Thursday, July 18, 2013

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, news and notes for Thursday...

Friday, November 22nd at Cornell: The Newman Arena welcomes the Saints the week before Thanksgiving, with Bill Courtney and the Big Red returning senior swingman Shonn Miller a year after he was Cornell's leading scorer and rebounder on a 13-18 team. Sophomore Nolan Cressler should have a bigger impact after a rookie season that saw the Pittsburgh native shoot 40 percent from three-point range, with junior guard Devin Cherry also on the precipice of a breakout campaign.
  • Panther Lair recaps the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer Pro Am action from Wednesday night as follows.  An additional recap is on Panther Digest.
P&W BMW 94, The Lair 71
Since losing its first game, P&W BMW has been on fire this summer, and nothing changed in the season finale.
Nolan Cressler led with 22 points, and Chevron Troutman recorded a double-double as P&W BMW won its fifth straight game. With a 5-1 mark, the squad also locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs with its tie-breaker win over SPK.
Cressler continued his hot shooting, netting 9 of 15 shots from the field including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Troutman finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, maintained his dominating, physical play.
P&W used opportunistic defense and fundamentally sound offense to open leads of 22-9 and 35-20 before settling on a nine-point lead at halftime. Lance Jeter controlled the pace by distributing the ball for seven assists. He also added seven points on the night.
The closest The Lair could get in the second half was a seven-point deficit. P&W used a 44-22 rebounding advantage and 51.3 percent shooting from the field to create number of small runs to extend its lead over the 20-point mark.
West Virginia's Devin Williams led The Lair with 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field. Duquesne's Ovie Soko added 17 points and eight rebounds on the night.  By earning the top playoff seed, P&W has a bye on Monday. The team will play the lowest remaining seed on Tuesday.
Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon leans on the bearings of a basketball hoop at the Greentree Sportsplex, casually watching the summer league basketball game being played in front of him while talking to a couple other local coaches.
Most of his own players are in the gym participating in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am, but the one guy who elicits a response from Dixon is the one player in the league who attends an Ivy League school.
As the tall, well-built shooting guard pulls up for a deep 3-pointer, Dixon raises his eyebrows and looks toward the baseline, asking a few media members present, "Is that the Cornell kid?"
When someone answers yes, Dixon nods and smiles while looking back toward the court, saying, "The kid can shoot."
In a summer league filled with players from powerhouse conferences and programs, Cornell's Nolan Cressler might be getting the most attention. Official stats aren't kept in the summer league, but by one unofficial count, the former Plum High School player scored 38 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in one game last week.
He got to 38 by shooting 8 of 13 from 3-point range, impressive even in a league where defense isn't placed at a premium.
So yes, the kid can shoot.
"I think he has unlimited potential," said Bill Courtney, Cressler's coach at Cornell. "We've basically given him the green light on offense to take shots. I think when you have that type of ability, there's no telling what he can accomplish here. I'm hoping in the next few years he becomes all-league and the type of player who challenges for player of the year in our league."
Cressler is a big 6-foot-4 wing, with broader shoulders than most guards his size. He plays the shooting guard/secondary ball-handler in Cornell's three-guard system, so he got a lot of opportunities to score during his freshman season.
In 31 games, Cressler averaged a little more than nine points per game -- good for fourth on the team -- and shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range. He started about a third of Cornell's games, having a roller-coaster type of season, which is normal for freshman players. The campaign started with him leading the team in scoring off the bench in his first collegiate game with 20 points all the way to enduring a typical midseason freshman swoon that saw him score 15 points total in five games.
Courtney envisions Cressler, as a sophomore who now knows what to expect, to be one of the team's leading scorers next year. His shooting alone might get him to that point. Still, the coach is looking for him to work on his defense and creating his own shots off the dribble during the pro-am league in the offseason.
"Defense is an area he needs to work on," he said. "I think every high school player makes that adjustment to college, especially for scorers because they have to shoulder so much of the load on the offensive end, learning how to play defense at a high level. A lot of it is playing against higher level players, too, who are quicker, stronger and faster.
"He's figuring it out. He got better as the year went on and hopefully that progression continues as he comes into his sophomore year."
Out of high school, Cressler had interest from several Patriot League schools, but jumped at the chance for an Ivy League education. This summer, the dichotomy of that situation is pretty clear. Cressler is playing against guys who don't have to worry about the same things he does during the school year, things such as professors who couldn't care less that their student also happens to be an athlete.
Courtney said his team schedules practices around study sessions and meetings with teachers, not the other way around. That doesn't often happen with schools in the Big East.
"It's a lot different," Cressler said. "It's crazy. I haven't been to another school so I wouldn't know first-hand, but from what I hear, our professors hold us to such a high standard that it can be really stressful. Once you get the hang of it, though, it's skills you'll be using for the rest of your life, so it will pay off eventually."
After impressing the Ivy Leagues in his first collegiate year, Cressler is spending the summer impressing Pittsburgh, and maybe not just for his shooting.
  • Big Apple Buckets makes a very early All Ivy League selection and tabs Shonn Miller to the First Team and writes, "Shonn Miller impacts both ends of the floor. Nationally ranked in block and steal rate, Miller’s presence in the lane should find him another all-conference first team designation."
  • Columbia Athletics issued a press release on Alex Rosenberg's and Eitan Chemerinski's participation in the Maccabi Games.
  • Shalom Life interviews Larry Tannenbaum, owner of the Toronto Raptors and a Cornell alumnus.
  • WEEI reports that former Cornell assistant coach, Jay Larranaga is a head coaching candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Bleacher Report lists Errick Peck as one of the Big 10's impact newcomers and writes:
 Purdue was set to go into the 2013-14 season with only two upperclassmen until a pair of graduate transfers agreed to come play for Matt Painter. Guard Sterling Carter (Seattle) and swingman Errick Peck (Cornell) join the Boilermakers for their final collegiate seasons, and both will make an impact.
The Boilers needed outside shooting, and both can supply it on occasion. Peck, though, brings an added mid-range game. Last season, Peck shot only 32.6 percent from long range, but he knocked in a more respectable 46 percent inside the arc.
Peck's 4.9 rebounds per game ranked 11th in the Ivy League, respectable territory for a 6'6" small forward. That average likely won't rank so high in the Big Ten, but Peck should still be able to contribute on the glass and the defensive end.
The question will lie in who Peck matches up with. He may spend the season taking on power forwards unless great improvements come out of senior Travis Carroll or redshirt freshman Jay Simpson.
The experience Peck brings to West Lafayette is another factor that can't be ignored. Peck saw action in Cornell's 2010 NCAA tournament run, then put up a combined 30 points in back-to-back games against Syracuse and Minnesota the following season.
Peck offers Painter a chance to partially correct an error he made back in 2009, when he signed Peck's Cathedral High School teammate Kelsey Barlow and ignored Peck. Barlow is heading into his first season at Illinois-Chicago after being dismissed from Purdue for repeated incidents at campus watering holes.

4 comments:

br2 said...

Cressler is only going to be as good as our post game/presence. If we have nothing inside, then they will cheat on him all day and he will get squat for looks.

Anonymous said...

If you had to choose one guy who would never receive an offer to return to his previous employer, it would have been Keith Olbermann. The world turns and, after 16 years, Keith joins the Steve Jobs Hall of Fame of Unlikely Corporate Returns. May Keith's return work out as well.

Anonymous said...

Saw creaser play this summer. The kid is the most competitive on the floor at all times and isn't shaken by anything. Creates his own shots well and can bang in the paint. CU got a steal with him. He's a worrier on the court.

Anonymous said...

Saw creaser play this summer. The kid is the most competitive on the floor at all times and isn't shaken by anything. Creates his own shots well and can bang in the paint. CU got a steal with him. He's a worrier on the court.