Monday, June 6, 2011

News and Notes: Monday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Monday...

  • The Plymouth Herald of the United Kingdom writes of Cody Toppert's ('05) plans for next season:

Toppert admits a return to Raiders would be a 'long shot'

FORMER Marjon Plymouth Raiders guard Cody Toppert says it is a 'long shot' he will be back playing for the club next season.

The 28-year-old American, who also has German nationality, was coach Gavin Love's first signing last June.

But he asked to be released from his one-year contract and left the BBL club at Christmas for Forli in Italy's second tier, Lega 2.

He hopes to play on the mainland in Europe again in 2011/12.

Toppert, who was Raiders' chief three-point threat in 10 appearances for Love's team last season, said: "Returning to Raiders is not something I would rule out, but at this point it would be a long shot.

"I have been contacted by other BBL teams and at the moment I am weighing up all my options to find the best opportunity for me and my career."

Toppert memorably led Raiders with 41 points in a high-scoring 116-106 home win over Guildford Heat last December 29 – before stunning everyone by leaving for a one-week trial at Forli the next day.

His trial proved successful, but on a team struggling against relegation Toppert was soon released after making seven appearances.

"I didn't feel hard done by," said Toppert, who shot a terrific 46 per cent from the three-point line for Raiders, but against better defenders in Italy was held to 26 per cent from the perimeter.

"The situation was difficult. We were in last place in the league when I arrived, but had the chance to win every game I was a part of."

Forli finally went 8-1 in their final nine games, a remarkable run of form, which snapped a 10 game losing streak, to finish 12-18 in Lega 2 and narrowly clear of 11-19 Verona, who were relegated to division three alongside 6-24 San Severo.

Toppert added: "Before I injured my back I was averaging 14 points per game and shooting 40 per cent from the three-point line. It was tough timing.

"My movement was significantly restricted by the injury, but we were desperate to avoid relegation and I had to do whatever I could to help.

"We lost one of our most experienced Italian players, a power-forward and our coach was trying to bring in a forward to fill the gap.

"When you combine that with my injury, Forli were in a difficult situation. There was no time to wait."

Toppert averaged 14.2 points in 26 minutes per game for Raiders last season, largely off the bench.

He was replaced by Jerome Gumbs, who filled Toppert's minutes, but was a different player.

Gumbs put the ball on the floor and attacked the opponents' basket. Toppert really was a pure shooter.

Gumbs, who has expressed a strong interest in returning to Raiders next season, and Toppert were both solid defenders, but moreover Gumbs is supreme at that end of the floor.

Gumbs also had the ability to mentally take knocks during contests and inspire his team-mates to comebacks.

If Toppert, in my opinion, had a real weakness it was that when the going got tough at Raiders last season, Toppert went missing.

You certainly could not accuse Gumbs of that.

Toppert said of his options this summer: "At the moment it appears I will have opportunities in high level leagues.

"Europe is a great place to play and I have had some great experiences there. I feel the chances are very high that I will return to Europe.

"We are taking our time to make sure that we make the best decision. The (transfer) market is starting to move, but it will most likely be a month or so before we make a decision."

Italy's top-flight, Serie A, is officially ranked by ULEB, European basketball's governing body (who rank the BBL 25th) second to only Spain's ACB.

Toppert added: "Forli was a wonderful experience. I was very grateful for the opportunity.

"Italy's Lega 2 is widely regarded as one of the best in Europe. There are many former Euroleague and NBA players, and the fans and facilities are amazing.

"It will certainly be a springboard for me going into next year."

Toppert hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city in the south west corner of the United States.

Before joining Raiders in 2009/10, he again yo-yoed between playing at a high level, in Germany's top-flight at Goettingen, before being released and spending the second half of the season in Germany's third division.

Toppert, who will be in his seventh year professionally next season, said of his time at the Pavilions: "My wife and I loved the city of Plymouth. The people and fans were amazing and we had a wonderful time. We would like to thank everyone for making us feel so welcome."

He added: "I love the Raiders organisation and the people. I can truly say that the talent level we had this past season was more than capable of winning the BBL title.

"But experience and execution were a different story. As a result there were many ups and downs, especially our inability to come through on the road."

  • SB Nation's Celtics Blog asks, "Where Are They Now?: The Celtics 2010 Summer League Team" and writes about Ryan Wittman ('10), who was a member of the Celtics' (and New York Knicks') 2010 summer league team:
"Ryan Wittman - The son of former Cavs and T-Wolves head coach Randy Wittman (he got to play around in pick-up games with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota), he was a smart but un-athletic small forward who played his college ball at Cornell. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants picked up the former Ivy League Player of the Year in February to replace Wayne Chism. He played in 21 D-League games, scorring 7.1 mpg in 18.3 mpg in 21 games. He did lead the team with a 46.3% 3-point shooting mark, as 80 of the 119 shots he took were from beyond the arc. In the spring of 2010, he did sign a short contract to replace the injured Daniel Fitzgerald on Switzerland's SAM Massagno for their playoffs."
  • Throughout the year we provide periodic updates on Cornell's eight (8) overseas alumni playing professionally. Below, some updates:
-John McCord ('97) (SIG Strasbourg, Pro A France)-2010-2011 season concluded. The 6'6" forward and long time veteran of the European leagues averaged 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Strasbourg finished 12-18 and in 12th place in the 16 team league. During his roughly fifteen year pro career, McCord, a former 1st Team All Ivy League selection, has played in France's pro leagues, Venezuela and in the United Kingdom.

-Jeff Aubry ('99) (Halcones Rojos, LNBP Mexico/Arecibo Capitanes, Puerto Rico Basketball League)-Through June 6, the 6'11" Aubry is averaging 5.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for Arecibo (14-11, 4th place out of 10 teams). Aubry splits his time in both the Mexican and Puerto Rican professional leagues. He played several seasons in the NBA D League in the early part of his career with the Fayetteville Patriots and Florida Flame. During his more than a decade of pro experience, Aubry has also played professionally in the ABA and abroad in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.

-Cody Toppert ('05) (Forli, LegaDue Italy)-2010-2011 season concluded. Toppert, a 6'4" shooting guard was averaging 9.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for Forli before the franchise terminated his contract during March. Toppert previously also played this season with the Plymouth Raiders of the British Basketball League where he was averaging 14.2 points per game before moving to Italy. Like Aubry, Toppert is a veteran of the NBA D League, a former Albuquerque Thunderbird. During his pro career, Toppert has also played in the CBA as well as in Germany, Portugal, and New Zealand.

-Jason Hartford ('08) (Ginasio, LPD Portugal)-2010-2011 season concluded. The 6'9" Hartford concluded his season averaging 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Ginasio finished the year 10-12 and in 6th place in the 12 team league and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. During his career, Hartford has played professionally in Finland and Africa (Mozambique).

-Louis Dale ('10) (Gottingen, Bundesliga Germany)-2010-2011 season concluded. Dale completed the regular season averaging 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Goettingen ended up 17-15 on the season and in 7th place out of 18 teams in the Bundesliga.

-Ryan Wittman ('10) (Ft. Wayne Mad Ants, NBA D-League)-2010-2011 season concluded. With the season finished, Wittman averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game for the Mad Ants of the NBA D-League. Ft. Wayne finished 24-26 on the season and in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Before moving to the D-League during January, Wittman averaged 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for Forli in Italy's LegaDue this season.

-Jeff Foote ('10) (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel Winner's League/Melilla, Spanish 2nd Division)- 2010-2011 season concluded. Foote averaged 7.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the floor. Melilla did not qualify for the playoffs finishing with a 14-20 record and 11th place finish in the 18 team league. Foote is on loan to Melilla from Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

-Jon Jaques ('10) (Ashkelon, Israel Winner's League)-2010-2011 season concluded. Jaques finished his season averaging 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. Ashkelon was 6-21 and ended in 10th place in the 10 team Israeli league.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where are Lou and Wittman going to play next year?