- NBC Sports writes:
Shonn Miller missed the final four games of the 2012-13 season with a shoulder injury. Despite having the summer months to get healthy, the same shoulder continues to nag Miller, and there’s a strong chance he will miss the entire 2013-14 season.From Cornell’s preseason prospectus which was released last week: “…[R]eturning first-team All-Ivy League forward Shonn Miller continues to recover from an injury that has left him sidelined throughout the preseason.”Miller is a menace on both ends of the floor and a real stat-stuffer. In fact, Miller accomplished something that only one other player in college basketball did last season:It’s easy to see what a game-changing type of player Miller is and how important he is to the success of Cornell; he was named to the First Team All-Ivy in 2012-13 and the Rookie of the Year in 2011-12. In fact, the Big Red lost the final four games of last season with Miller watching from the sidelines.Given the recurring injury and the fact he has missed practices, it is almost a certainty that Miller will miss the non-conference portion of Cornell’s schedule. Based upon reports from the Cornell Basketball Blog, there’s a strong chance Miller will miss the entire season:Embarking on his fourth season at Cornell, Bill Courtney has yet to finish above .500, and if he was to have any shot at eclipsing that mark, Miller needed to be healthy for season. However, Courtney is bringing in some highly touted recruits, and should have a team that will be in line to contend for the Ivy League title in 2015-16, especially if Miller elects to redshirt and return for two more seasons.Hypothetically speaking, if Cornell looked like a true contender in the Ivy Legaue this season, perhaps Miller would try and return once league play begins. Yet, with the next two seasons shaping up as good ones for Cornell, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Miller redshirts for 2013-14 and has two years left of eligibility remaining.While losing Miller is devastating for the coming season, it actually may work to Cornell’s advantage in subsequent seasons.
- City of Basketball Love predicts the Ivy and writes:
8. Cornell (13-18, 5-9 Ivy)
Coach: Bill Courtney–4th season, 35-52 (.402)
Starters Returning: 3
Key Loss(es): Jonathan Gray (10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Errick Peck (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Eitan Chemerinski (5.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Name to Know: Nolan Cressler. The Pittsburgh native and Plum HS graduate was a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week honoree and finished fourth on the team with a 9.3 ppg scoring average. His .403 mark from 3-point range was tops on the team, as were his 54 made 3-pointers, and at 6-4 he’s got great size for a perimeter player. He closed the season strong, averaging 15.0 ppg over the final six games even when factoring in a one-point performance against Princeton.
The Skinny: Cornell would have been the fifth overall team in our preseason rankings were they fully healthy. Alas, it seems that junior Shonn Miller’s shoulder could keep him out for the entire season; the 6-7 forward averaged 11.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg, to go along with 1.9 spg and 1.9 bpg as an all-around force. Without him, the Big Red will have to replace its top three scorers and a lot of size inside; the player 6-6 or taller with the most returning experience is senior Dwight Tarwater, who scored 1.6 ppg in 6.7 mpg last year.
- City of Basketball also writes:
Though CoBL knows quite a bit about the Ivy League, we admit that there are some who know the league better–namely, the coaches in the league itself. So we called up a number of assistant coaches from several schools within the Ancient Eight, to get their thoughts on the teams they would be competing with in the 14-game round-robin competition for the league’s NCAA Tournament berth.
(Note: Each “…” separates one coaches’ thoughts from another’s, and they’re all in random order. For the CoBL/BAB Ivy League primer, click here)...
Cornell Big Red
“To be honest, I think they’re in a little bit of disarray. If they’re losing [Shonn Miller], that’s a disaster. They’ve already lost a bunch of other guys that were pieces for them…Cornell lost a lot of guys, they’re going to struggle this year…Not having Shonn Miller, having a first-team guy sit out the whole year, I think they could struggle as well. Along with Columbia, Cornell might be the biggest unknown in the league…Cornell is always tough because they play a little bit of a different style than the rest of the league. It’s always hard to score against them.”
- Per the Asbury Park Press, Boston College received a verbal commitment yesterday and writes:
[B.C. commit, Matt] Farrell already had upwards of two dozen offers when Boston College head coach Steve Donahue and associate head coach Nat Graham paid a visit to Point Beach for an open gym in early September. The Eagles had already been heavily involved with 6-foot-8 Garnet Gulls wing Dominique Uhl, who wound up pledging to Iowa earlier this month.Donahue and Graham came away impressed with Farrell, who fit the mold of the tough, heady, high-IQ guards they had at Cornell before arriving at Boston College prior to the 2010-11 season. With those type of players, Donahue coached the Big Red to a 29-5 record and berth in the Sweet 16 in 2010.
- Big Apple Buckets predicts the Ivy League and writes:
8) Cornell (13-18, 5-9 Ivy League) – Even before the news that Shonn Miller might miss the entire season, the Big Red were already paper thin upfront. Losing Miller to injury and veteran forward Errick Peck to Purdue has left Cornell undermanned in the paint. The focus then has quickly shifted to building for 2014-15, when Miller will presumably healthy and Cornell’s young guards will have another season of valuable experience under their belts. Expect to see Nolan Cressler, Devin Cherry and Galal Cancer to get even more opportunities to make their mark this season. The Big Red though need to figure out how to contain teams on the defensive end. This is where the loss of Miller (and his excellent block and steal rates) might have the biggest impact. Cornell allowed the worst effective field goal percentage in conference play at 55.4% last season. If it’s that bad again this could be a long season Bill Courtney’s crew.
- Harvard alum, Mike James, predicts the Ivy League race for The 14-Game Tournament Blog and writes:
Cornell - 92 ORAT, 104 DRAT; 0.2127 Pythag; No. 299 Nationally
For a brief, fleeting moment, the Big Red had everything for which to play. At 5-3 in the Ivies, with four of its final six at home, it had reason to believe it could hang around in the title chase. At 13-12 overall, it needed just a .500 finish to be eligible for the postseason for the first time since making it to the Sweet 16 in 2010.
Then, Penn launched a 24-9 second-half run to hand the Big Red its fourth Ivy loss, and everything unraveled quickly from there. Point guard Galal Cancer, who had been struggling offensively himself but demonstrably pushed Shonn Miller and Nolan Cressler's ORAT/DRAT lineup splits much higher, left the team, and Miller, Devin Cherry and Johnathan Gray couldn't complete the season due to injury.
The result was a six-game losing streak, and despite that being in the past, it's what has been carried forward to the present that has done the most damage. Cancer never returned to the team, senior swingman Errick Peck chose to play as a graduate at Purdue rather than take a fifth undergraduate season, and Miller's injury will likely keep him out for the entire 2013-14 season. That leaves Cressler, Cherry and senior guard Dom Scelfo as the only three returning players to see more than 10 percent of team minutes for Cornell last season.
Cressler has the makings of an offensive star, as his top Ivy comps are to the freshman and sophomore seasons of Ryan Wittman and Laurent Rivard. The Big Red was clearly better off with him on the floor than off, as Cornell posted a 104 ORAT and 105 DRAT with Cressler on court versus a 93 ORAT and 107 DRAT with him on the bench. Digging deeper, however, things get a little bit troubling. Cressler spent almost 60 percent of his possessions on court with Miller. On those possessions, the Big Red posted splits of 109 ORAT and 94 DRAT. In the other 40 percent of Cressler's on floor possessions, the Big Red had an ORAT of 98 and a DRAT of 119.
Wading into the world of small samples is a dangerous game, but looking at Cressler and Cherry together with and without Miller, an even more stark difference occurs. In 330 Cressler-Cherry possessions, Cornell scored and allowed 1.01 points per possession (101 ORAT and DRAT). In the 119 of those possessions that didn't include Miller, the Big Red scored 0.89 points per trip while yielding 1.29. To put that in perspective, the worst team in Division I last season (Grambling St.) scored 0.76 points per possession while allowing 1.21.
Some of that might fall on the shoulders of Cherry, who took a boatload of shots but struggled to score from everywhere on the floor. He took 40 percent of his shots at the rim and made just 44 percent of those tries, while 31 percent of his shots were two-point jumpers and he made just 28 percent of those. There might be room for growth in his jumper strike rate, both inside the arc and outside it, but finishing at the rim tends to be a more consistent skill. That's where Cherry needs to show what would be relatively surprising improvement if he ever wants to be an efficient scorer.
Including sophomore center Braxston Bunce, Cornell has brought in a deep class of six rookies to plug some of the holes left by the loss of four starters and three more rotation players. While the extra experience might serve these players well down the road, the issue of today is a scary one. The Big Red will either have to start a lightly used senior or one of four completely unrrated freshman recruits at the point, and have no players above 6'6 who have ever seen more than 12 percent of team minutes in a single season. At least in the post, Cornell has both Bunce and freshman David Onuorah, who each come in with solid interest from quality Division I programs. That being said, the list of successful rookie post players in the Ivy League isn't exactly a long one (only of the 167 players over 6'7 to see some time as freshman since 1997, only 12 have seen 50 or more percent of team minutes).
The result is likely to be an incredibly ugly season for the Big Red, and it's not one that having Miller would have necessarily fixed. If the rookie bigs are as good as advertised, and Cornell can find a serviceable point guard, the Big Red might be able to forge some hope from this lost season, but the odds are against even that beacon serving as a silver lining to an otherwise forgettable campaign.
- Recruit Recon predicts the Ivy League and writes:
With the 2013-2014 Men's Hoop Season ready to kick-off, with official games starting in less than 3 weeks we have complied our Ivy League pre-season predictions. This conference looks to be wide open with many returning starters top to bottom. Harvard once again lands on top of the Ivy League. Yale, Princeton and Cornell are our sleepers for the Ivy.
2013-2014 Ivy League Predictions
Ivy League All Conference First Team
Sean McGonagil, 6'1'' G Brown
Miles Cartwright, 6'3'' G Pennsylvania
T.J. Bray, 6'5'' G Princeton
Shonn Miller, 6'7'' F Cornell
Wesley Saunders, 6'5'' F Harvard
Ivy League All Newcomer Team
Zena Edosomwan, 6'9'' F Harvard
Hunter Myers, 6'7'' F Harvard
Anthony Dallier, 6'6'' F Yale
Tony Bagtas, 5'11'' G Pennsylvania
Conor Voss, 7'1'' C Columbia
Ivy League Player of the Year
Wesley Saunders, Harvard