Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Foote Speaks Out

By Jeffrey Bernard Foote
Cornell Daily Sun
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.


Anonymous said...

Well said - Foote. Great article - coming from a great guy!!!

Anonymous said...

The best comments I've read here in a long time- including those written by myself! Bravo Jeff-

Anonymous said...

Great Teammates!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear they really do call him Fruit.

Anonymous said...

I agree the team couldn't of been anything without everyone. No one goes to practice with just 5 guys. It takes a team to make it to where yall got. It's just a same that the fans as well as the media forget so quickly. All in all well said foote!!!!!!

Moosehead said...

I am an even bigger Jeff Foote fan now.

Anonymous said...

The article shows that Jeff Foote is a class act, along with all the guys who wear the Red uniform. Unfortunately, the article is written with too much humility and slants the truth that Foote himself along with Dale and Wittman are the true reasons why this team made it to the Sweet 16. Foote had great teammates along the way and Aro probably did a great job of banging around with him in practice. Wire we all know is a stand up guy and a good teammate. All those guys were special, but the fact that we had a 7 footer who developed the way he did made it possible to free up so many other areas of our offense which we would crush teams with. He really is the reason and if he wants to thank his teammates for helping him get there, that's cool.

Anonymous said...

Getting off on the wrong Donahue.

Don't take that the wrong way.

Donahue and his system are bigger losses than any one player. It took ten years to get the players that were needed to execute for him and buy in, totally buy in, to his approach. Well, seven or so years.....

His continuity would have done more for this season than any one player - that's the way that the college game works, and, again, it took 6-10 years to get to that point. Foote uses the term "novelty."

This is not a knock on the current coach. He can build the same thing. It will likely be a different program. His program. His Sweet 16.

A new coach can kind of be like a blind date. Sometimes there is chemistry, sometimes no chemistry, almost always it is different.

Add another level of complexity if that person's blind date is their first date.

Donahue seems to have some level of chemistry at BC, and, IMHO, from far away, it may be due to the fact that he stresses a great deal of fundamentals like shooting drills etc. - that approach makes him a better blind date than most, one would suspect.

Great coaches are great leaders. They recruit kids that fit and buy into the program, not just great atheletes. They get players to accomplish more as a team than they would as individuals playing on a team.

Sometimes a lot of talent can overcome a poor fit, but, at the end of the day, those teams will get beat. Talent, leadership, and buy in leads to something special, like UCLA, IU, etc.