Friday, May 6, 2011

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Friday...
  • Slope Media had some fun with Cornell seniors, Adam Wire and Aaron Osgood as they faced off in a 2-on-2 lacrosse game with Joe and Mike Devlin of the hockey team.
  • Unfortunately, no men's basketball players made the Cornell Daily Sun's list of Top 25 Senior Athletes. However, Errick Peck was named to the sophomore list, while Andrew Ferry and Chris Wroblewski made the list for juniors.
  • With the playoffs winding down in most of the European leagues, several of Cornell's alumni, including Jason Hartford ('08), above, are candidates for awards in their respective foreign leagues. Hartford averaged 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Ginasio Casino Figueira in Portugal's premier league. Hartford was a member of Cornell's 2008 Ivy League championship team.
  • Incoming Cornell recruit, Galal Cancer, was named his area's Player of the Year Award by the Troy Record. The Record writes:

COLONIE — Galal Cancer doesn’t need to be flamboyant on the basketball court. He doesn’t have to shake the backboard with a powerful dunk, psyche out his opponents by flashing an intimidating mug or incite the crowd with extraneous antics. He simply does his job, does it well, and in practically every instance, it was enough this season to give Christian Brothers Academy exactly what it was looking for all along: a win.

Cancer’s scoring numbers weren’t mind-blowing even if they weren’t exactly pedestrian. At 13.0 points per game, 79 other players in Section II put points on the board more frequently than the stoic 6-foot-2 Cancer. Then again, on a very talented CBA team that scored yet another Class AA championship and brought a perfect record into the state tournament, he didn’t need to be everything all the time. It is a testament, then, that his defensive prowess and his ability on the glass, displayed night in and night out, combined with his demonstrated ability to be the scorer when he had to be and his place as an obvious team leader are more than sufficient to make him The Record’s All-Area Player of the Year.

“He subordinated his game to the team effort all season long,” CBA head coach Dave Doemel said. “Galal’s never worried about his individual statistics. He’s good to his teammates and they respond in kind.”

Cancer’s first contributions to the team’s success this year came even before the team had met for its first official practice. With Doemel sidelined by health issues before the season, it was Cancer that assumed the mantle of leadership to ensure that he and his teammates were ready to do battle.

“He was the guy that got everyone into the weight room and into the gym while I was sick,” Doemel said. “When Galal talks, people listen. He was never asking anyone to do anything that he wasn’t prepared to do himself, and that’s the kind of leader that people are willing to do anything for.”

It’s not a story his classmates at CBA would likely find surprising. Cancer was recently honored with a leadership award by the National Honor Society not as much for his leadership on the court than his leadership in the classroom.

With the Brothers coming off a state championship season and still packed with talent, Cancer led his team in the areas that you aren’t going to see glorified in the box score the next morning, but were crucial elements nonetheless.

“He made all of us intense,” Doemel said. “When he was playing defense on the other team’s best player, chances were pretty good that team wasn’t getting the kind of output they were used to seeing. If they had a guy who was scoring 18 points a game, Galal would be out there on him and he’d get 11.”

Even on a team as top-to-bottom good as CBA was, the Brothers were noticeably different without their captain on the court. For instance, when early foul trouble put Cancer on the sidelines early in a game against Troy High school, the Flying Horses made things very difficult for CBA, taking advantage of

Cancer’s absence to bring the Brothers closer to defeat than they would come during the course of the regular season.

And of course, when CBA needed someone to step up and carry the team, Cancer was there to answer the call. Most notably, he almost single-handedly put the team on his back during a stellar performance in the Class AA semifinal against a very game Albany High team. With the Falcons leading late, Cancer’s defensive efforts kept the Brothers in the game, and his hard work on offense drew several shooting fouls, and his

16-for-17 night from the free throw line made all the difference. He finished the night with a season-high 30 points.

The outstanding numbers from the foul line were not atypical in the slightest. Cancer’s 86.3 percent free throw percentage had him second only to La Salle junior Tyler Reed in that category. Against Albany, even the most pressure-packed of his shots were made with a cool head, each practically identical to the last. It was all a far cry from his 67 percent figure that he put up just two years prior.

“He knows what his weaknesses are as a player, and he works relentlessly to overcome them,” Doemel said. “He shot free throws constantly to improve, and that’s exactly what he does with any perceived weakness. He works with constant effort to overcome them.”

Cancer, an All-Area first teamer for the second consecutive year, will be off to the Ivy League next season — he enrolls at Cornell University in the fall, where head coach Bill Courtney expects him to step in right away and compete for a position as a point guard. But that, ultimately, will only be a secondary goal in Ithaca.

“I want him to be a great contributor on Wall Street,” Doemel said. “He’s going to Cornell looking for a career in business rather than a career in basketball, and I think that tells you that his head is in the right place.”

For now, Cancer focuses on grabbing boards as opposed to serving on them, and his mentor at CBA says his immediate future in the game looks bright.

“He could be even better as a college player than he was as a high school player,” Doemel said. “His work ethic and willingness to be coached gives him an astronomical upside.”

Cancer is part of a trio of players from CBA honored on The Record’s All-Area teams. Classmate Max Weaver is a First Team All-Area selection after earning Third Team honors last year, while junior Joe Krong earned Second Team honors. Joining Cancer and Weaver on the First Team are Shenendehowa senior Jose Reyes, who led his team to the Suburban Council championship, and Albany High senior Amari Gaddy, one of the main engines for the Falcons’ solid campaign.

A pair of juniors also earned First Team nods, with Mechanicville’s Jordan McBride standing out as one of the best players in the Colonial Council despite a difficult year for the Red Raiders as a team, and Albany Academy’s Jelani Currie establishing himself as one of the area’s best young scorers playing against a schedule that forced him to be on top of his game night in and night out.

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