Thursday, December 8, 2011

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

After working out for the Portland Trailblazers during 2010, Jeff Foote (Cornell '10) announced via Twitter last evening that he received an invite to attend 2011-2012 training camp with the team. Foote reports to Portland on Friday. He is currently under contract with the Springfield Armor of the NBA D-League. Below, photos of Foote's workout with the Blazers in 2010 and some news and notes for Thursday...

  • Our Tweets of the Day from the world of Cornell Basketball on the twittersphere.

Braxston Bunce (left) of Kelowna Secondary and Cameron Smythe of Sir Charles Tupper at the Telus high school basketball tournament.

Hoops giants share height, brin g different things to the game
Cameron Smythe at seven feet, Braxston Bunce at 6-11, tower above opponents at Telus Classic basketball tournament

VANCOUVER - There is an old saying among basketball coaches that you can’t teach height.

You either have it or you don’t. Two basketball teams playing in this year’s Telus Classic high school tournament have it — big time.

Towering at seven feet and 6-11 respectively, Cameron Smythe with Sir Charles Tupper high school and Braxston Bunce with Kelowna secondary are making this year’s tournament a standout. It isn’t often that you get one, let alone two, players of such stature in the signature fall event in the high school basketball season.

Height in a player, as any basketball coach will tell you, is a great asset. It makes shots and rebounds that much easier. But it comes with its drawbacks. As physiques soar above everyone else on the court, so do expectations.

Fortunately, Smythe and Bunce, both Grade 12 students, have not come up short.

While the two will be on opposing sides in the tournament, they formed a friendship while playing together on the provincial team this summer. They had much in common. Besides being the two centres, they could talk about everything from shoe size to college prospects.

But of course, the fact that two guys are tall does not make them synonymous.

Smythe, who is still weighing his collegiate options for next year, is a rakish 180 pounds while Bunce, who is headed to Cornell University in New York state, weighs in at 250 pounds.

Given the difference in their physiques, Smythe is the quicker one on the court and while both play the mid-post, he plays more of a high-post kind of game while Bunce sticks closer to the net and plays more in the low-post position.

Their different weights bring different challenges.

“I have good movement, a good ability to run the floor,” said Smythe. But “it’s harder against bigger guys. It’s hard to body them, but I’m usually faster.”

Although Bunce is heavier, his coach, Harry Parmar, said he is the quintessential basketball player. “He has a good low-post game but he runs the floor, rebounds, passes, shoots and he takes up a lot of space. That’s a good thing.”

Well, good and bad. “One way teams will defend him is they will tell whoever is guarding him to fall down every time he transfers,” said Parmar. In terms of refereeing, “a lot of the benefit of the doubt goes to the smaller player. Is that fair to him? No, but hopefully he can get through it.”

Fortunately, Bunce, being an ambidextrous player, has no dominant side. “If you stop him from going the one way, he just goes the other way,” said Parmar. “It’s not like he is going to bullrush right through you.”

Bunce said he derives pleasure from being a presence on the floor and a leader on the team. Although he said he plays fairly close to the hoops and doesn’t bring the ball up that much, he is quite capable of nailing a three-point shot.

The two tall guys are different in temperament, too. Bunce tends to beat himself up when he misses a shot.

“Every time I get the ball, I think I should score so when I don’t, I struggle with that,” said Bunce, who says his fellow seven-footer, Smythe, is a bit more laid back than he is.

Jeff Gourley, the volunteer basketball coach at Tupper, has coached both boys at various times. The experience gave him pure joy.

And having a seven-footer on the team has definitely helped to rocket Tupper from being a bit of a laughing stock in basketball to being one of the top 10 teams in the province.

Smythe isn’t your average seven-footer, he said. Sometimes athletes who are that tall can have co-ordination problems. Not him. “He is just a magnificent athlete,” said Gourley.

Plum's Nolan Cressler was as important to his team last season as any player in the WPIAL. As a junior, the Mustangs guard averaged 25.7 points per game, scored a school-record 46 points in one game and topped 20 points in both of Plum's playoff games. Plum coach Ron Richards wants to see a repeat performance ... sort of. "Hopefully he is a little less important than he was last year," Richards said. "He was our only returning starter last year and by far the most experienced guy. One of the things that Nolan is excited about now is the improvement from the other players." ... "Nolan is going to create so much attention for himself," Richards said. "We have guys capable of stepping up and doing some things if teams start paying too much attention to Nolan. Some of these guys just weren't ready for that last year."

  • Cornell will have at least five games televised during the 2011-2012 season including at Princeton (Verizon Fios1), at Stony Brook (Cablevision 118), at Maryland (ESPN3), at Illinois (ESPN3) and at Penn State (Big Ten Network). Time Warner Cable and Comcast Sports are among other networks that may also pick up Cornell games against Ivy League opponents such as Columbia and Penn.

  • Above, from our series A Date in Cornell Basketball History, a photo from the Associated Press/Chicago Tribune of Cornell's visit to North Carolina on December 1, 1991. Pictured are former Tar Heel and current ESPN analyst, Hubert Davis and Cornell's Shawn Maharaj ('92), a 2nd Team All Ivy League selection during the 1989-1990 season.
  • Game Recaps-Below are links to our game recap sections from each of Cornell's games this season.
  1. November 11, 2011 at St. Bonaventure L 58-79
  2. November 14, 2011 vs. Binghamton W 76-61
  3. November 16, 2011 at Buffalo L 59-68
  4. November 20, 2011 vs. Boston University W 71-66
  5. November 22, 2011 at Delaware L 68-76
  6. November 27, 2011 vs. American L 63-65
  7. December 3, 2011 vs. Lehigh W 81-79 (OT)
  • Cornell RPI Watch: The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. It does not consider the margin of victory, but only whether or not a team won and where the game was played (home/away/neutral court). The formula is 25% team winning percentage (WP), 50% opponents' average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (OOWP). (See: for a further explanation of the formula.) The RPI may be the most influential factor in NCAA Tournament seeding. Cornell's RPI rank as of December 8 is No. 249 out of 344 total Division I teams. While neither the Ken Pomeroy or Jeff Sagarin rankings are used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the site ranks Cornell No. 176 in the nation, while the USA Today Sagarin rankings have Cornell at No. 224. Both sites are predominantly used by fans and the media.

Friday, November 11

Johnson & Wales 66 Brown 86 (Box Score - Recap)
Columbia 57 Connecticut 70[ESPNU] (Box Score - Recap)
Cornell 58 St. Bonaventure 79 (Box Score - Recap)
MIT 49 Harvard 76 (Box Score - Recap)
Dartmouth 56 Rutgers 62 (Box Score - Recap)
Penn 59 Maryland-Baltimore County 45 (Box Score - Recap)
Yale 73 Central Connecticut State 69 (Box Score - Recap)

Saturday, November 12
Wagner 73 Princeton 57 (Box Score - Recap)

Monday, November 14
Albany 77 Brown 68 (NIT Tip-Off-1st Round@Syracuse, N.Y.)[ESPN3] (Box Score - Recap)
Temple 73 Penn 67 OT (Box Score - Recap)
Furman 58 Columbia 62 (Box Score - Recap)
Binghamton 61 Cornell 76 (Box Score - Recap)

Tuesday, November 15
Harvard 73 Holy Cross 64 (Box Score - Recap)
Yale 62 Quinnipiac 68 [SNY] (Box Score - Recap)
Brown 52 Manhattan 54 NIT Tip Consolation@Syracuse, N.Y. [ESPN3] (Box Score - Recap)

Wednesday, November 16
Cornell 59 Buffalo 68 (Box Score - Recap)
Vermont 65 Dartmouth 53 (Box Score - Recap)
Princeton 58 North Carolina State 60 [ESPNU] (Box Score - Recap)

Thursday, November 17
Penn 78 Rider 72 OT (Box Score - Recap)
Lyndon State 37 Yale 101 (Box Score - Recap)

Saturday, November 19
Buffalo 53 Princeton 61 (Box Score - Recap)
Hartford 52 Brown 59 (Box Score - Recap)
American 66 Columbia 58 (Box Score - Recap)
Bryant 62 Dartmouth 66 (Box Score - Recap)
Robert Morris 60 Penn 66 (Box Score - Recap)
Harvard 77 Loyola Marymount 67 (Box Score - Recap)

Sunday, November 20
Boston University 66 Cornell 71 (Box Score - Recap)

Sunday, November 20
Boston University 66 Cornell 71 (Box Score - Recap)

Monday, November 21
Brown 48 George Mason 74 (NIT Consolation Fairfax, VA) (Box Score - Recap)

Tuesday, November 22
Brown 79 Monmouth 71 (NIT Consolation Fairfax, VA) (Box Score - Recap)
Columbia 53 Stony Brook 67 (Box Score - Recap)
Cornell 64 Delaware 72 (Box Score - Recap)
Wagner 71 Penn 65 (Box Score - Recap)
Elon 56 Princeton 55 (Box Score - Recap)
Yale 62 Seton Hall 73 (Box Score - Recap)

Thursday, November 24
Dartmouth 69 San Francisco 71 (Great Alaska Shootout) (Box Score - Recap)
Harvard 75 Utah 47 [HDNet] (Battle 4 Atlantis Bahamas) (Box Score - Recap)

Friday, November 25
Dartmouth 64 vs. Alaska-Anchorage 52(Great Alaska Shootout) (Box Score - Recap)
Harvard 46 Florida State 41 [VERSUS] (Battle 4 Atlantis Bahamas) (Box Score - Recap)
Princeton 56 Bucknell 62 (Legends Classic, Lewisberg, PA) (Box Score - Recap)
Pittsburgh 78 Penn 58 [TCN] (Box Score - Recap)

Saturday, November 26
Yale 84 Army 75 (Box Score - Recap)
Columbia 59 Manhattan 41 (Box Score - Recap)
Princeton 56 Morehead State 68 (Legends Classic, Lewisberg, PA) (Box Score - Recap)
James Madison 60 Penn 58 [TCN] (Philly Hoop Group Classic) (Box Score - Recap)
Dartmouth 48 Western Michigan 65 (Great Alaska Shootout) (Box Score - Recap)
Harvard 59 Central Florida 49 [VERSUS] (Battle 4 Atlantis Bahamas) (Box Score - Recap)

Sunday, November 27
Brown 64 Sacred Heart 77 (Box Score - Recap)
Princeton 66 West Alabama 66 (Legends Classic, Lewisberg, PA) (Box Score - Recap)
American 65 Cornell 63 (Box Score - Recap)

Monday, November 28
Swarthmore 42 Columbia 104 (Box Score - Recap)

Tuesday, November 29
Manhattan 72 Penn 75 (Box Score - Recap)
Yale 74 Hartford 69 (Box Score - Recap)

Wednesday, November 30
Dartmouth 50 New Hampshire 53 (Box Score - Recap)
Lafayette 69 Princeton 54 (Box Score - Recap)
Rhode Island 56 Brown 65 [myRITV] (Box Score - Recap)

Thursday, December 1
Harvard 55 Vermont 48 (Box Score - Recap)

Friday, December 2
Columbia 69 Loyola Marymount 61 (LA Westside Centennial Classic) (Box Score - Recap)

Saturday, December 3
Vermont 52 Yale 68 (Box Score - Recap)
Brown 54 Iowa 75 (Box Score - Recap)
Lehigh 79 Cornell 81 (OT) (Box Score - Recap)
Penn 65 Villanova 73 [ESPN3] (Box Score - Recap)
Columbia 72 North Texas 57 (Box Score - Recap) (LA Westside Centennial Classic)

Sunday, December 4
Columbia 78 La Sierra 56 (Box Score - Recap) (LA Westside Centennial Classic)
Seattle 70 Harvard 80 (Box Score - Recap)

Monday, December 5
Brown 49 Providence 80 [ESPN3/SNY] (Box Score - Recap)
Yale 73 Sacred Heart 71 (Box Score - Recap)

Tuesday, December 6
Holy Cross 45 Columbia 46 (Box Score - Recap)

Wednesday, December 7
Delaware 60 Penn 69 (Box Score - Recap)
New Hampshire 69 Brown 56 (Box Score - Recap)
Princeton 59 Rutgers 57 (Box Score - Recap)
Bryant 59 Yale 76 (Box Score - Recap)

Thursday, December 8
Harvard at Connecticut, 7 pm [ESPN2]

Saturday, December 10
Central Connecticut State at Brown, 2 pm
Long Island at Columbia, 2 pm
Harvard at Boston University, 4 pm
Princeton at Drexel, 4 pm
Penn at UCLA, 7 pm [DirecTV]
Dartmouth at Notre Dame, 7:30 pm [ESPN3]


Anonymous said...

The line for tonight's Harvard at UConn game opened at 6.5 points and has since been pushed down to 5 on some websites. That is an unbelievable show of respect for Harvard.

UConn is the defending national champion with two of the country's best players on its roster and it's viewed as only 5 points stronger than a team which has gone to the NCAA tournament once in its history, 65 years ago. Adjusted for the home court advantage, the marketplace is saying that Harvard is only about a 2 point underdog on a neutral court.

I think about what we accomplished two and three years ago without receiving anywhere close to this amount of respect and I shake my head.

Anonymous said...

There are those who might say that Hahvahd would never be getting this much respect if an Ivy team had not gone to the Sweet 16 just two short years ago.

Recognition is incremental in nature.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

When Cornell was making its Sweet 16 run, there were nearly a dozen new articles every hour mentioning Cornell.

Harvard is receiving a ton of ink right now, but this is nothing, a drop in the bucket compared to what happened to Cornell in March 2010 when the Big Red were the main banner for every major college basketball website.

If Harvard makes a run in the Tournament, they can expect much more attention than they are receiving right now.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:13 PM, don't kid yourself.

No serious sports fan is drawing any mental connection between this year's Harvard team and Cornell two seasons ago or even Princeton last year. Certainly, no member of the wagering public is thinking that way on their way to betting the line down to 5 points. That's not how analysis is done by people with money on the line.

Harvard might fizzle out completely or they might go on to win the national championship but, either way, nobody is giving them any positive cred for playing out of the Ivy League. You've got to be kidding if you seriously believe that.

Anonymous said...

Discussion of this Harv-UConn game is getting tiring; this two week hiatus can't end soon enough. Need to see more Johnny, Miles, and Josh.

Anonymous said...

I and all Cornell fans should hope Harvard loses by 60

Anonymous said...

At least Columbia kept it within 13 of Uconn