Wednesday, April 20, 2011

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...
  • [Sigh] Cornell is still working on some final details of the 2011-2012 schedule and it is not quite ready for release to the public.
  • In addition to the individual workouts with the returning veterans, the Big Red staff are still working relentlessly on the recruiting trail and transfers have expressed interest in Cornell. Do not rule out some other new additions to the 2011-2012 roster.
  • The Zanesville (OH) Times Recorder reports that Tanner Gibson (Zanesville HS) Zanesville, OH, 6-2, G, committed to the University of Albany after originally committing to Columbia. The Columbia staff reportedly requested that Gibson attend a year of prep school after he was declined admission to the University. Rather than go to prep school, Gibson decided not to pursue the Ivy League and instead committed to Albany which happened to have an extra scholarship available.
  • Speaking of roster sizes and offseason transactions, here is a look at the updated projected roster sizes for the Ivy League teams for the 2011-2012 season.
A listing of recruited players verbally committed to attend Ivy League programs next year may be found by clicking here.

Below is also list of players who were on Ivy League rosters, but left their respective programs since the 2008-2009 season due to reasons other than health/medical, graduation and/or exhaustion of NCAA eligibility. This list could be considered as an indicator of Ivy League players' satisfaction with their respective programs or evidence of coaching staffs that force out and cut players from the program.

Hakeem Harris (left during '10-'11)
Colin Aldridge (left during '09-'10)
Sean Kane (left during '09-'10)
Stefan Kaluz (left during '09-'10)
Jean Herbert Harris (left during '09-'10)
Noel Hollingsworth (left during '08-'09)
Morgan Kelly (left during '08-'09)

Sandeep Dhaliwal (left during '10-'11)
Tom Piscina (left during '10-'11)
Issa Masse (left during '10-'11)

Alex Hill (left during '09-'10)
Marc Van Burck (left during '09-'10)

David Eads (left during '10-'11)
Josh Riddle (left during '10-'11)
Herve Kouna (left during '10-'11)
Josef Brown (left during '10-'11)
Garrett Brown (left during '09-'10)
Marlon Sanders (left during '09-'10)
Brandon Ware (left during '09-'10)
Elgin Fitzgerald (left during '09-'10)
Jarrett Mathis (left during '09-'10)

Max Kenyi (left during '10-'11, temporary leave of absence)
Pete Edelson (left during '10-'11)
Spencer de Mars (left during '10-'11)

Hugh Martin (left during '09-'10)
Peter Boehm (left during '09-'10)
Peter Swiatek (left during '09-'10)
Eric Groszyk (left during '08-'09)
T.J. Carey (left during '08-'09)
Kyle Fitzgerald (left during '08-'09)
Adam Demuyakor (left during '08-'09)
Ndu Okereke (left during '08-'09)
Darryl Finkton (left during '08-'09)
Cem Dinc (left during '08-'09)
Alex Blankenau (left during '08-'09)

Casey James (left during '11-'12)
Tommy Eggleston (left during '10-'11)

Sean Mullan (left during '10-'11)
Malcom Washington (left during '10-'11)
Carson Sullivan (left during '09-'10)
Brian Fitzpatrick (left during '09-'10)
Tommy McMahon (left during '08-'09)
Harrison Gaines (left during '08-'09)
Remy Cofield (left during '08-'09)
Garvin Hunt (left during '08-'09)

Zane Ma (left during '09-'10)
Max Huc (left during '09-'10)
Gus Gabel (left during '09-'10)

Michael Sands (left during '10-'11)
Garrett Fiddler (left during '09-'10)
  • Below, quotes of the day on Twittersphere from members of the Cornell Basketball community.

Big Red provide blueprint for national success

Columbia has the prestige, money, and location that one would think make it at least as attractive for athletes choosing between it and another Ivy like Cornell. While Columbia has the world to offer high school athletes, another type of recruiting may be luring these students to Cornell.

What are we doing wrong? It’s a question I ask myself after every Lions football season, after the baseball team loses 22-21, and after the basketball team, despite an outstanding season, fails yet again to make March Madness. So I’ve come to terms with the fact that the Ivy League will not be taking my suggestion of granting athletic scholarships. I’ve accepted, despairingly, that Columbia will not be bringing varsity ice hockey to campus any time soon. And I’m content with the fact that Snoop Dogg is headlining Bacchanal. OK, so I’ll try to stick to sports…

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago titled “What Makes Cornell So Good?” The piece focused on Cornell’s wrestling team, which recently finished second in the nation behind Penn State at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships. The author asks a familiar question: “…how can Cornell, an Ivy League team that offers no athletic scholarships, even compete with such powerhouses?” He posits a rather simple argument—that “key generous alumni” provide the financial resources necessary to purchase top-notch athletic facilities. The article also suggests that Cornell’s wrestling program attracts strong recruits due to its extensive alumni network, a recent influx of high school wrestlers, and the lack of wrestling teams at many colleges, which thus creates a funnel effect into schools with a team.

Fair argument, but why not Columbia? Or Yale? Or Harvard? It seems to me that all the reasons offered for Cornell’s success apply to the entire Ivy League. Does Cornell really have a leg up when it comes to recruiting and training facilities? Take a look at Columbia. It is the only Ivy located smack dab in Manhattan, just a quick ride on the subway provides students with access to nine major professional sports teams, our country’s central financial hub, and a vibrant art and music scene.

According to a public report released by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Columbia spends more money on recruiting than all other Ivies with the exception of Princeton. Columbia also flaunts an endowment of approximately $6.5 billion, well over $1 billion more than Cornell. In terms of financial resources, Columbia has the leg up.

Columbia has the prestige, money, and location that one would think make it at least as attractive for athletes choosing between it and another Ivy like Cornell. While Columbia has the world to offer high school athletes, another type of recruiting may be luring these students to Cornell. According to a Wall Street Journal survey published this past September, only one Ivy ranked within the 25 top colleges tapped by corporate recruiters. You guessed it—Cornell. Our neighbor to the north ranked 14th on the list behind state schools such as Penn State, University of Illinois, and Carnegie Mellon.

But is it feasible to suggest that high school seniors would chose Cornell over another Ivy for the sake of future job opportunities? Well, maybe. Most top Ivy athletes I’ve encountered say that they chose Columbia because they wanted a world-class education as well as a spot on a varsity sports team. This generally holds true for the Ivy League as a whole, as most collegiate athletes will never play professional sports after college. As Ivy athletes matriculate without the incentive of athletic scholarships, it is likely that job recruiting is a deciding factor for student-athletes weighing the pros and cons of each school.

By now we’ve all seen the Daily Beast’s list that ranks Columbia the most stressful college in the country. For what it’s worth, Cornell ranked 16th on the list, behind every other school in the Ancient Eight except Brown, which ranked 17th. To add insult to injury, college reviewing site ranks Columbia behind Cornell in 13 of 14 categories of comparison including education, social life, extracurricular activities, and even funding use. Columbia only edged out Cornell in the category of “Surrounding City,” earning a letter grade of ‘B’ to Cornell’s ‘B-’. Booyakasha.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons why prospective student-athletes would chose Columbia over Cornell. Columbia may be stressful—we can all attest to that—but our school also ranked fourth on U.S. News and World Report’s most recent list of top national universities, eleven spots ahead of Cornell (go us!). But while we shouldn’t let survey and rankings get to our heads too much, they may help explain why Cornell arguably has the most successful athletics program of any Ivy.

Perhaps we need to come to terms with the fact that Cornell may offer the attraction of Ivy academics without the stress of the other Ancient Eight schools. It seems that somewhere along the line Columbia lost its recruiting mojo, while in the meantime Cornell built a reputation of being the hottest Ivy in terms of both athletics and academics. While the lure of Cornell is unclear, the stigmas that Columbia carries must be eradicated, as they are scaring off top athletes. Who knows, it could have been Columbia in the Sweet 16 last year or the Lions placing second nationally in wrestling.

As we wind down from the excitement of Days on Campus and start making Butler our home for the remainder of the semester, we should remember why we are here in the first place—to learn, explore New York City, and, of course, to constantly make fun of Princeton. Though following the Lions remains an emotional roller coaster with astronomical highs and depression-level lows, it sure makes for one hell of a ride.


Anonymous said...

All that fuss you made over Harvard's roster size and our rosters going to be the same size as theirs? Do you expect people to get cut from our team?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The problem with Harvard is that they over-stuff their roster then cut kids or force them out if they want to make room for someone else.

Harvard's roster should be much bigger. It just looks similar in size.

First, Harvard cut 14 kids in the last 3 years just to get to 21. In reality, they should have 35 kids in their program.


Cornell's roster of 21 includes two kids that were midseason invited walk-ons (Jamal Cherry and Jon Grey). Harvard has no walk-ons. All 21 of the Harvard kids were recruited.

Cornell's roster has 4 seniors vs. the 3 seniors on Harvard's. So Cornell's roster is not as heavy.

Cornell's roster includes some unrecruited transfer students. Harvard has no transfers. All 21 kids were recruited out of high school.

Finally, Cornell does not cut players and will not do so. Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth have made cuts in recent years. In fact, Harvard and Penn do so almost each year.

Anonymous said...

Our roster is still really big. Start a JV team or something.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Agree, yes the roster at Cornell is big, but so are the rosters at each of the Ivy schools, with the exception of Brown. But give Jesse Agel and Brown some time and his roster will get bigger as well. He has 12 for next year and none of them are seniors. Once he adds 4-6 players in his H.S. class of '12, he too will have a roster north of 16 kids.

We see the problem not so much with the total number of players, but how the kids are treated.

At Harvard, it is well documented as to what they do there and how kids are pushed out and cut.

It is truly a credit to Cornell that this program does not cut players or force them out.

Anonymous said...

IMHO the reason Cornell hasn't suffered a lot of losses in recent years, despite having similar roster sizes as Penn, is because they were winning. However if Cornell doesn't resume its winning ways, they risk starting to see kids leave in droves as Penn sees. We saw last year what losing can do to crush spirits and motivation; it might eventually have similar effects on program satisfaction.

One thing that might help Cornell keep losses from reaching Penn's levels, however, is Courtney's high-pressure system that gives many kids significant PT. The Penn transfer Casey James got 4 minutes of PT all year. At Penn, 4 players saw less than 50 minutes of PT last year. At Cornell, only 1 guy had that (walk-on Jamal Cherry had 5 min). Everyone else got 50+ minutes of PT (except Tarwater who was sick early in the year and got 44 min in 7 games).

Of course part of it is that Courtney experimented a lot last year, but even when Courtney stopped experimenting partway through conference play, a whole lot of guys were getting significant PT. His regular rotation late in the season was still up to 13 guys, with the deep benchwarmers getting some time here and there, while guys like Casey james barely saw the light of day.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Interesting point on the "winning" theory, but Harvard lost 3 kids AFTER they made the Tournament a year ago and were preseason favorites.

Winning alone is not enough to keep a kid in a program. He needs to enjoy the overall "family" experience.

Anonymous said...

Well, Kenyi was on the leave but I'll give you the other two. So yes my argument breaks down for recent Harvard roster losses. I got the impression that kids left the Harvard team for different reasons than they left Penn -- they were cut or forced out to make room while Penn kids, while a couple were cut, mostly left cos of PT. But recent Harvard losses might not match that pattern. I mostly had Penn in mind.

Anonymous said...

People on Twitter, like Delaney and Glockner, are treating Casey James like a whiner who unfairly expected to play over upperclassmen. But the kid played FOUR minutes. All year. And he wasn't a walk-on or anything; he went from touted recruit to sitting there game after game and only getting into 2 games out of 30. Unless he was injured, which it doesn't sound like he was, how does a kid get only four minutes? Did the coach forget he existed?

Four minutes is just harsh. Last year under Donahue even guys like Wilkins/Reynolds/Osgood or frosh Eitan/PMac/Fruit could scrape together 25-30 minutes each.

I browsed all the Ivy rosters on ESPN, and 4 minutes was the lowest on any Ivy team. There are guys with 6, 8, and 9 minutes on Y, H, and Pr rosters, but even they got into more games than this poor dude, and I know the kid who got 6 minutes (Yale) was a two-sport walkon. And then Jamal Cherry, also a walk-on, with 5 min.

I think people are being hard on this kid. I don't think he was being unreasonable.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Perhaps Casey James did not earn more than 4 minutes. Or maybe he did. Let's not pretend that we know who was right here (Allen or James). But what we do know is that Penn has a big roster and has had trouble keeping kids happy with their college choice. A lot of the Penn kids have bolted to transfer to places like Cal Riverside, UNC Asheville, and Bucknell.

As for Harvard, it is well documented that they have made player cuts. They have also recruited "AI booster" kids then cut them loose after a year.

The numbers speak for themselves. Look at the high turnover at Penn and Harvard.

Anonymous said...

What evidence do you have that Harvard admitted "AI booster" players and then cut them loose after a year?

It seems the big house-cleaning took place when Tommy Amaker showed the door to all of Frank Sullivan's recruits -- excepting Jeremy Lin, of course.

A new head coach cutting all of his predecessor's recruits is unseemly but hardly related to AI boosting. Indeed, it appears to me just the opposite; Amaker is less constrained by the AI than Sullivan was. I'll bet that, practically speaking (in other words, reflecting the true support he gets in the admissions department), Amaker is less constrained by the AI than any other coach in the League.

Look at the Columbia recruit who was just rejected by the admissions office. How many Amaker recruits do you think are being rejected by Byerly Hall?

Anonymous said...

Penn kids transfer, Harvard kids don't. A Harvard scholarship has more value. The Harvard "cuts" weren't good players. An Ivy league basketball shouldn't be guaranteed a roster spot. Coaching staffs recruit extra players because 1-2 players per year are going to go down with injuries. Statistics would support that reality. You can argue the morality of "recruiting" on the margins.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The Cornell Basketball Blog has no public record evidence, but this does not make it any less true, and we know for a fact it is done.

Keep in mind that the practice is also not a violation. It reflects poorly on the school, but does not violate any rules.

On a side note, we had no public record evidence when we cited that the NCAA was looking into Harvard's infractions (post Ivy League exoneration). Some of our readers doubted this statement and argued Harvard was free and clear.

But look what happened, The Cornell Basketball Blog was correct, the NCAA did re-open the matter, found violations and issued a sanction.

It is a known fact around the Ivy League that Harvard uses "AI Boosters." Cornell's admissions policies (not the athletics department policies) do not permit this type of practice. Just two schools with differing philosophies. In the case of Harvard, the University will do anything it can to win, even if it means diminishing its reputation in academics.

Anonymous said...

There have also been rumors that Harvard uses an Athletics Program-wide AI.

It has been said that Amaker has been granted permission to "borrow" some of the lower-end AI spots that were formerly the property of other coaches.

It is possible that this is meant to be a temporary blip, designed to improve the basketball program to the point where it proves itself desirable enough that it can sustain winning with routine AI recruits who can also play the game.

Anonymous said...

Dont all the Ivies have an athletic program wide AI?

Anonymous said...

It's not too hard to imagine that the three lowest AI teams on most Ivy campuses are the men's basketball, hockey and baseball teams. (Football of course has its own scale and does not get averaged into the overall mean.)

There may not be cause and effect at work here but Harvard's recent strength in men's basketball coincides, from a timing standpoint, with the weakest that it has been in decades in men's hockey and baseball.