Thursday, October 17, 2013

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, news and notes for Thursday...

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  • From Dave Paulsen at Bucknell to NBC Sports on mid major success in the NCAA Tournament, "A lot of it also has to do going back to 2005 and 2006 with Bucknell beating Kansas and Arkansas, and then you have Cornell making a run and Davidson making a run, and Lehigh and Harvard winning games. If you just look at the last eight to ten years, you have wins from two different schools in the Patriot League and Ivy League. I don’t think ten years ago anyone thought that was a possibility."
  • Ricky Yahn is mentioned in The Times Leader, which writes, "Ricky Yahn, the ex-Wheeling Jesuit standout is in his first season at NAIA Concordia University, located in Ann Arbor. Most recently, Yahn was an assistant coach at Longwood University. He's also had stints at Cornell University, as video coordinator at George Mason and at Saint Vincent College. At George Mason, Yahn worked under current University of Miami head coach Jim Larranaga."
Men's Basketball 2013-14 Season Outlook 
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Every year, college basketball fans across the country spend months talking about what their favorite team will look like with newcomers and players establishing themselves in new roles. It takes time for a team to establish its identity.

Count Cornell head coach Bill Courtney among those people. He can't wait to see what his team looks like two months from now. He can't wait to see what his squad will look two weeks from now. What Courtney knows is that his team won't look like last year's squad.

The loss of starters Miles Asafo-Adjei, Eitan Chemerinski, Johnathan Gray and Errick Peck leaves a leadership void, but creates plenty of opportunities for others. Also gone to graduation are Josh Figini and Peter McMillan, while Galal Cancer has also left the team. In addition, returning first-team All-Ivy League forward Shonn Miller continues to recover from an injury that has left him sidelined throughout the preseason. He continues his rehab with the hope of returning for the 2013-14 campaign.

While four regular starters are gone, which would sound like an insurmountable obstacle, Courtney will have a number of players in uniform to build around. Leading the way are sophomore Nolan Cressler and junior Devin Cherry, along with Miller if healthy.

Miller was on the short list of the league's most dominant players after averaging 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks in 27 starts. Those numbers don't begin to demonstrate his impact on games, however. He led the Ivy League in defensive rebounding (5.5 pe, per game) and was third in blocks and second in steals. Miller joined Ivy League Player of the Year Ian Hummer of Princeton as the conference's only players to rank in the top 10 in the Ancient Eight in scoring, rebounding blocks and steals. His ability to guard all five positions makes him on of the most versatile defenders in the conference in many years. Miller has been a crowd favorite since the 2011-12 Ivy League Rookie of the Year stepped on campus and can change the game on both ends of the court.

Cressler will attempt to build on a strong rookie season that saw him rank among the team's leading scorers (9.3 ppg.) and the league's top distance shooters (.403 3-point percentage with a team-high 54 treys). Not only does he have the ability to stretch defenses with his range, but he also has a solid mid-range offensive game that includes an array of floaters and pull-ups. An outstanding rebounder from the guard position, he averaged nearly four rebounds per game at 6-4. The two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week exploded onto the scene with 20 points in a win over Western Michigan in his collegiate debut and closed strong by averaging 15.0 points over the team's final six games of the season.

Cherry is a dynamic player with the ball in his hands and was instant offense off the bench for the Big Red a year ago. He now moves into more of a central role after averaging 6.2 points per game as a reserve. Cherry hit for double figures seven times on the year and had broken into the starting lineup before missing the final four games of his sophomore season with an injury. Though he has a scorer's mentality, Cherry is fully capable of running the offense from either guard position and has emerged as an off-court leader for the Big Red.

Miller is the Big Red's top rebounder and shot blocker. His ability to score without having plays called for him thanks to his offensive rebounding, and also is strong and athletic enough to finish emphatically around the rim. Miller isn't the only big man expected to make an impact this season.
Dwight Tarwater, 2010-11
Senior forward Dwight Tarwater
Small forward Dwight Tarwater looked like a good bet to have a breakthrough season a year ago before injury and circumstances derailed his campaign. Back and stronger than ever, Tarwater enters his senior season primed for that breakout, only a year later. He scored a career-high 11 points in 19 minutes of action at Boston University with three 3-pointers in the loss and was set to join the starting lineup after the holiday break before missing more than a month after a death in the family. He packs a versatile offensive repertoire and good size, strength and maturity on the floor. He can also play either forward position when needed.

Three junior big men will attempt to establish themselves as consistent rotation players. Deion Giddens is a rebounder and rim protector as an athletic 6-9 post, while Dave LaMore is a high-energy player who can step out and hit a perimeter jumper on offense and knock people off the block defensively. The third, 6-7 Ned Tomic, can play in the high post or score down low. He can bring a defender outside to hit the midrange jumper.

In the last four games of the 2012-13 campaign, Giddens earned significant time and delivered 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in just 12.8 minutes per game. LaMore has played in 29 games over his first two seasons and has the confidence and experience to join the lineup. He is a strong rebounder and a big presence on both sides of the court. Tomic has always been able to put the ball in the basket and has improved defensively in each of his first two years. He had eight points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes of play a year ago, but is expected to challenge for court time as a junior.

Big 6-11 center Braxston Bunce will be another candidate in the post after missing his entire freshman campaign due to injury. A former member of the Canadian Under-19 national team, he is a skilled big man on the offensive end who can score with his back to the basket or step out for a midrange jumper. He will need some time to adjust to the speed of the collegiate game after missing his entire rookie season.

The only newcomer in the frontcourt is expected to make an impact on the lineup. Freshman David Onuorah brings supreme athleticism and strength to the table and will be asked to be a dynamic defender and rebounder. His ability to run the floor from the power forward and center make him unique, allowing him to score in transition and also defend the rim at the other end. Though not a polished offensive player at this point in his career, he has shown the touch around the rim that will allow him to develop quickly in that area as well.

While Cherry and Cressler will likely see significant minutes, everyone in the backcourt will have a chance to contribute in 2013-14.
Dominick Scelfo, 2012-13 at Duke
Senior guard Dominick Scelfo
Besides Cressler and Cherry, the only other regular returning who averaged at least 5.0 points per game is senior guard Dominick Scelfo, who averaged 5.1 points as a long-range sniper off the bench. The 6-3 guard ranked among the team leaders in 3-pointers made and steals while playing in 28 games with seven starts. He emerged as a key cog off the bench a year ago and his confidence with the ball and ability to keep defenses honest will make him an important part of the rotation.

The third member of the senior trio is guard Jake Matthews, who has missed each of the last two seasons due to injuries. He started 11 games as a freshman, recording six points and three rebounds at Harvard and a career-best 10 points in a victory over Dartmouth. Though a scoring guard who can knock down shots from the perimeter, he also has the ability to slide over to the point and run the offense for stints.

Freshmen Darryl Smith and Robert Hatter open camp with the ability to immediately step into the lineup with their all-around games. Smith is an exceptional athlete who excelled in football and track as well as basketball in high school. He can swing back and forth between the backcourt positions. Hatter is a pure point guard who can distribute and defend at a high level and proved to be an excellent scorer as well in high school.

Sophomore Robert Mischler and freshmen JoJo Fallas and Desmond Fleming will provide depth in the backcourt while trying to break through into the rotation. Mischler is an excellent shooter with range who can slide between the backcourt positions, while Fallas can score from deep or off the dribble. Fleming is a defensive whiz whose athleticism and strength will allow him to compete for a spot. All three have had strong fall camps.

The Big Red has earned a reputation for taking on all comers, but the 2013-14 schedule will be unprecedented even for them. Matchups with a pair of 2013 NCAA Final Four teams, including a road game at defending national champion Louisville, highlight a 28-game schedule.

In all, Cornell will meet seven opponents who won at least 20 games a year and four that won 25 or more contests. The Big Red will play eight games against seven different squads that advanced to postseason a year ago, including five games against NCAA teams.

The Big Red's 13 Division I non-conference opponents posted a cumulative .516 win percentage in 2012-13, with three of their foes entering the year as the regular season conference or division champions (Louisville - Big East, Stony Brook - America East, Western Michigan - Mid-America West).

Cornell opens the campaign at local foe Syracuse, a 2013 NCAA semifinalist. The game will be the first for the Orange in their inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim and his squad. It will be the Big Red's first trip to the Carrier Dome since 2010, when No. 8/7 Syracuse topped the Big Red 78-58 for their 33rd consecutive win in the series.

Two days later, Courtney's squad begins its 13-game home schedule with a game against 2013 CIT participant and 23-game winner Loyola (Md.) under first year head coach G.G. Smith. It is the Greyhounds' first season in the Patriot League. A contest against Central New York rival Binghamton is scheduled to Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Newman Arena.

A two-game road trip opens with a visit to defending national champion Louisville on Friday, Nov. 15. The Cardinals won the Big East a season ago and finished the season 35-5 under Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino. Louisville returns three starters and its entire bench, along with introducing a recruiting class ranked among the nation's top 10.

After a visit to Central New York rival Colgate on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Cornell will return home for consecutive home games against Siena on Friday, No. 22 and Radford on Monday, Nov. 25.

The day after Thanksgiving, Cornell will visit Western Michigan on Nov. 29 as part of a two-game midwest road trip that also includes a visit to 2013 NCAA participant Western Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 1. The following Saturday, Cornell will close out the semester with a home game against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Cornell will have a 15-day break for final exams before returning to action on Sunday, Dec. 22 when it visits defending America East champion and 2013 NIT participant Stony Brook, another 25-game winner a year ago. That game begins a three-game road trip that continues at St. Peter's on Saturday, Dec. 28 after the holidays, and ends with a visit to St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Jan. 4.

The Big Red will play its annual game against a Division III opponent against Oberlin on Saturday, Jan. 11.

A brutal Ivy League schedule awaits Cornell, who will play five of its first six contests on the road. The Big Red visits Columbia on Jan. 18, then hosts the return trip on Jan. 25 at Newman Arena. Other highlights include a home game against defending Ivy champion Harvard on Saturday, Feb. 15, and Senior Day against Penn on Saturday, March 8.


br2 said...

That's where I said no one that has surgery comes back at 100%. You basically said that I was wrong and he's "expected to be fine." And then asked If I would care to change my opinion.

I would still like to not change my opinion as he sits out the season.

Would you like to change yours?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Whoa. Hold your horses. You are assuming a lot of things.

And I stand by exactly what I wrote way back when.

Do you know Shonn's health status?

What if, just what if, I told you he's 98.5% healthy and would be able to come back 5 games into the season... if he wanted to?

Did you ever think that the a red-shirt season is motivated by other factors (i.e., not health but benefits for Shonn and Cornell to have him 2 full years down the line rather than this season)?

I am not at all worried about Shonn's health and neither is Cornell.

Fact is, Shonn playing this season at anything less than 105% would be a wasteful season.

Harvard unfairly loaded itself up. Other Ivies would be best advised to do the same, use red-shirts. Cornell is doing it. And it is smart.

br2 said...

Well, let's be pedantic about it and say that 98.5% is still and always will be less than 100%.

Next, as much as I love Cornell, bending the rules, even when others do, is a horribly poor area to be putting yourself in. No one is guaranteed a fifth year. We're taking a gamble on this one. Regardless of if it is a gamble with a 99.99% success rate or with a 50% success rate, it's still not guaranteed.

Also, if we want people to start red-shirting to gain a competitive advantage, why don't we just start encouraging post grad years for all of our recruits? Can a booster pay for one of those since the student isn't in college yet?

Harvard is a POS and allowing Casey and Curry to play is a huge disgrace to the university and 100% not in spirit with the league's rules. Doesn't mean we have to be a slightly less POS and withhold a guy who only needs to miss 5 games.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Your response again is filled with some mistaken assumptions (as well as facts). And I can't address them all.


Cornell is not bending any rules. Miller would use the 5th year because of a medical basis. He should not have to play a season if his body is not 100% right.

Casey and Curry are using a 5th year because they cheated on an exam (which violates the core principal of the Ivy: STUDENT-athlete.

The situations are not even close.

5th years are guaranteed in the Ivy League. You get the year if the paperwork is submitted. You only need to submit the medical documentation and present your affidavit of academic purpose. These are EASY hurdles. The Ivy does not judge your papers and assess if you are sick enough or if you second major is not rigorous enough. It is a rubber stamp.

Posting kids in postgrad programs would not help. It would allow other schools to recruit them.

br2 said...

Postgrad comment = facetious.

There is no question that if he is eligible to play 5 games in, we are holding him back for competitive, advantage not out of necessity.

Will he come back next year healthier, older, and stronger? Yes. Is that awesome? Yes. Are we fudging the rules of the system? Yes.

Regarding "He should not have to play a season if his body is not 100% right." He doesn't have to play any seasons. He goes to Cornell as a student first, athlete second. Is he taking the entire academic year off also? You stated one has to prove one needs a fifth year academically as well to come back? If he was not injured, he'd play this year and be at Cornell for 4 seasons. If he's 98% healthy, this should be a complete academic year for him.

I like Miller and I love Cornell basketball, but I can't ignore how this seems like we are bending the rules and becoming the Harvard that we hated with Casey and Curry.

Your response is riddled with subjectivity as usual. How can you not even acknowledge the parallels between the two situations?

Quit being a homer apologist for all things Cornell and really look at what's going on now.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Casey and Curry VOLUNTARILY cheated on an exam by their own conduct. Casey and Curry VOLUNTARILY withdrew from school to miss an entire season for the sole purpose of preserving athletic eligibility.

Shonn Miller was INVOLUNTARILY injured. Shonn Miller will INVOLUNTARILY miss at least some games this season. Shonn Miller is a student in an Ivy League student-athlete in good standing at Cornell and had his athletic season of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 impeded by the foregoing INVOLUNTARY acts.

There is no parallel. There is no comparison.

Red-Shirts do provide advantages in sports (they are in essence a "do over," but Cornell is not bending rules, they are taking advantage of lawful rules.

Harvard bent Ivy rules out of shape to the point of snapping them in half.

No Ivy has ever granted a 5th year to a student-athlete busted of violating an honor code.

br2 said...

"Red-Shirts do provide advantages in sports (they are in essence a "do over," but Cornell is not bending rules, they are taking advantage of lawful rules."

I agree, but this is such a fine line we/ivy/Cornell crosses.

"Harvard bent Ivy rules out of shape to the point of snapping them in half."

Agreed. It's deplorable. Not just from an Athletic department standpoint, but University as well.

Thanks for spirited open debate. Looks like we agreed on some stuff. I get where you're coming from with all of your points. I'm just worried we are walking a fine line between right/wrong using the red-shirt (if it only impedes 5 games) and am worried we will not win the gamble Harvard has with the 5th year.

Anonymous said...


Please, please do not fall into the trap of thinking or saying that bending the rules is more acceptable just because Harvard does it.

We've got to be true to principles of sportsmanship and fair play. That's easier to do when everybody else is following the ideals. It's hard, sometimes very hard, to keep doing the right thing when somebody else is pushing the envelope and take advantage of loopholes.

Harvard abuses the rules to its benefit, granted. That sucks for everybody else who's trying to win fair and square. Don't rationalize or justify doing the same thing just because somebody else started it.

If Shonn can play but he's taking the year off to avoid "wasting" a season of eligibility when Harvard is a prohibitive favorite, that's starting down a slippery slope we shouldn't be on.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

What does "can play" even mean?

Shonn has medical advice advising a certain recovery period.

"Can Shonn play" earlier and ignore medical advice? Maybe.

Can Shonn be extra cautious and in GOOD FAITH take a year so his body fully heals? Absolutely.

Fact is, Shonn was definitely injured, he had a surgery, he did not play in summer leagues, and he is taking as much time as he wants/needs to get his body right.

This is a similar situation to Derrick Rose.

Cornell and Shonn are doing everything legitimate and for the best interests of all involved.

Casey and Curry left school for 1 reason and only 1 reason... to save eligibility. They were healthy and able to play last year.

They made a purely tactical choice arising after committing a voluntary academic fraud.