday night.

"The biggest thing is, we're out in the recruiting world and we get to see a lot of these kids play," Brown said. "Whether we get them or not to come to Albany. We have a feel for some of their guys; we've gotten our hands on a ton of film. ... made plenty of phone calls to do our homework. The thing is with Cornell, three years in a row league champions, Sweet 16, those guys coming off the bench, they practiced against not three of the best Ivy League players, but the three best players in the Ivy League. ... Those (bench) guys could be as good as anybody in the Ivy League for all we know."

Brown went on to say he was familiar with the talents of sophomore Errick Peck through his contacts in the midwest, and through his own recruiting experiences.

"Peck is an all-Ivy League player," Brown said. "That kid is going to have a great year for them."

He said similar things about Chris Wroblewski; broke down what he knew on Max Groebe ("He can shoot the ball from the parking lot") and Mark Coury. Brown said he believes this game will be a difficult task for his team Friday night because Cornell's players are coming off a season in which they won 29 of 34 games.

"I expect them to play very well," he said. "Those kids are going to walk in our building expecting to win because they have Cornell on their chest."

Brown played about 12-13 guys, on average, last year and almost all of them averaged double-figure minutes. It won't be the same this year, he said. Albany will go with a nine-man rotation of 3 freshmen, 4 sophomores, 1 junior and 1 senior. There's only three freshmen on the roster, so figure on seeing a good bit of 6-8 F Luke Devlin, 6-10 Center John Puk and 6-5 G/F Ralph Watts on Friday. Albany's strength is its backcourt, with sophomores Mike Black and Logan Aronhalt, junior Russell Moore and senior Tim Ambrose in the mix. Brown didn't play Black in the early portion of last season's schedule, and ended up regretting his judgment. Black played well in the conference and earned a spot on the all-conference rookie team.

Ambrose was an all-conference guard as a sophomore, but his recuperating from a groin injury and still working his way back into game shape. Aronhalt is finally healthy, Brown said, after a couple of lingering foot injuries slowed him last year.

"We expect to win games, we expect to compete," Brown said. "We looked at our league and we think we'll be just fine. We think we'll be in the mix. We're much better than a year ago. I have no doubt about that. Our schedule in the non-conference is brutal. But I think we can be good to start off, and really good as we move forward."


Anonymous said...

Albany has a good shot of winning this game. Hopefully, Born Ready will carry us through (but I doubt it)

Anonymous said...

Listen, Albany will probably be somewhat better than last year. After a 7-24 year, I sincerely hope so. And, yes, they have a shot at winning their home opener.

But, a legitimate perspective is that we are countering with a group who matched up every day in practice last year with the best Ivy League team in 30 years. Someone pushed the Class of 2010 to be their best... and it was these guys who spent alot of time playing as a unit.

Sure, Cornell will play a different style ball this year. We may see The Red go ten-deep every game. I am sure they believe in themselves and the new system.

Fans, now that they have their shot, let's believe in them until they give us cause to doubt.