Wednesday, July 13, 2011

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Immediately above, the basketball team page from the 1905-1906 edition of The Cornellian, Cornell's annual student yearbook. Featured in the photo is former Big Red team captain, Horace Brinkerhoff. Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...
  • Cornell is still officially short an assistant coach with Ricky Yahn vacating his 3rd assistant role and departing last month for Longwood.
  • Above, a look back at the final season stats of the Big Red for the 2001-2002 season, Steve Donahue's second season at Cornell. Highlighted in red are the eight '01-'02 freshmen, Donahue's first recruits. Seven of these freshmen earned at least three starts during their rookie season. Much like the 2001-2002 season, Bill Courtney heads into 2011-2012, his second season, in a rebuilding year with six freshmen on the roster.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pardon me, but I just don’t see any parallel to Coach Courtney’s current situation and that faced by Coach Donahue at the start of the 2001-02 campaign. And, I respectfully question your statement that Courtney faces a rebuilding situation this year. It is an unwarranted affront to our returning players.

Steve Donahue entered a program with a seven year record of (34-64, 72-111), one of four Ivy teams (Brown, Columbia, and Yale) to lose 111-126 games over that span. Those programs required building, not rebuilding. By agreeing to come in the middle of a basketball program year, Donahue rescued the Cornell basketball program from a dismal situation that involved personal medical tragedy. We just didn’t know at the time how beautiful and complete his rescue was going to be! Both the top rebounder and top scorer from a team that closed the 2000-01 season on a scorching 2-10 run, graduated. Coach had no choice but to bring in eight frosh for 2001-02. With the 3-4-5 open, the minutes were obviously there for the taking. Note that two of his 2001-02 frosh (the 3 and 4) became four year program mainstays and it is acknowledged by many that a third (the 5) was only a kneecap away from a really nice career.

Now, contrast this. Bill Courtney heads a program with a seven year record of (69-29, 124-80), five league wins (and 20 overall wins) better than the next-best Ivy teams over that span, the P’s. Dare I say that the program is “built.” In looking at the 2010-11 season, one could say that, after some baptism by fire in the non-con season and a potentially demoralizing 0-5 [mostly road] run to open the league schedule, Coach found a set of capable returnees plus a couple proud, uninjured seniors, to power a 6-3 closing run, complete with stirring victories and memorable performances. The vast majority of the guys who drove that nice run are back, four of them for their final shot at college ball. Sure, the top three rebounders are gone, but the top four scorers are back!

Unlike Steve Donahue’s first full year on the Hill, there is already a full rotation of upperclassmen who have spent time on the court winning together, for us fans to believe in. No matter how good the frosh are, barring injury, nothing resembling 2001-02’s 65 combined frosh starts will occur in 2011-12. Three proven upper class double-digit scorers plus two other upperclassmen more than capable of playing on both ends for a D-1 team come back to play the 1-2-3. Three capable upperclassmen return to man the 4-5. My bet is that two of the three are ready to step up to reach the modest sounding goal of 4RPG,9PPG for a whole season that was reached by only nine Ivy players last year. Stir a couple bulky, hungry frosh into that frontcourt rotation, plus an experienced defensive specialist that any team would love to have, and we’ve got ourselves an eight/nine man rotation that has the potential to play 40 minutes on par each night with every team in the Ivy League this year.

“Built” for success… this year!