By Jeffrey Bernard Foote
February 8, 2011
I wanted to write this in response to the article “Getting off on the Wrong Foote.” Now, don't get me wrong, I love reading anything about myself especially when it is high appraisal (I am a little egotistical and self-centered, after all), but I refuse to do it at the expense of my teammates/friends/brothers.
Mark Coury, Aaron Osgood and Adam Wire were no small part of our team last year. Instead, they are a huge reason why we were so successful. I really appreciate the comments that I developed and grew as a player and that my evolution was what propelled our team to victories, but truth be told it would not have been possible without the aforementioned three. Every day in the offseason, preseason and regular season, these guys were pushing me — namely Aro — harder than I had ever been pushed. I don't discredit the coaches for the help they gave, but so much credit has to go to these three.
They were the reason I become the player I did, and the fact is Aro would have started for many other IVY teams — he made it so that I looked forward so much to actual games because practice against him was such a bitch. No disrespect meant to any of my former opponents in the post, but Aro was the best big man in the Ivy League I faced last year.
Wire, due to necessity, is playing out of position this year. I think honestly that speaks to how good of a player he actually is, though. The fact that even Coach Donahue, as well as Coach Courtney, play Wire as a 4 man when he does not fit the profile just shows the confidence they have in him. He is too good to sit on the bench, even though he does not fit the stereotypical mold of a 3 or 4. He’s without a doubt the strongest guy I have played against, a tenacious defender and just does not stop (unless it’s at Dartmouth last year).
Finally, Coury cannot be blamed as no one expected him to become an offensive powerhouse. He’s a scrappy defender, hustles, gets his chip-ins and calls out screens very well. There was a reason he came in for me when I would get tired or in foul trouble last year; namely, he does the little things. That’s his forte, and always will be.
The problems of this year come from novelty. The new system, coaches, players and feel of the team would be a difficult change for anyone. I speak from experience knowing that myself, Lou, Jon and Witt have all had our fair share of struggles professionally, much the same as this Cornell team. It comes from the adjustment. When you take away a team comprised of mostly seniors — including arguably the top three players in the league — mixed with a guy like Geoff Reeves who should have been Defensive Player of the Year, Alex Tyler, who was not only a hell of a team leader, but a physical, strong presence, Pete Reynolds and Andre Wilkins, who would have started and played a ton for any other Ivy team, it will be a struggle for anyone. There is a learning curve that these guys are facing, and support is what they need, not singled-out criticism.
I really can't fully express how much every individual on last year’s team had an enormous impact on our team. Each player last year, from myself, Lou and Witt — down the depth chart to Rubix, Fruit and Johnny Gray — every person pulled their weight in what we did last year. Last year's team was about a lot more than the final result of the Sweet 16. It was about the season as a whole, and the three in particular that were mentioned in the article are unfairly and unjustly berated for their results this year. We would not have made it to where we did without them, and they are the true heroes of last year. I just wanted to make sure that if you are going to blame them for understandably struggling a bit this year, then also give them the just credit they deserve for last year and taking us to the Sweet 16.