Friday, November 2, 2012

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Friday...

  • The Albany Times Union references Siena's scrimmage against Cornell last Saturday.  Siena will play an exhibition game this weekend against Skidmore which is coached by former Cornell assistant coach, Joe Burke.
  • Cornell takes on Army in a closed door scrimmage on Saturday in West Point.  This is Cornell's final tune-up for the season opener on November 10 against Western Michigan.
  • Check out our tagged label, "
  • Jeff Foote (Cornell '10) finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds last night as his Zalgiris team of Lithuania defeated Emporio of Italy in the EuroLeague.  Zalgiris is undefeated in each of the three leagues that it participates and is currently ranked No. 2 by Eurobasket.  See highlights below (in Lithuanian) of last night's game.  For those unfamiliar with the EuroLeague, the environment is right on par with the NBA playoffs-- large arenas, big crowds and a continent's worth of media attention.

  •  Also in alumni news, Louis Dale (Cornell '10) and his KAOD team of Greece take on league rival, Olimpiacos on Saturday.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team has added a seventh national television appearance for the 2012-13 season when NBC Sports Network picked up the Big Red's home contest against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in Newman Arena.

The game will be the second scheduled broadcast on NBC Sports Network from Newman Arena this coming season and third overall, as the Big Red will play Columbia on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. The team's regular season finale at Harvard will also be broacast on the network on Saturday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m.

In addition, Cornell will be nationally televised when it plays at Wisconsin (Sunday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. on ESPN3), at Arizona State (Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. on Pac 12 Network), at Vanderbilt (Monday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU) and at Duke (Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. on ESPNU).

The Big Red will also have a regionally televised broadcast when it visits Binghamton on Friday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. on Time Warner Cable.

Cornell opens the 2012-13 campaign when it plays host to Western Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. at Newman Arena.
    Drake’s Micah Mason and Cornell’s Nolan Cressler were two of the most feared scorers ever to play basketball in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
    They put points on the board in just about every way possible — and in bunches — be it by 3-pointers, up-and-under layups, pull-up jumpers or dunks.
    But a harsh reality set in when the freshman guards began their college careers at the Division I level. The message was loud and clear from Day One.
    If they want to see the court, they have to play defense.
    “My defense has improved,” said Mason, the former Highlands star who is the WPIAL’s all-time 3-point leader and 12th-leading scorer with 2,272 points. “I wasn’t comfortable with that at first. In high school, you might take a play off here or there. Not at this level. I might hit a 3 here or there, but (mainly) I am in there to play defense.”
    Not that Mason and former Plum standout Cressler didn’t defend well in high school. There were games when their steals or blocks did the talking and helped seal victories.
    But the two former all-state selections who dodged double- and triple-teams and shook off face-guarding defenders to get to the hoop will now be asked to turn the tables on opposing guards.
    And their intensity on the defensive end could be what leads to offensive opportunities.
    “Right now, I’m confident I’ll be in the rotation,” said Cressler, Plum’s all-time leading scorer with 1,565 points. “I think I am one of the top nine or 10 guys. I am just trying to work myself into a role.
    “Everybody on this level is good. Everyone is bigger and stronger. We practice a lot of live situations and scrimmage each other. Every practice is intense.”
    Drake opens its season at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against visiting Southwest Baptist.
    Cornell tips off at Western Michigan at noon Nov. 10.
    Mason (6-foot-2, 174 pounds) and Cressler (6-4, 200), the top two scorers in the WPIAL last season, are adjusting to college life and regimented schedules. But they also will have to adjust to a move from point guard to shooting guard — a move they reversed at the prep level.
    Drake and Cornell appear to be similar, both in styles and use of multiple bench players.
    “I feel like I can make an impact,” Mason said. “We have a bunch of guards. We play fast, and there’s a lot of subbing.”
    Drake coach Mark Phelps knows Mason can shoot. He came to a couple of Mason’s closed-door workouts at Highlands last year. But he’s seeing Mason’s game get smooth around the edges.
    “He’s shown us that he’s probably a little quicker than we anticipated and has the chance to be a better defender than we thought,” Phelps said. “Not that he’s arrived as a defender, but he certainly has the tools and desire to be a good defender and he knows that’s how he’s going to get on the floor.”
    Like Mason, Cressler also is pushing for early playing time.
    “Nolan’s been terrific since he’s been here,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “He’s a kid who can put the ball in the basket, and that’s a valued commodity at any level. His basketball intelligence is off the charts. He is a terrific passer.
    “He had to get better defensively, and he’s working hard there.”
    Mason has been dealing with health issues for several years, the glaring one being postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS) syndrome, which has caused an irregular heartbeat, blood-flow issues and stomach problems among other ailments.
    It was determined that gluten may have played a role in Mason’s encounter with POTS, so he’s cut it out of his diet.
    A personal chef will prepare his meals, which won’t include grains or carbohydrates.
    “My mom came out for two weeks and cooked all my meals,” said Mason, who moved off campus to acquire his own kitchen because he could not adjust to cafeteria or dining hall food. “We found a lady who organizes food and can cook gluten-free. It was like a
    Cressler said, like defending, keeping up in an Ivy League classroom also has its challenges.
    “Academically, it’s a whole other level,” Cressler said. “You can’t slump at all. You have to stay on top of things. In high school, you might slack off a little and still get good grades.”
    Before Mason shows fans what he can do on game nights, he had to first show them that he could ... dance?
    During a preseason Midnight Madness-type event, players were introduced under the glare of a spotlight and had to show their dance moves.
    “That was fun and crazy,” Mason said. “Our fans came out and watched us scrimmage. I did OK with the dance, I think. I had a little something for them.”


    Anonymous said...

    Welcome to tougher competition!

    Anonymous said...

    It was clear from watching the scrimmage that the coaching staff have plans to insert Cressler into this year's rotation - he logged significant minutes that afternoon. He didn't put on a memorable shooting display, but he was much better at protecting the ball than Cancer. Much like last year, Galal has a tendency to dribble into traffic and make ill-advised decisions, either errant passes or forcing up shots. In contrast, Cressler, Miles, and Devon Cherry looked much more comfortable distributing the ball.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    A lot of fans were frustrated with Galal last year. But can tell you that coaches love his game and will be patient with him.

    Galal has the physical tools. We all know this. His mistakes were all mental. And mental mistakes are easier to correct than kids that just do not have the physical ability to get the job done. That is why coaches sometimes recruit raw projects but do not recruit 5'6" smart players.

    Also keep in mind, fans tend to just think about offense. Galal is one of the premier defenders in the Ivy League. Much of what he does is not on the stat sheet. He's big, he's strong, he's pretty quick and he has a knack for clogging passing lanes with a good wing span. So that is another reason why you'll see him in the rotation.

    For better or worse... believe we are going to see some combo of MAA and Galal running the point. Scelfo, Cherry and Cressler are in a brutal competition for minutes at 2G.

    Jonny G is also going to see minutes at 2G as well as a 3rd guard.

    Cornell is hands down the deepest team in the league. But what Cornell does not have is the proven consistent starting core.

    And by proven, mean a group of 5 guys that you can count on to not make mental errors and give the ball away.

    Guys like Eitan, Jon, Galal are very talented. But they tended at times to beat themselves last year with silly fouls, bad shots, turnovers and missed free throws. Basically, fundamental mistakes.

    Chris W was not faster than those guy. Ski could not out jump any of them. He wasn't stronger. Hell, Ski was injured. But Ski was a calming force because he seldom made mistakes. And when he made a "mistake" it was because he was trying to overcompensate for his lack of help.

    Can Cornell (and Galal) correct the mental mistake issues in 2013? We'll see.

    Anonymous said...

    Wroblewski and Ferry each played 30 plus minutes per game for the past two years. As a result, Cornell's current backcourt group is inexperienced overall and, more importantly, has no proven scorers.

    Prognostications on backcourt rotations and contributions on November 2 are downright silly for such an unproven backcourt group. Over a 30 plus game season, you are likely to see alot of inconsistency and a lot of different combinations, and that includes every guard on the roster.

    Cornell's backcourt combination of Wroblewski and Dale represented the kind of attacking combo guards who excel in the Ivy League - guys who can guard, handle pressure, beat you off the dribble and shoot, regardless of size. Cornell has struggled offensively the last two years, so here's hoping we see more from guards who ultimately prove capable of attacking and scoring.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Gray, Cancer and MAA logged a lot of minutes last year. Not sure if you looked at the stat sheet.

    Gray and Cancer averaged more than 21 mpg and MAA was at 15 mpg (and that includes being nursed back into the line-up after injury).

    Gray played 28 mpg in Ivy play.

    Gray and MAA also have the experience of having been on the 2010 team. Call it an intangible experience of understanding what it is like to be part of the big stage.

    Devin Cherry has 21 games under his belt at 8 mpg. Not bad for a 4th guard.

    Granted, Cressler has never played.

    Scelfo also has limited experience (11 games, 5 mpg), but he is also a junior (RS soph) and has 2 years of the program under his belt.

    Kinda hard to call this an inexperienced group. Reality is that Cornell has 4-5 guards that played some roll in the rotation last year. Harvard has zero guards with starting experience. Penn has just one. Cornell has 3. Cornell is as seasoned as they come in the Ivy.

    Anonymous said...

    Certainly I am not diminishing the group. I am a fan of all of them. I was simply pointing out that no guard on the current roster had the experience over the past two years of being the kind of "go to" guard that Wroblewski and Ferry were game after game. In that sense, it is an unproven, inexperienced group overall, without a proven go to guy during crunch time. And, over the course of a 30 game season, there is likely to be alot of inconsistency and experimenting until you find a rotation that works.

    Having said that, coaches do tend to rely more on upperclassmen, especially at guard, unless a freshman just creates an obvious separation or Injuries prevail. And I would error on playing guys who prove capable of attacking and scoring, all else being equal. The Ivy League is a guard league, with most teams playing 3 and sometimes 4 guards.

    Anonymous said...

    Regardless of who is playing, we must make at least 80% of our free throws - which will win games. Anything less means the players are not shooting enough in practice or under pressure situations. (Remember Ski, Randy, etc.) Last year we lost games because of our FT shooting. We must also beat Columbia Twice!

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Not sure if we could call Jon Gray a "go to" guy last year, but he was pretty close enough. A lot of the offense went through him.

    None of the Ivies except for Columbia (Barbour) have a true proven go to guy.

    Who does Harvard have as a go to guy? Laurent Rivard? He is just a standstill shooter (who was not as effective in Ivy play even with stars around him). What about Penn? Miles Cartwright? Nope, he was option #3 behind Rosen and Bernardini. What about Princeton? Hummer is a stud, but he is a forward like Shonn Miller. You don't get the ball to either of them at the top of the key.

    But back to Cornell. Think we could also call Galal a quasi "go to" guy. I mean, that guy literally had the ball in his hands down the stretch for key drives and post ups.

    We know Galal can get himself into the paint 26 hours a day, 9 days per week. He just needs to finish his free throws and protect the basketball. These are correctable with experience.

    Yes, Wroblewski is a huge loss.

    Ferry is a great kid. Loved having him as part of Cornell and the program. But have to say, not sure if Ferry is a big loss as a basketball player on the court. He struggled both years in the Ivy League shooting. His percentages were low, he did not rebound at a high rate (even for a guard) and he couldn't be used as a second ball handler. Happen to think Cornell will be better with Gray, Cressler, Cherry or Scelfo in that position.

    Ferry shot 33% from the floor last year in Ivy play. He played 32 mpg and averaged 3.2 rpg and 1.4 apg. He was a 71% FT shooter and averaged 8.8 ppg. He had 13 steals in Ivy games (compared to Galal's 10 in far fewer minutes). Those numbers are not horrific, but Cornell can do better.