Thursday, June 13, 2013

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, news and notes for Thursday...

  • Dwight Tarwater will participate this summer in the Rocky Top Summer Pro League in Knoxville, Tennessee per the Knoxville News Sentinel.  Rosters are available here.
  • Below is a glimpse of your 2013-2014 Cornell roster (excluding the incoming freshmen).  Notably, Galal Cancer will not return to the team for his junior year.  Cancer withdrew from the program prior to the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season.  His career was marked with both "ups" and "downs."  He averaged 5.7 points, 2.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 22.1 minutes per game last season while struggling as a shooter, hitting 34% from the floor and 29% beyond the arc.  In conference play, Cancer's minutes slightly increased to 23.8 while his shooting from the floor fell to 29.9%.  He averaged 5.8 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds against Ivy foes.


br2 said...

Sucks. Cancer was a beast and had so much potential. Athletic, strong, fast and most importantly: fearless.

I know you'll downplay him as a replaceable guard, and maybe he is two years from now. But you can't replace two years of D1 experience with a kid out of high school at this moment.

I wish Galal the best and support his decision. I'm sure it wasn't an easy one and he has his reasons for doing what he did.

I, for one, will miss seeing him play for the Big Red.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Let's talk about the positives then let's talk about the negatives.

First, Galal was incredible at getting into the paint. He could create his own shot.

Now for the negatives... and the list is long.

He struggled over two years shooting. In fact, he was a liability.

There was potential, yes. But after two years, the numbers do not lie. He was a sub .400 shooter from the floor, sub 80$% at the FT line and a below average sniper outside the arc.

He did not prove to make others around him better. His assists were modest, at best.

Defensively, pretty good, but not at all star levels.

At the end of the day, Galal was a guy with a lot of potential, but he just never lived up to what was expected.

By all accounts, he is a great kid. But we are talking basketball here.

Something had to change at point guard and Galal was going to get pushed by the freshmen, whether he came back or left.

Cornell needs a point guard that can create, shoot and distribute.

I know it is asking a lot, but I think Darryl Smith can be an immediate upgrade with some learning curves.

Louis Dale was terrific as a frosh, Siyanni Chambers was terrific as a frosh. Chris Wroblewski was pretty solid as a lead frosh guard.

Can almost guarantee you that Smith, Cherry, Cressler and Miller start. The open spot looks more open and should be a battle between Onuorah, Giddens, Bunce, Harmon and Lamore.

Anonymous said...

That's a young, athletic starting lineup, but there's no realistic way that lineup can beat Harvard for the title. Next year might not be our year, but it will hopefully be a nice building block for 2014-15, when Shonn is a senior. There will probably be a bunch of bumps along the way, but that lineup has way more upside than one with Eitan, Miles, etc.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Totally disagree.

Look, depth is important. But you don't need depth.

Harvard won the title last year playing 5 guys.

Cornell only needs 5 really good guys.

Without any bias, I truly believe Cornell has the potential to find 5 guys that can play with any combination of Harvard's best 5.

The big question is IF Cornell can find those 5.

We know what we have with Shonn and Nolan. They are very good and will be among the league's top 10-15 guys.

Devin is unmatched in the league in terms of quickness. We need him to be consistent. He might make that jump as a junior. But he's showed signs of dominance, even as a freshman at Maryland.

As for rest of the unit--- we need a PF/C who will bang and rebound. I think we get that with Bunce or Onuorah or even Giddens/Lamore. (We certainly did not get it from Figini or Eitan, nor did we get much offense from either).

As for the PG--- his job will only be to get the ball to Devin, Nolan and Shonn.

Anonymous said...

CBB - Like what you say about this coming year - BUT - I wonder why we do not do more pick & rolls (ala Spurs) in addition to the PG drives and kick-out.

Also wonder why we do not do more back door plays - (a learned skill)

To me - full time movement (all 5) is much better than just a drive and kick-out. Back-side screens, pass one way, screen the other, etc. are equally good ways at getting somebody open - if done with skill.

br2 said...

All good points regarding Galal and others.

Our most important thing might be that 5 spot. If we want Nolan to be amazing we need a true center that requires the opposition D not to cheat on the perimeter. There were some games where Nolan couldn't get any good looks. I think that stemmed from the lack of our inside presence.

If Bunce can be that inside spot, we can be golden, but that's a big if. Same with Onurah. Neither have played yet.

What do we have?
Cherry - real solid #2, can create and drive and handle well enough.
Cressler - terrific quick shooter, with a good knack for rebounding
Miller - athletic specimen, great at defense, but I think should play closer to the hoop on offense

We're missing that #1 guard and #5 spot. With the most important of those being the #5 spot. I think how we perform there at the 5 will make or break our season. If we force the opponent to respect us inside on offense, Cressler will have a lights out year. If we don't, well then we'll see similar games from this year where he could go for 20+ one night and 3 the next due to lack of looks.

A frosh should be able to step in at the PG. With the others on the floor they shouldn't be asked to score too much, which is good b/c protecting and distributing the ball should be their primary skillset.

Anonymous said...

Sometime you need to shake it up. A PG is needed and a couple are headed that way...

Anonymous said...

Didn't we just go through this?

Harvard has 6 guys returning that have ALREADY turned in seasons deemed worthy of all-Ivy recognition.

We have 1. (Miller is a star and potential MVP, no question).

Yes, if we have 5 or 6 guys better than everyone else's 5 or 6 guys, we're in great shape.

But since the Harvard guys have already done it, what do you think the odds of our guys leapfrogging them?

Sure we like our guys, and hope they are working hard, but I bet Harvard and Penn guys are also not spending the summer at the beach.

Saying it's possible is very different that saying it is even remotely likely.

And to beat the (very) dead horse again, having heavy expectations for guys that have not yet played any D1 ball is a VERY unpredictable business.

I'll leave this to someone better at searching than I am, but I would not be surprised if this blog was equally impressed two years ago with Galal Cancer as it is with Darryl Smith today.

Unknown said...

The last comment about Cancer vs. new guards hype is right on the money. Cancer was hyped as big-time. And frankly, Cancer played very well at times last year. These questions about the team's potential don't weigh the effects of mediocre coaching on development. And mediocre it is unfortunately. Maybe there will be a Doc RIvers - level revelation and Courtney an figure it out. I hope.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Fans want to lay all the blame on Courtney. But coaches play a very very small role in what happens on the court.

Steve Donahue could not win a game until he had Foote, Wittman and Dale. Steve was a good coach, but he had spectacular players.

Bill Courtney is not losing games. His kids are losing the games. And his kids for the past 3 years have been mainly Donhaue leftovers.

No disrespect to Steve and his crew of coaches, but they left Cornell will very little help. The one consistent star was Wroblewski. Peck had up and down potential. Wire was solid but not outstanding. Coury was solid but very limited on offense. And Gray was uber streaky. That's all that was left.

Galal came in with a lot of hype.

We knew he wasn't a shooter. But his shooting was worse than expected. In fact, he was barely more effective a shooter than MAA. You could leave Galal wide open and he still struggled to bury the 3 ball. Not good.

Yes, Galal could get into the lane and had incredible ball control on the dribble. But he made so many bad decisions with that ball. He shot directly into bigger players only to see shots rejected and often telegraphed his passes. Sometimes he simply dribbled himself into dead ends.

Defensively he was competent, but not a star.

As for intangibles, Galal drifted in and out of games. Sometimes he just wasn't all there.

By all accounts, he is a great, great kid. But after 2 years, his game wasn't coming around.

Maybe he would excel as a junior, but the starting PG job was definitely not his to lose. The freshmen were coming in regardless and they were going to push him for minutes.

Anonymous said...

You completely missed the point.

Cancer did not turn out to be Ivy-level difference maker, for the reasons you articulated. I don't believe the several people who have brought this up are trying to criticize him.

The point was that he was expected to be a star PG, and was hyped by you (and others) as such. Didn't turn out that way.

And now, you are turning over the reins of next years team to another incoming freshman.

The obvious point is that Smith may work out great, or he might not.

It's just that simple.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I think everyone who has commented appears generally in agreement in re: Galal.

Some might feel more comfortable with him on the roster. But the numbers do not lie. He was not working well on the floor and needed MAJOR improvement to be counted on as a capable guard.

Darryl Smith doesn't need to be superstar or even Rookie of the Year. He just needs to be as good as Miles Asafo Adjei, who by the way, started ahead of Galal. That tells you all you need to know about our PG situation last year.

Anonymous said...

Cornell Basketball Blog I can see your attempt to downplay Galal as much as possible because of his departure from the team but I suggest you be careful with your so called analysis.

As far as shooting he was not the greatest as you clearly state with his percentages but at the end of the day that was atleast half the team. Galal is a player who is going to do what is asked of him by his coach whether he likes it or not so don't forget to take into account this so called system Courtney had the team running. For you to say these kids were coming in to push him for minutes when they weren't even coming to the school before his departure.

Lastly you speak of MAA starting over him as if he was the better player or something. Just make sure you have gathered all the information when you explain to people because this is very misleading. And for that long list of negatives you decided to list I wonder where he ranked on the team in those categories.

Anonymous said...

CBB- In all fairness to the Coach, he does have a major role in winning games. You cannot simple blame the players because of his inability to put the right players on the court who is capable of producing quality wins or developing those players who may have a weakness or two. And to blame, the players that were left over from Donahue is completely shameful. If Bill felt that they did not fit into his style of play then he should have made some adjustments. That's what coaches do when they want to win. And at last check, I thought that basketball was a team sport and if you want to win you need to get quality play from all positions and you need a coach who can coach effectively.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Galal was 14th on the team in FG%, 9th on the team in 3-pt%, and 4th in FT%.

Those are not good rankings for a point guard.

MAA shot better from the floor, brought better defense and had fewer turnovers.

And Darryl Smith committed to Cornell in December, long before Galal quit the team. Cornell would have taken both Darryl and Julian Jacobs. Cornell also offered Robert Hatter in January, again, long before Galal left the team.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

One last point. Nobody is questioning Galal's character or off the court qualities.

This is exclusively a discussion about what he did on the hardwood during game situations.

The numbers do not lie. He shot far below acceptable percentages and had very few assists (only 2.7 per game). He was 8th in the league in assists and averaged only .1 assist more per game than MAA, the 9th ranked player in the league.

West Saunders was 7th in the league, way ahead of Galal, with 3.5 assists per game. And Wes is not even a point guard.

In fact, multiple big time scorers in the league average more assists than Galal-- Miles Cartwright, Barbour, Chambers, Hummer to name a few.

We can applaud Galal's character, but not sure how you defend the numbers.

We can all say this, he had loads of potential. But at some point, don't you stop waiting for potential to be fulfilled?

Anonymous said...

When your PG is passing the ball to the "so-called" shooters it's up to them to make a basket in order for it to be an assist.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Very, very true.

But I won't agree that Galal's assist numbers were down due to a lack of shooters around him.

He didn't pick-up assists even when Drew Ferry and C.Wroblewski were on his wings.

As for this year...There were plenty of other guards in the league that had more success picking up assists and Cornell was not the league's worst shooting team.

And Galal's own shooting numbers are still an issue as well.

While it would be nice to have Galal back for another season, he was far from proven and the starting PG role was WIDE open for anyone to take.

Unknown said...

Offenses generate assists as much as individual players. Cornell runs a dribble-drive offense, which does not generate many assists no matter who is running it. Princeton's iconic offense, for instance, generates assists. Harvard's offense, with Chambers penetrating and dishing, generates assists. Cornell's helter-skelter push it to a fault offense does not generate many assists. As I see it, Cancer was essentially trying to do his job, and again, I don't think you can discount coaching, or "the system," in this equation. Feel free to trot out some stats to prove me wrong. I'm just going by the eye ball test. He looked like a fully competent, athletic, Ivy League PG to me, caught in a sub-optimal system.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

We cant blame the dribble-drive offense on Galal's assist numbers.

After all, Chris Wroblewski averaged 5.3 assists per game in 2012 under Bill Courtney, way ahead of Galal'2 2.7 in 2013.

And as we all know, Chris was ALSO the #1 scoring option and led the team in scoring while also shooting the basketball extremely efficiently. Chris also drew the opponent's top perimeter defender.

Again, the numbers do not lie here.

Galal struggled.

If you want to make the case that he would improve as a junior, we could debate his potential.

But his past performances were a struggle.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that you need penetration from your PG so the wings can get open looks for a kick-out and three. Galal definitely knew how to find the open lane, which would either lead to a layup, or a kick and long three. I don't know how good Smith is at finding the lanes, or penetrate and kick, but without a good PG, the wings won't get any open looks.