Thursday, September 19, 2013

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, news and notes for Thursday...

Get ready for a new Ivy League viewing experience.
  • The Ithaca Times writes, "In more recent years, the [Cornell] hockey and lacrosse teams (and the 2009-10 basketball team) have basked in national attention and taken pleasure in the fickle glow of athletic success, but during the first half of Cornell’s history, football was the undisputed king, the major event on the Cornell University campus and in the larger Ithaca community, too."
  • City of Basketball Love profiles local Philadelphia area teams participating in an upcoming tournament and writes, "Archbishop Wood: This is the first chance we get to see newly-named head coach John Mosco, a longtime Neumann-Goretti assistant, take over the Wood program. He has lots of returning players on the roster, led by Cornell commit Pat Smith. Interesting to see what kind of offense and defense he will be running in his first year, and how much of it they show this weekend."


    Anonymous said...

    what exactly does Courtney know about defense? His entire defensive strategy the past few years has been:

    - hard trapping out to the half court line
    - consistently poor positioning and missed rotations
    - easily giving up interior baskets and other very high % shots

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    And what do you know about basketball in general?

    You think it is the coach's fault that his player miss rotations and fail to shift?

    Havoc defenses have worked at Arkansas (national title), Wichita St. (Final Four), Missouri and at George Mason (with Bill Courtney, Final Four).

    Anonymous said...

    Don't forget VCU

    bigreddiehard66 said...


    It is the coach's fault because it is his job to notice the problem areas and work out the kinks in practice.

    bigreddiehard66 said...

    CBB- the forum still says my account is pending. Can you fix this?

    Anonymous said...

    Princeton has a very good recruiting class. Harvard has struck out so far but reportedly has some high level kids visiting this weekend.

    We're picked to finish 7th by many, even by this very home-biased blog. We need to hit a home run in recruiting to help get the program on an upswing. But this blog says that's no longer the case -- we're apparently looking at mid major kids at best.

    That's not necessarily bad, but we're rebuilding and we need a steady stream of talent. As this blog has said repeatedly, BCS offers (offers, not interest) are a good sign of that potential talent.

    Anonymous said...

    And by the way, you're right that Columbia is in on some big time talent. Wow. So at least four Ivies are in tight with BCS kids.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...


    Please try your account again. Just tweeked it. If problems persist, contact me again.

    Anonymous said...

    Well, it looks like we won't have any program changing players coming in this year...

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    #1) Jordan Abdur Ra'off is a program changing player. There are maybe 5 guys in the league with his explosiveness.

    You should take another look at his video. Don't just want him dunk.

    Look at his ability to catch the ball, his timing, his footwork, his defense. He's a big, big get.

    #2) We have a few kids with BCS offers still in in play, including a kid who visited with Jordan. This other prospect merely wants to evaluate his options. He's unlikely to commit anywhere early.

    While with Julian Jacobs, we knew he would commit somewhere by the early signing period, this prospect wants to wait.

    You should realize that not every kid commits immediately.

    Braxston Bunce did not commit during his visit and made us sweat it out against Penn, Washington State and Boise State for more than 2 months. In fact, he was ready to visit Columbia when he canceled the visit last second and committed to Cornell.

    Point is, relax. There are a bunch of really good kids in play.

    Anonymous said...

    1. I think Jordan was a terrific pickup and a big get, but come on, he's not a program changing player. He's not a Zena E-type with multiple BCS offers that makes the entire league say "holy crap".

    2. We'll see if any of these alleged BCS kids commit to Cornell -- we need the help. After last year's disappointing hype, I'm skeptical.

    Btw, another kid we reportedly offered picked Binghamton today.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Cornell was interested in John Schurman but took Pat Smith instead.

    As for Zena, he's sculpted and 6'8"/6'9"--- which makes him a natural PF for the BCS level.

    If a guy has a BCS body, he's going to get BCS offers--- (see David Onuorah or Kenyatta Smith as other examples).

    Jordan is just 6'6"--- and schools overlooked him just the same way they passed on Justin Sears, Errick Peck, Kyle Casey and Shonn Miller because not many schools want to take a 6'6" PF (Casey and Miller were not legit 6'7" heading into their high school senior seasons).

    The fact is, Jordan is a freak athlete in the Ivy League level.

    He can defend and score in the paint. And he's played at a high level in one of the five best high school basketball leagues in America.

    He has All Ivy written all over him.

    Anonymous said...

    Wow, what a stupid defense of Courtney's inability to produce an effective team after three years. "It's not his fault he has dumb kids who can't learn what he's tryna teach." Really? Really?? Still blaming the students for a bad coach. He either can't coach or he can't recruit good kids, take your pick,or let him find another style that WILL work with his kids ... what about that? ... but acting like he has an especially incompetent bunch of kids is low.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    You might not like Bill Courtney and you are entitled to your opinion.

    But he is not out there playing the games.

    The players are playing. They miss the shots. They throw the bad passes. They miss the defensive assignments.

    Without good players, you can't win, even if Phil Jackson is on your bench.

    Cornell has lacked talent since Donahue left.

    It has been a slow process, but Bill is upgrading his roster, bringing athletes capable of defending the full floor and running his up tempo offense.

    He needs athletic kids that can beat their man off the dribble and create their own offense.

    He needs kids that run the full floor and defend every corner of hardwood.

    Unfortunately, the guys Donahue left behind are not "havoc" "40 minutes of hell" capable players.

    Andy Noel is a very patient man.

    You might not be patient. And thank god you are not the athletic director, because you might have fired Donahue in 2004.

    Bill is getting his chance to get his talent in place.

    Anonymous said...

    Agree Cornell hasn't had the talent from top to bottom to win since Bill has been here. I also think that some of Bill's coaching moves have been somewhat odd, like his fascination with playing Eitan and Josh when there were better younger bigs who could use the game experience. But the bottom line is that Cornell has often looked lost since Chris W. left -- they need a leader at the point, and it's a gaping hole, especially in Bill's offense.

    We need a Julian Jacobs-like point guard if we're going to turn this around. Bouncy 6'6" guys are great, but they don't win without a terrific point guard.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    AGREE 100%.

    For whatever reason, Bill loves seniors. Each year he has favored seniors over younger players and has always treated the Donahue recruits favorably in comparison to his own younger recruits.

    I never understood why guys like Eitan, Josh and Miles played as much as they did.

    And agree, Cornell needs a PG.

    Perhaps Darryl or Robert are the answer, but likely not the answer as freshmen. But they might be the answer the following year.

    In any case, the reality is that Harvard is LOADED through unethical recruiting, aggressive financial aid and admission standards, unethical use of the 5th year rule, unethical use of "booster kids" and unethical roster overhauls.

    Nobody is going to take down Harvard this season, but next year is more realistic.

    Remember, Harvard was just an 11-3 Ivy team with Christian Webster and Laurent Rivard and without Casey and Curry.

    Take those 4 guys away and add Zena and that is your 2014-2015 Harvard team (with Saundars, Kenyatta, Moundou-Missi, Travis all seniors).

    Harvard is slowly coming back to earth.

    Meanwhile, Cornell is building a core of really good guys that will be together for 2-3 more years.

    Unknown said...

    Wow, I really have to disagree about the talent level and the kids not fitting the system, yada, yada.

    In hindsight Donahue's kids weren't freak BCS athletes on their way to pro careers. They were just slightly above average Ivy athletes, who bought into Donahue's awesome offensive system, knew each other, and supported each other in a nurturing environment created by a thoughtful Ivy League (gets how to work with smart kids) coach. Because of this once-in-a-blue-moon synergy they rose to heights unheard of in the history of a solidly mediocre (historically speaking) Cornell basketball program. That was the genius and the beauty of it all. And damn was it fun to watch for all of us. Like a movie almost.

    If you think Bill Courtney has the keys to that kingdom of basketball magic, you are sadly mistaken.

    But by all means keep defending him, and in three years we can start talking about the next (insert alumni funder here) basketball coach of Cornell University.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Steve Donahue had an incredible team.

    He had one of the best shooters in Ivy history (Wittman), the best big man in Ivy history (Jeff Foote) and arguably one of the best 5 point guards in the Ivy's last 20 years.

    He surrounded those guys with some excellent role players (grunts like Tyler and Coury and shooters like Reeves, Wroblewski and Jaques).

    It is really, really freaking hard to finish the season ranked AND win 2 NCAA games. Donahue had talent/experience on his roster... and lots of it.

    Nobody said Bill is going to do the same thing with his teams.

    But can he do what the '08 and '09 teams did and win a title?


    You might change your opinion about the long term future of the program in the next week or two.

    Anonymous said...

    I hope you're right, but I really don't think so.

    Since you have picked us for 7th, I assume you have backed off your prior statements about hoping to compete for a title this year. And we need to show some significant improvement if we hope to compete in 2014-15.

    I think you are radically underestimating the young talent at Harvard. I suspect they have have the players that a majority of league coaches would take first in each of the Fresh, Soph, and Jr classes (Zena, Chambers, and Saunders). And in the Sr. class, Casey and/or Curry would be very high on everyone's list.

    I know you will argue Shonn over Saunders, but even if you call that a push (and I think the majority of independent observers would take Saunders) the talent gap is pretty clear.

    And if you want to point fingers at Harvard and say they are stockpiling talent that can't play now, that's fine - but you can't at the same time say that when the guys who are playing graduate that they don't have anyone who can step up.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    My pick for 7th is based on non-public news. Stuff you will not see in the preseason magazines.

    This information will come out later in the preseason.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think many people will change their opinion of the program's long term prognosis if the forthcoming news involves Shonn sitting out for a year. If it involves big time commits, that's a different story.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Didn't say that... but man, that has me scratching my head. Your comment makes absolutely no sense.

    Kyle Casey sitting out and coming back didn't change Harvard in the long term?

    Think before your write.

    Obviously a 5th year coming back changes everything, especially if he is a league MVP caliber.

    Anonymous said...

    If you value experience that much, it's hard to understand how completely you minimize the loss of Erric Peck.

    And no, I don't think that Casey's situation changes Harvard OVER THE LONG TERM. His absence was a detriment to them last year, and his presence will obviously help them this year. But the impact over the LONG TERM, after this year and beyond is hard to quantify.

    It's likely true that a 5th year Casey is better than a 4th year Casey, but to suggest that the difference in those two cases is program-changing is wildly overstating it's impact.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Players are eligible for only 4 seasons.

    This is not the NBA.

    Players don't have 10 year careers.

    So not exactly sure what you deem "long term" in your mind.

    Long term in college basketball is 2-3 years.

    Neither Cornell nor any of the other Ivies can compete with Harvard this year for the title (well, maybe Penn, but only if everything breaks right for the Quakers with health).

    Thus, the best outcome for Cornell "right now" is a "long term silver-lining" -- meaning, Cornell has obtains hope for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 etc...

    The news that will break for Cornell in the next few weeks will be very helpful for the next few years.

    The 2014-2015 Cornell team could be very special.

    As for this year...

    Even if Cornell had Jon Gray and Errick Peck this year and Shonn Miller and the freshmen, Cornell would have virtually no chance of beating Harvard.

    We couldn't beat them last year and now they are getting Casey, Curry and Zena.

    Best scenario for Cornell is let the Crimson lose Rivard, Casey, Curry in May and have Cornell bring back its entire starting unit in place.

    Anonymous said...

    There's an article in The Crimson dated September 19 entitled, "Harvard's APR Scores Could Have Fallen Due to Cheating Scandal." The article reports that Harvard is in the process of applying for an APR waiver for Max Hooper, who left the program in spring 2012 to transfer to St. John's. Harvard expects its 2011-12 APR to be retroactively revised upward by 10 to 15 points as a result.

    The article also says that Harvard has the option of applying for an APR waiver for Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, quoting a former associate AD at Oklahoma about a precedent involving a player suspended for academic dishonesty who nevertheless successfully received an APR waiver.

    It seems to me that, if players can withdraw from school for academic malfeasance and still not count against their school's APR, that kind of defeats the purpose of having an APR.

    Anonymous said...

    Now this is a comical statement:

    "For whatever reason, Bill loves seniors. Each year he has favored seniors over younger players and has always treated the Donahue recruits favorably in comparison to his own younger recruits."

    For his first head coaching job, Bill Courtney took control of a program that had just been to the Sweet 16. He is paid to run a respectable program, but most of all he is paid to win. There is only one "reason" that any Division 1 basketball coach, including Bill Courtney, would ever "favor" (i.e., play) any player or group players, and that is because he believes those players give his team the best chance to win.

    And don't kid yourself, that includes the "preselected" Donahue recruits who supposedly "lack talent."

    I guarantee you that over the past 3 seasons, Bill Courtney would have played five freshmen 30 plus minutes per game, while letting his seniors rot on the bench, if he believed that would given him the best chance to win. If you don't believe that, then you have never played the game at any serious competitive level.

    Anonymous said...

    I think it's pretty clear what the announcement will be. So, here's our potential starting lineup:

    PG: Smith?
    SF: Cherry
    SF: Cressler
    PF: Onourah?
    C: Bunce? Lamore? Giddens?

    WIthout Shonn, I think we're the favorite to finish dead last in the league. The Wisconsin game (with Shonn, Peck, and Gray on the roster) last year was painful to watch. The games against Louisville and Syracuse are going to be a running joke those nights on Sportscenter, and at our expense.

    Anonymous said...

    Jeff Foote is "the best big man in Ivy history." That's myopic. Jim McMillan was a three-time All-Ivy player and a first-round draft pick of Lakers.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    There are a lot of arguments against McMillan not being better than Foote. For starters...

    Jim McMillan was 6'5" and played forward.

    Anonymous said...

    I think maybe Rudy LaRusso was the best big man in Ivy League history--unless you don't count pre-1955.

    Anonymous said...

    If you want to argue that Courtney simply hasn't had the talent since he took over as coach, then you're basically arguing that he can't recruit as well as other coaches, who have been able to find the pieces they need.

    I don't think that's the reason for the team's awfulness -- I think the reason is that Bill Courtney is a terrible coach -- but if you're going to claim that he just can't find the peices while everyone else has, then you're claiming he is a poor recruiter.

    If you give anybody forever, they'll eventually get better (maybe), but that doesn't mean forever is how long it takes. It isn't. Donahue did not inherit a team in the same recruiting environment as Courtney did, and everyone who was around back then knows that this argument you keep pushing is false.

    Don't forget that it's not like he hasn't recruited guards and bigs. It's just that other than Shonn and Nolan, almost none of his recruits in any position have become even halfway reliable. Instead of wondering if he is a poor developer of talent, or if not that he can't recruit, everyone is all like "nah he just has the worst luck... these kids were just so untalented and can't run the drills smh; the other teams just got luckier with recruiting".

    The extent to which people are unwilling to allow Courtney bear any responsibility whatsoever for the team's state is unbelievable.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Bill is not perfect. He makes mistakes. Steve Donahue made mistakes. Both in recruiting and in strategy.

    But to suggest firing the coach will solve Cornell's problems is just not accurate.

    Cornell was seriously lacking in upperclassmen talent the last few years.

    For example, ast year's seniors were almost entirely former D-III recruits.

    Figini, Chemerinski, MAA, McMillan and Gray combined as a unit for zero scholarship offers at the D-I level. Then there was Peck, the lone legit All Ivy level talent in the group.

    They might be great kids who worked hard, on and off the court, but the talent level was not where it needed to be.

    This is Division I basketball.

    Those guys were not nearly as talented as Harvard's class of 2013 (Webster, Casey, Curry, Giger).

    Courtney could not win with them.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think anyone will argue that Bill is behind Donahue is in terms of coaching X's and O's. But it also took Steve some time to get to where he is now. Let's give Bill a chance without freaking out (and by chance, I mean the next two years, which will be a full five years).

    This year will likely be a lost cause in terms of winning (assuming Shonn is out).

    I'm more interested in how recruiting shakes out this year and next year -- the staff will have had a chance to recruit from a full high school frosh-senior cycle. If we're still not winning, and we're not bringing in game changing talent (not undersized, athletic mid major kids, I'm talking kids who can redefine the program), then I'll be more prepared to switch sides on the coaching debate. But some of the posters on here are too critical, too soon. It might be hard to swallow for some, but this league isn't the Pac 12 or Big 10.

    Michael James said...

    "Paxson noted that Figini was recruited by Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Boston University, Belmont, Samford, Wisconsin Green Bay, Navy, Army, Lafayette, and Columbia among others. Paxson even noted that Minnesota asked if Figini would commit as a non-scholarship walk-on. Colorado's interest was noted at a serious level. Jangor added that North Dakota State was another D-I program interested in Fingin's services."

    "In discussiong schools of interest, Feldman said that Cornell, Penn, Harvard, Columbia and Princeton all recruited Chemerinski with varying levels of interest. Virtually all of top academic schools in the Division III ranks, including Williams College, Amherst and Tufts recruited him. "If he went to one of those D-III schools, he'd be All-League as a freshman," said Feldman.

    "Chemerinski took campus visits to Penn, Princeton, and Columbia, met with the coaching staffs and was visited down at Smith by the coaching staff of Harvard. Within a two-week period, he also participated in both Penn's and Cornell's Elite Basketball Camps."

    "Asafo-Adjei's high school coach, Richard Bowers told The Cornell Basketball Blog that Asafo-Adjei "always wanted to play at a place like Cornell" and that he also considered top academic schools such as Columbia and Furman before choosing Cornell."

    "When asked about McMillan's recruitment, Carroll noted that at various points in the recruiting process, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth and William & Mary all extended offers while other schools such as Quinnipiac encouraged McMillan to visit the campus. He also noted that all three assistant coaches at Cornell played critical roles in recruiting McMillan."

    Unknown said...

    Yes, if including MacMillan then of course you'd have to include Dollar Bill Bradley. Steve Goodrich, Kit Mueller and Chris Dudley might have something to say about "Best Center" title, off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm forgetting others.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Thanks for saving me some work Mike. I stand corrected, the group combined for just one (1) scholarship offer--- William & Mary to McMillan.

    The rest of the group was D-III, unless you count Ivy offers.

    All of the schools listed above outside the Ivy were merely "interest" and not offers.

    So again, point is hammered home.

    Michael James said...

    While in looking through the excerpts I figured that would be your answer, I think you can understand why people on the boards would be confused as to how a player being recruited by Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado (at a serious level), four years later would be described as having only D-III offers.

    If none of the other stuff matters (calls, visits, interest), then I'd suggest just listing offers in the future. That way folks reading the boards won't see a bunch of fellow Ivies or even bigger name schools and form an impression of the potential of a recruit only to find out later the expectations should never have been that high.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Your point is understood, but readers need to understand that a scholarship offer is different than mere interest.

    And in my profiles, I try to paint the full recruiting picture by listing schools that also show genuine interest in addition to those that pull the trigger and make an offer.

    Also, offers are not all equal. Some are indefinite and are available when the recruit wants to decide. Some others expire (i.e., a recruit might have only 1 week to accept or reject the offer). Not all offers stay on the table forever. Cornell regularly extends expiring offers (like a carton of milk).

    At the end of the day, it is very difficult for any journalist, blogger, recruiting service etc. to accurately paint a recruiting picture. Only the recruits and the coaches know the details of the situation.

    And in the case of the class of 2013 (last year's seniors), aside from Peck, they were all Ivy/academic D-III recruits. (McMillan being the lone exception holding a scholarship from William and Mary).

    Anonymous said...

    Let me start by saying that I hope Foote catches on somewhere and goes on to be an NBA all-star.

    But prior to that happening, I'm curious as what a single argument would be that suggest Foote is better than Jim McMillian.

    (Obviously they played different positions, but there really is no comparison).

    McMillian was 3 times named the outstanding college player in the NY metro area.

    He was a 3-time Ivy first-teamer (in a far different era of Ivy hoops, when Princeton, Penn, and even Columbia all spent time in the Top25).

    He was a 3rd team all-American.

    He was drafted 13th overall, and went on to a 11 year NBA career.

    Again, I hope Foote's best days are ahead of him, but right now, you can't compare their resumes.

    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    "I think it's pretty clear what the announcement will be. So, here's our potential starting lineup:

    PG: Smith?
    SF: Cherry
    SF: Cressler
    PF: Onourah?
    C: Bunce? Lamore? Giddens?"

    Just playing with this comment because it is the preseason-- although not reporting any red-shirts.

    What we do know is that very little is "clear" with the rotation. It is actually quite unsettled.

    Cressler and Cherry are virtual locks to start and the 3 and 2. That's about where the clearness ends.

    And as we know, neither are proven consistent players, so both can get yanked from their perches.

    The PG battle will be interesting.

    Dom has experience and should get minutes.

    Smith is viewed by the staff as a combo guard while Hatter is viewed as a more natural pass-first PG. Not sure who wins out here, but definitely could be a toss-up.

    Hatter is really good, had scholarships to University of Houston and Northeastern. Smith also had an offer from NU and Vermont. Both are quality mid major guards.

    Having talked to a lot of folks, I think Onuorah is starting or playing major minutes (i.e. 20 mpg). Not sure if he will be a 4, a 5 or both.

    Aside from Shonn, the vet that seems to have the most love from is Giddens.

    So, we could see a line-up that sometimes includes Onuorah and Giddens next to each other. That's a lot of defense/rebounding and very little offense.

    Lamore, arguably the program's "fan favorite"--- is probably the primary back-up at the 4/5. There really isn't anyone who can compete with him.

    Bunce is still a mystery, even to the staff. They really haven't seen him in game situations or even scrimmages. I think he comes on slowly as the staff learns more about his abilities. He's the type of guy who could literally come out of no where and start to help the team in January.

    Tomic will get a chance if any of the above don't pan out. Tarwater could slip into the mix as well given he is a senior and has been around the block. Both are in that undersized 6'6" to 6'7" range.