Wednesday, September 11, 2013

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Above, a Date in Cornell Basketball History, on March 1, 2008 Jason Hartford (Cornell '08) celebrates Cornell's 2008 Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament bid.  Below, news and notes for Wednesday...

  • Above, the Lindy's Sports College Basketball 2013-2014 Ivy League and Cornell preview.  In the Big 10 and Purdue section, Lindy's writes of Errick Peck, "Cornell guard can guard opposing stretch 4s (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg)."  On the ACC and Boston College, Lindy's writes, "It has been a long march for Steve Donahue, even though he has only been at Boston College for three seasons.  The former Cornell boss took a program that had little ACC-caliber talent and built something that should be strong enough to make some waves in the conference."
Without Wesley Saunders, Harvard would not have earned the Ivy League’s bid to the NCAA tournament last year. The sophomore led the league in scoring with 16.5 points per game, and his all-around play made him a unanimous First Team All-Ivy selection.
We know Wesley Saunders now. But which Ivy League players could breakout this season?
I touched base with nine Ivy League coaches, and they sent me a variety of answers. Two players stood out, though.
Penn’s Tony Hicks and Columbia’s Maodo Lo were each named by four coaches.
As a freshman, Hicks ranked No. 14 in the Ivy League with 10.4 points per game, but his efforts flew under the radar as Penn struggled to a nine-win season and fifth-place finish. He has room to improve—he shot just 39.4 percent from the field and, according to Kenpom, posted an 88.1 ORtg—but coaches like his scoring potential.
“[Hicks is] a big time offensive player who can score from all over the court,” one coach said. “Should be the leading scorer in the Ivy League at some point in his career.”
Like Hicks, Lo impressed league coaches as a freshman, though his numbers belied his potential.
Lo missed the first couple of games because of an injury, and he needed some time afterwards to adjust to the college game. But he cracked double-digits seven times from Jan. 26 to the end of the season, hitting 20 once. In that stretch, he averaged 10.5 points per game.
Opposing coaches expect Lo to mitigate the loss of Brian Barbour, who led Columbia with 12.1 points per game last year.
“Was one of the better freshmen last year and should be Columbia’s best scorer and playmaker this year,” one coach said of Lo.
Lo’s first of potentially many double-digit scoring games came against Cornell on Jan. 26. In that game, the Big Red’s Nolan Cressler scored just five points, but the sophomore guard could breakout this year.
Cressler averaged 9.3 points per game and shot 40.3 percent from deep—a coach called him “arguably the best shooter in the league”—and when an injury sidelined Shonn Miller for the last four games of the season, the Pittsburgh native averaged 16.8 points per game.
He matched his career high of 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting against Brown on March 1. His teammates weren’t so lucky, though, as Brown’s Cedric Kuakumensah swatted seven shots as the Bears rolled to a 84-65 victory.
At a long 6-foot-8, Kuakumensah had a very solid freshman season, leading the Ivy League with 2.4 blocks and 7.5 boards per game. He ranked No. 23 nationally in both DR% and Blk%, according to Kenpom, and added 6.9 points per game.
One coach called Kuakumensah a great finisher at the rim, while another said no Ivy League player improved as much as him throughout the course of 2012-13.
Coaches also expect to see improvement from Penn’s Darien Nelson-Henry in the 6-foot-11 forward’s second collegiate season. As a freshman, Nelson-Henry shot 54 percent from the floor for 7.6 points per game and finished second on the team with 4.1 rebounds per game.
He and Fran Dougherty gave Penn one of the league’s better frontcourts, but when Dougherty went down with an injury in the middle of the season, Nelson-Henry proved he could be a future offensive leader for the Quakers.
In a seven-game stretch from Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, Nelson-Henry averaged 13.6 points.
  • The Cornell coaching staff has been updated on the website roster, including the bios of Jon Jaques (Cornell '10) and David Metzendorf.   In addition, Holt Harmon and Jamal Cherry will not play this season.  The decisions by both the students and the program were made in the offseason.  Cherry, a walk-on, will focus his senior year on completing his engineering degree and securing postgraduate plans.  Harmon, who missed most of last season with an injury, wants to focus on academics and the Cornell social life.
  • The annual Cornell Red-White Game will take place on October 19 at 11:30 am.

  • Alex Hill and Manny Sahota, former Cornell Basketball players from Canada, are now teammates at the University of Toronto. Catch glimpses of them in training camp below:


Anonymous said...

Looks like we're losing the player allegedly more skilled than Kevin Love...

So what's up with Shonn? And what about the most highly ranked recruit under Coach C?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Nobody said Holt Harmon was more skilled than Kevin Love. But because you can't read, you interpreted the statement in your own twisted way.

Holt's game is similar to Kevin Love's game and there is a chance he might return to the team down the line. For now, he is taking a break.

With respect to your other questions-- no news to report.

Anonymous said...

Players quit, transfer or decide they don't want to play basketball anymore. Happens everywhere. Every year the D-1 transfer list gets longer and longer. Who cares. It's time for the players who want to be there, who want to play for each other and because they love the game, to rally together and rally behind their coaching staff and move forward together and have fun and win.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Very true.

Jamal was not a recruit. He joined the team midseason as a walk-on. He was last on the bench and is a brilliant student. And now he is a senior. He has more important things to worry about than basketball and wants to enjoy his senior year and land grad school and/or a job.

Holt is really liked by the program. But he was hurt last year and really enjoyed his social experience at Cornell. He made the decision with the program to at least take a break from playing the game. (Playing takes a lot of time and commitment and his heart is just not there) He could return, but for right now, this is best for him. He still lives with the team.

Anonymous said...

CBB accusing people of twisting information is the most hilarious thing I've heard in a long time.

While players leave, there are obviously trends, and it's obvious trends towards increased exodus suggests dissatisfaction with the program and that losses increase when a program struggles. Don't pretend that when there had only been one or two losses in the previous five, six years and then you suddenly lose four guys that it doesn't imply something about the program, and hopefully rather than scoffing at it, Bill Courtney will use it as a period of reflection on what he can change about his performance.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I can tell you as a fact that Cornell's win percentage had nothing to do with the recent player departures.

Alex Hill and Marc Van Burck both left when Cornell was a dominant force.

Galal Cancer, Holt Harmon and Jamal Cherry all left for reasons unrelated to Ws and Ls.

Jamal is a senior. He was not going to play as a walk-on and he understood he could better utilize his senior year experience on academic pursuits. He was never recruited to play at Cornell. His departure was expected and totally understandable.

Holt and Galal are both still at Cornell. Neither has sought an opportunity to play elsewhere. They want to be at Cornell. They simply wanted to be regular Cornell students. Their heart was "not in basketball"--- much the same way that caused guys like Collin Robinson and Marc Van Burck to retire under Steve Donahue.

Cornell has a stellar retention record of players despite a coaching change and 3 years of losing seasons.

Losing fewer than 10 guys over five years is hardly cause for alarm.

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, these oversized IVY rosters are crazy anyway and can have a negative impact on team chemistry. Realize the Ivy's cast a wide net and not commenting on any individual player's decision, but I think the guys at the end of the bench are important to a team and having too many of them has got to be problematic at times.