Friday, March 25, 2011

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Friday...
  • Incoming Cornell recruit, Galal Cancer (Christian Bros. Academy) Albany, NY, 6-2, G, is once again a runner-up for the Albany Times Union's Athlete of the Week. The Times Union writes, "Galal Cancer, CBA boys' basketball: The senior co-captain capped his stellar varsity career Saturday by scoring 11 points, grabbing nine rebounds and adding three assists in the Brothers' 61-56 overtime loss to Jamestown in the Class AA state semifinals at Glens Falls Civic Center. Cancer, the Big 10 and Section II Class AA Tournament Most Valuable Player, is headed to play his college basketball at Cornell."
  • The Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League are making a late push for the playoffs and picked up a big win last night over the Erie Bay Hawks (coached by former Cornell assistant coach, Jay Larranaga), 96-80 in Erie, Pa. Ryan Wittman ('10) played a huge role in the win, netting 11 points on 4/8 shooting (3/6 from beyond the arc) along with 2 rebounds and no turnovers in 23 minutes of action. The Ft. Wayne News Sentinel recaps the game and writes, "The game hung in the balance, with the Ants up 71-70 with 7:30 to play. Ants forward Ryan Wittman’s three-point shot and Ron Howard’s three-point play began a 20-6 run over the next six minutes. 'The biggest shot was Wittman’s three,'Ants coach Joey Meyer said."
  • Rush The Court writes, "With the Sweet 16 getting underway last night and a number of notable seniors finishing their careers with each game it is worth considering whether some of the less talented ones will be playing competitive basketball again. For those that aren’t NBA material the decision comes down to whether or not they are willing to play abroad. Jon Jacques, who graduated from Cornell last year, decided to pursue his dream of playing professional basketball and offers some insight into the process that these players face."
The Ivy League has been involved in some of the most exciting storylines in college basketball recently, making us think, and hope, that schools in the Ivy League will have an increasingly competitive presence. Cornell made it to the Sweet 16 last year, Princeton and Harvard played in a play-off game deciding which school will go to the tournament, and Princeton pushed Kentucky to the final buzzer in one of the most exciting early-round games of the NCAA Tournament. Jeremy Lin, a graduate from Harvard, is playing in the NBA this year.

Though the Ivies are often competitive over sports, admissions percentiles, U.S. News & World Report rankings, and general character differences, the past two NCAA tournaments have brought the Ivy League together. As we cheered on Princeton during its tauntingly close match with Kentucky, and Cornell during their Cinderella-like tournament run last year, we realized that we can root for our Ivy League brothers despite our differences.

From Big Red To Mad Ants

A year ago at this time the Cornell Big Red were the darlings of college basketball.
They had become the first Ivy league team since 1979 to advance to the sweet 16.
4 of the standouts from that team then signed to play professional basketball in 4 different countries.

The one closest to home is Ryan Wittman.
The leading scorer on that Cornell team signed to play in Italy, but is now in the NBA developmental league, playing in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He joined the Mad Ants mid season, which has only made the transition even tougher.

"Kind of difficult to come in during the year and join a new team after they've already played 20 or 30 games already. It's kind of something you have to figure out on the fly, figuring out what people's strengths and weaknesses are. I feel like I've been here awhile now so I'm definitely getting more comfortable with my role."

Coach Joey Meyer says, "Ya know, everyone knows he can shoot the basketball and when he goes in I tell him, you've got an open shot. He should be...i don't say hunting for a shot but he should be looking for a shot. The other thing he's got, he's been doing for us I think he's been playing better defense and rebounding. He's a little bigger than people think and he's helped us a little on the boards."

Last week Wittman scored a season best 21 points and has been getting more minutes for the team.
Fort Wayne is in a battle to make the D-league playoffs this season.

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