Thursday, October 13, 2011

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Thursday...
  • The Patriot League Office notes that three of its members will face Cornell during the 2011-2012 season. The Big Red will play arguably the Patriot League's three best teams, Bucknell, Lehigh and American.
  • Below, our Tweets of the Day from the world of Cornell Basketball.
Men's Basketball Opens 2011-12 Practice on Friday

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Just two days before Cornell head coach Bill Courtney embarks on his second season with the Big Red, he brought out his trademark ear-to-ear smile when talking about the upcoming 2011-12 season. With four returning starters and 11 letter winners back from a team that won six of its final nine games a season ago, he has good reason.

A year ago, Courtney's first on the sidelines at Cornell, he watched as his team lost 10 games by five points or less, including games to NCAA tournament teams Boston University and Princeton, as well as nationally ranked Minnesota and postseason squad St. Bonaventure. Maybe no team in the country had more near-misses than the Big Red.

"I think as a first year head coach you really don't know what to expect," Courtney said. "You expect success, especially when you get your first head coaching opportunity. There was going to be some hurdles with all the losses from the Ivy championship teams, and we ran into plenty early in the season. Eventually they made us a better basketball team later in the year."

What Courtney expects is for that luck will change, though figuring out a way to replace nearly its entire frontcourt (Mark Coury, Aaron Osgood and Adam Wire) will be a priority.

"There's no question the key will be rebounding. We're not the biggest team in the world - we're probably going to be one of the smallest. We'll need to rebound the basketball, that will be a big challenge for us. We have to play great interior defense until our freshmen, who are a little bit bigger, are ready. We really have to play hard and not allow the ball to go into the post."

Courtney's charges will have one thing going for them ... they can score the basketball in a variety of ways. Senior Chris Wroblewski (14.2 ppg., 5.7 apg., 3.4 rpg., 1.5 spg.), a starter on the NCAA Sweet 16 team from 2010, returns for his final season after garnering second-team All-Ivy honors a year ago. He was the conference's leader in steals, was second in assists and among the top 10 in the Ancient Eight in scoring in 2010-11.

Senior Drew Ferry (11.9 ppg., 80 3-pointers), one of the conference's top snipers from the outside, and junior Errick Peck (11.0 ppg., 3.6 rpg.), a slasher and scorer, return after averaging double figures. In addition, seven other returners started at least one game, including fifth-year senior Max Groebe (6.7 ppg.).

"I think we'll be able to shoot the basketball, as this team has done the past few years. We'll be a team that competes very hard on every play and will be unselfish," Courtney said. "We're going to play faster than we did a year ago, and making the extra pass and being unselfish will really help us."

To follow the Big Red all season long, sign up for RedCast to watch every home game and listen to all road contests.

* See another question exclusively on Cornell's Facebook page.


Anonymous said...

From CBB Twitter: "Get ready for some earthquakes and you might be surprised with the location of the epicenter. You don't see it or feel it, but the tectonic plates are shifting in Ivy recruiting."

What the heck does that mean? I assume that this means the epicenter is not Cornell (which is bad for us, obviously).

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that the three best PL teams, and in that order, are Bucknell, Lehigh, and AU.... and two are coming to Ithaca!

A second PL team headed somewhere in the post-season is realistic for 2011-12!

Anonymous said...

Just looking at the guys you can identify standing in the huddle around Coach Courtney - Wire, Coury, Scelfo, Eitan, Miles, Groebe, Matthews, McMillen and Manny - noone in that group averaged more than 20 minutes per game last year.

Yet, that would have been a pretty solid 9 man rotation at Cornell 7, 8 or 9 years ago had they each averaged over 20 minutes per game, and probably could have been a fairly competitive 9 man rotation last year, even if not the best 9 man rotation.

Just goes to show the strides in recruiting that are being made and the depth that the program is building.