Thursday, April 18, 2013

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Above, A Date in Cornell Basketball History, Cornell's 1978-1979 media guide.  Below, news and notes for Thursday...

  • Cornell's season ending banquet is May 2, 2013 at 6 pm.
  • Jeff Foote (Cornell '10) and his Zalgiris team face Nevezis in game 2 of the first round of the Lithuanian LKL playoffs today. Zalgiris leads the best of 3 series 1-0.
  • The Houston Chronicle mentions the "signings" of Cornell's two committed recruits from the Houston area (Robert Hatter and Desmond Fleming).
  • The Huffington Post asks whether Canadian athletes should attend U.S. Colleges and specifically references Cornell's lure to Canadian athletes.
Published reports have linked Butler to two basketball prospects, a transfer and a high school senior. It remains to be seen how intense that is or if the interest is indeed mutual.
Errick Peck is a 6-foot-6 forward from Cornell who intends to transfer. He falls into the category of players who will graduate and be granted immediate eligibility.
Peck is an Indianapolis native who played at Cathedral High School. He said Monday that he would like to play a final season in his hometown but was unsure of Butler’s level of interest.
He said other schools that have contacted him include: Detroit, Loyola, North Texas, Evansville, Duquesne, Indiana State, Boston College and Creighton.
Peck averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for Cornell and earned honorable mention on the All-Ivy League team. He finished with a flourish, averaging 18.0 ppg in his final four games.
It’s hard to say how Peck would fit in on a roster that will include five forwards/centers: Erik Fromm, Khyle Marshall, Kameron Woods, Nolan Berry, Andrew Chrabascz.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting how open Mike Martin and Tommy Amaker are about their recruiting compared to the Cornell staff.

Anonymous said...

I think that Tommy Amaker's approach to publicizing his potential recruits has been pretty clear ever since he arrived at Harvard. He's told all his recruits who ELSE is on his target list every step of the way. I'm sure his broad intent is to communicate to each recruit how high he is aiming. Also, he's trying to assure, for example, big men that there will be a quality point guard passing them the ball down low, etc. No doubt he's also trying to tell all his recruits to look up and down the list -- there may be some guys who have marginal academic profiles or are in need of substantial financial aid packages so, therefore, "Don't be worried if you do, too." Amaker's trying to use his recruiting list as a recruiting tool. If a coach is going to completely change the recruiting standards his school is using, his first job is to convince his recruits that he is completely changing the recruiting standards.

Anonymous said...

Whatever it is, it's working for Tommy Amaker. He's been able to raise the quality of player in the Ivy League to an unprecedented level.

Penn and Brown are on the upswing as well, with Penn allegedly about to bring in a transfer from UCLA (albeit a walk-on). I've been particularly impressed with Mike Martin, who has gotten his team to play tough and has brought in some rock solid talent in his first year. Those two programs are definitely on the upswing. Hopefully, we are as well, although we have more question marks than any of the teams mentioned above.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I am not buying the media hype nor should you.

First off, the only Ivy team which rose to "unprecedented levels of success" in the last 30 years is the Cornell team of 2010.

Maybe this sounds like a broken record, but consider the FACTS.

The 2010 Cornell team is the only Ivy team (since the exapansion of the NCAA Tournament to beyond 50 teams)to reach the Sweet 16.

Cornell is also the only Ivy team since 1980 to finish the postseason ranked in the top 25.

The 2008 Cornell team went 14-0 with sophomores. The 2010 team was 13-1.

Since 2008, Harvard has done a nice job getting a lot of A-10/upper mid major level players. But Penn was doing this for many years (Ugonna Onyekew, Ibby Jaaber etc). This is nothing new in the Ivy. Harvard is just getting more attenition because we live in a modern social media world. But Harvard is doing nothing spectacular.

Harvard did pick up some nice players that had 1, maybe even 2 or 3 BCS offers (Exs: Mike Hall, Wes Saunders, Siyanni Chambers). But for the most part, these were really just very good mid major players, not future NBA guys that go to the power programs.

Harvard has not beat out Kansas, Kentucky, Duke etc for players.

Harvard did get a couple borderline BCS guys. But Cornell, Penn and Princeton have done this as well.

The only two Ivy players in the League next year with more than just a small handful (1 to 3) BCS offers are Kenyatta Smith and Zena Edosomwan (both mid to late commits).

In the case of these two players-- Kenyatta Smith has hardly set the Ivy world on fire. He's good. But is he dominating? No. And this is despite boasting nearly a dozen BCS offers. Shonn Miller is better.

As for Zena, he has not proven anything yet. He's just as unproven as Braxston Bunce, David Onuorah, Dylan Jones and Aram Martin--- other Ivy frosh bigs with BCS offers.

So when the smoke clears, what do we have beyond the Twitter hype?

Well, we have a Harvard program under Amaker that in the last 5 years went to the NCAAs twice, and won an NCAA game. They've also got a great team next year thanks to the academic scandal-- led by a star 5th year senior class (Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry, Laurent Rivard).

But Harvard doesn't have a roster of NBA players. Harvard has not been to the Sweet 16. Harvard has not finished in the Top 25. Harvard has not went 14-0 or even 13-1.

So, please... let's end the hype discussions.

They have a good team, stocked with solid mid major scholarship guys, boasted by a lucky break on the academic suspensions.

Frankly--- I think Penn, Cornell and Princeton have a ton of talent for next season that will give Harvard fits.

And I like Cornell's young nucleus that will remain in tact for at least 2 more seasons (S.Miller, D.Cherry, Cressler, Onuorah, Bunce etc.)

Is Harvard the favorite next year? Absolutely. Is this their best team yet? Yes. Are they light years ahead of everyone else? No way. Until they start landing NBA guys, they are just another quality mid major.

Anonymous said...

Harvard is the overwhelming favorite because they won a tournament game, and they return almost their entire team along with the 5th years and Zena. They have the best point guard in the league. They will have big time expectations along with a potential national ranking early in the season.

We'll see how it plays out. It's unlikely, but they could choke.

But since we're talking about this, what's your prediction for Harvard and Cornell next year?

Where's the Big Red Get Well Soon Card for me to sign? said...

I'm more a proponent of 'what have you done for me lately" mentality. Harvard's progress is sloping up in the past few years. Our's since winning the sweet 16 is most certainly sloping down. Granted, it would be hard not to slope down after the sweet 16 year, but you should basically hit bottom the next year after the seniors leave and then continue to try and climb again. We're not climbing too well.

Harvard also won a game in the NCAA tournament. Sure, it seemed like New Mexico was horrible, but they still WON. That's a great achievement for any Ivy League team. In fact it's just only ONE game less than we won.

Every year I hope we crush Harvard, and this year will be no different, but to deny there is a difference between what they are doing and what we are doing is somewhat ignorant.

You say you watch the games, but do you WATCH us? Do you watch what Bill Courtney is doing and how the players react to him on the court? Do you watch our run in circle offense until almost no time is left and who-ever has hot-potato'd the ball should now shoot? Do you watch BC throw up his hands and smile like "omg, what are they doing? it's so funny...let me act angry now!" Seriously, sometimes I think he tries to be more of an act than a coach.

Do the guys even want to play for BC? They would have done anything for Donahue - likewise Donahue for them. And, I bet you everyone on Harvard is buying into what Amaker is selling and it is working.

Cornell is going to sink towards mediocrity in the ivy league in the next couple of years (some would argue we're planting our feet right now) if we don't make some changes. Harvard right now has a great combination of X's and O's executing with some great talent. We have some great talent, but zero X's and O's. Probably why we are where we are, but they are where they are.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth Ibby Jaaber was not a big recruiting success. He obviously turned into a dominant player, but his only two offers out of high school were Penn and Iona.

So that's just slightly more recruiting interest than Lou Dale had (effectively none), and between them, they won 3 Ivy POY's.

Another example of how unpredictable recruiting is, and how we should not pencil in unknown quantities to be starters (nor discount lesser known players) until they put a uniform on and play against D1 talent.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

--Can't predict anything for Cornell right now. A lot depends on unknown factors in Braxston Bunce, Galal Cancer and a recruit to be named later. We might have to wait another month on this one.

--The 2014 Harvard team should win the league. I expect a similar season to what they had in 2012. They should flirt and slip into the top 25 for a bit. They are still a flawed team, lacking a long post presence to defend the paint, just like the 2012 Harvard team. Cornell 2010 was special because the Big Red were loaded EVERYWHERE. That is why Cornell went into No. 1 Kansas and nearly took them down. That is why Cornell had 2 Top 25 wins (Temple/Wisconsin). That is why Cornell was within 6 points of a Kentucky team with 5 1st round draft picks. That is why Cornell went on the road and took wins at Umass, Alabama, St. Johns, LaSalle, Drexel among others.

--Lou Dale had a couple D-I offers, including from Jackson State and a preferred walk-on role at UAB. (I can't remember the others, but there were about 6 offers. Need to dig up notes). Ibby Jaaber did have other offers. Some religious restrictions kept others schools out of the mix. He was good enough to play at Rutgers as a freshman.

Anonymous said...

Harvard won a game and that must have been an amazing experience for them. But people are not just saying "New Mexico was overrated" to be callous -- it is a VERY important point. Don't let the win over New Mexico make you forget that Harvard barely won the title. They needed OT to beat Dartmouth and double OT to beat Brown. They lost to Penn and Princeton. They needed Princeton to implode at Yale and Brown. Don't forget all these things and say "omg they won a game I give up". Harvard barely won the Ivy League and then landed a weak opponent in round 1 of the tournament and were promptly destroyed in round 2. DO NOT FORGET THIS. The primary reason Harvard is not great is because Amaker is not great. No matter how much talent Harvard has, Tommy Amaker is the bottleneck.

With that said ... Cornell BLOWS right now. It's Brown and Penn I expect to contend with Harvard, not Cornell. The Bill Courtney hire has turned out to be a bad decision, and at this point there are only so many excuses you can make for 3 seasons of ugly basketball and awful results. He cannot develop players (I do not believe that he somehow unfortunately wound up with 80% of his players being sucky -- either he can't develop players or he can't recruit, and I personally believe it is the former, and either way it's his fault). We had gone to the sweet 16 and yeah, of course we lost a lot of our scoring, but we also got a sweet recruiting class (Shonn's) out of it ... even if you claim that Donahue's leftover players sucked (which I deeply doubted, but even if you claim it) then by year 3 (last year) Bill Courtney should have been able to put together a good season with his own guys (so many coaches who rebuild/replenish their rosters make a huge jump in year 3 at least -- Amaker for example, even Cormier given what he started with). But instead, under Courtney they got worse year after year to be point where they could barely beat bottom 20 teams, where Donahue's supposedly crappy leftovers were actually doing a much better job than these guys.

Bill Courtney is not a good coach. The individual talents of guys like Shonn and Nolan can pull together 5 or so Ivy wins, but under Bill Courtney, contending for the title is difficult to imagine. If he somehow suddenly pieces together a remarkable change in coaching ability, then good for him. If that fails to happen, however, then hopefully season 4 will be Bill Courtney's last at our institution.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Disagree with the comments that Bill Courtney is a bad coach.

These are comments from unrealistic and misinformed fans.

When Courtney took the job, he was not left with much in the cupboard. The only All Ivy talent that was left behind on the roster in 2010-2011 was Wroblewski (and to some extent Peck) and Courtney rode Chris W. as far as he could take him.

Peck was just a sophomore in 2011, then missed his entire junior year. (the last season with Wroblewski on the team).

The others left behind by Donahue were Wire, Osgood, Coury, Groebe. All solid role players. But they were not All Ivy guys.

Wire was a glue guy/scrapper. Osgood was often injured and inexperienced. Coury was like Wire, a scrapper/glue guy.

Bill did not have the fuel to power the ship his first 2 seasons. He had to go get his own kids.

And Bill has absolutely developed kids. He turned Jon Gray into an All Ivy kid between his soph and junior seasons.

No disrespect to the amazing Donahue staff, but they thought MAA was better and kept Gray on the practice squad. Does anyone agree? Bill observed talent in Gray and he made him an All Star.

Deion Giddens has also developed quite nicely under B.C. between years 1 to 2, and Devin Cherry made a nice little leap from frosh year to sophomore year. Shonn Miller also improved, particularly on offense.

If Bill was left with a roster full of star seniors and juniors, I could understand your complaints.

But c'mon people. A roster of Osgood, Wire, Coury, Groebe, Figini, Chemerinski etc is not a league championship team. This is not a group loaded with scholarships.

These are solid supporting role players without any superstars among them.

All great kids. But more was/is needed.

I think we are starting to see very young stars come on board. Bunce. Onuorah. SMiller. Cherry. Cressler. Just to name a few. Give these guys time to mesh together. Give Bill time to get a bunch of legitimate D-I scholarship recipients in the program.

Our talented core next year is young. Not a senior among them (SMiller, Cressler, Onuorah, Bunce, Cherry).

Anonymous said...

I often disagree with CBB's spin on things, but I think CBB is right on point about Courtney. There just wasn't a lot left aside from Peck/Wrobo (and Peck was hurt for a full season) when the 2010 seniors left. Last year's offensive struggles were a bit disturbing, but I'm willing to give Coach C. another couple years to get his people into place.

Btw, what the heck is "a recruit to be named later"?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We have one more kid we would like to take--- but have to consider other factors (admissions, FAid etc).

Anonymous said...

If Bill Courtney developed players, he has not developed them well enough to be better than a cupcake team.

Everyone keeps knocking Donahue's leftover players, and yet results would suggest that Courtney hasn't even developed players to be as good as those guys.

Even those guys, according to Sagarin and Pomeroy, were 30 to 50 spots better than last year's team, and that's fairly excluding last year's last 4 games (toss in those 4 games, and Donahue's leftovers were 70 spots better).

Man, we thought that first year after the Sweet 16 was so bad, but back then we could actually play top half AE teams to narrow games. Now they beat us by double digits and we hold our breaths against Binghamton.

Yeah, CBB, everyone gets that we took a step down after the Sweet 16 and lost a lot to graduation. I think you keep bringing it seem like people are irrationally expecting Courtney to be that good. Umm, no, we just don't see how the only alternative to Sweet 16 is apparently low-midmajor cupcake.

Everyone understands that Courtney's first year squad was depleted. The team needed to be rebuilt. But rebuilding means starting with a rough situation and then IMPROVING, not getting significantly worse. He started out with a struggling team in Year 1 and kept getting worse until he had a cupcake by Year 3.

Defending this team's cupcake status as a decent performance by a good coach is literally making me ill. This isn't normalcy. This isn't necessary. This isn't acceptable. There are so many coaches that do better than this. A good coach doesn't produce these results.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Your arguments float on water like a cement brick.

Bill's guys were freshmen and sophomores last year. They have a long way to go before their stories are done being written as does Bill's legacy. And we've got 3 young guys coming in that could have played for BCS/power conference teams.

If you were the A.D., you would drive this program into the ground with impatience and narrow minded judgment.

If you were to name your 4-5 favorite players on the team from last year, I am betting you only name one guy from Donahue's recruits (Peck) with the rest from Bill's group--- the youngsters.

Once again, Bill's leaders the last 2-3 years were Steve Donahue's kids. Bill did not recruit the seniors and juniors, Donahue did. Those are Steve's guys.

You are UNFAIRLY and NEGLIGENTLY placing blame on a coach who is trying to win games with the upperclass holdovers from a prior coach.

Wake up. This is a transition period.

Also take note. This year's team was hurt by a league wide poor RPI/KenPom. The 2012 team benefited from a high conference RPI. So your methodology in comparing the teams over seasons on computer rankings is flawed.

Cornell was 5-3 this year in the Ivy with a real chance to win the league. Gray then lost eligibility. The wheels fell off, the Ps swept Cornell into a 5-5 record. Cherry and Miller were also hurt during the P weekend and then lost the rest of their seasons. Galal had off the court issues. The Big Red were depleted losing 4 of its top 6-7 players.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's try to define where we are.

CBB is of the opinion that all is well, that things are moving in the right direction.

Many of us see exactly the opposite, and see the overall trend to be down.

So how does that translate into expectations for the next few seasons?

CBB, you have written volumes on this subject - I assume you would agree that your basic point is that you expect Cornell to contend next year and the year after?

Personally I don't see that. I expect a mid-pack finish, at best.

In the end, the 'why' is not as important as the results. We can say things like Bunce will be better than DNH all day, but in the end it really boils down to the question of can this team contend for a title over the next few years.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I don't think we can make a prediction about Cornell yet.

(1) We need a decision on Galal Cancer.

(2) We need an update on the health of Braxston Bunce over the summer.

Those two guys change Cornell dramatically. Not that they are stars, but because they make this team completely different.