Wednesday, November 6, 2013

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Get all the information you need about the Cornell Big Red's season opener at Syracuse, Friday, November 8, 2013 (TV: ACC Sports Network) with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview CenterBelow, news and notes for Wednesday...
  • ESPN3 now has Cornell's games at Louisville and Notre Dame listed.
  • Hoopville gives a very misinformed preview of Cornell:
Cornell Big Red (13-18 overall, 5-9 league)

Projected starting five:

Fr. G JoJo Fallas
Jr. G Devin Cherry
So. G Nolan Cressler
Jr. F Shonn Miller
Jr. F-C Deion Giddens
Important departures:

Among starters, G Miles Asafo-Adjei (2.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.6 apg), G Jonathan Gray (10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.0 apg), F Eitan Chemerinski (5.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and F Errick Peck (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.6 apg) (transferred to Purdue) are gone, along with key reserve Galal Cancer (5.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.7 apg).

47 percent of scoring and 43 percent of rebounding

Fr. G JoJo Fallas
Fr. G Desmond Fleming
Fr. G Robert Hatter
Fr. F David Onourah
Fr. G Darryl Smith
Schedule Highlights:

Six home games are on tap in a tough non-league slate that begins at Syracuse and later includes trips to Louisville, Notre Dame, Stony Brook and St. Bonaventure. Early in league play, they play four straight on the road before coming home for consecutive weekends.
Projected finish and outlook:

Like their fellow New York school, Cornell will look very different this season and it may feel to some like they’re starting over as they lose a lot from last season’s team. Although some of the losses were expected, Cancer’s loss hurts as he projected to be the starting point guard this year and next. As if that’s not enough, reports have indicated that Miller’s shoulder injury late last season has not healed well, and redshirting is a possibility. Now the Big Red must make do with a younger guard crop where the likes of Cressler and Cherry to get better. The Big Red also need some other holdovers to emerge, or else the other freshmen will get chances right away to supplant them. Injuries hurt the early development of a couple of Miller’s potential supporters up front, Holt Harmon and Braxston Bunce, so they will come in a little behind where they could be. Defense is the biggest area for improvement, and from that vantage point it might not be so bad that there is a lot of newness with this team. The Big Red forced some turnovers, but other than that they were a bad defensive team, and with the lack of proven scoring punch on this team even before Miller’s status didn’t get better, improvement at that end of the floor will be even more paramount. In all, the Big Red might be best off long-term if Miller redshirts, but no matter what, it appears that it could be a long season in Ithaca.
This year’s Ivy League race can be summed up very simply: if Harvard does not win, it will be nothing short of a stunning upset. There is more to the league, naturally, but that’s the starting point. 
The Crimson’s story has been well-chronicled to date, so there’s no need to go over the details here. They have an embarrassment of riches that no team in the Ivy has had in a long time, and if they do well in non-league play they could be in the conversation for a high NCAA Tournament seed. The Crimson have a number of players who could contend for All-Ivy honors, and their freshmen are good, too, but won’t get enough minutes or enough of a role this year to have a chance at winning the league’s rookie honor like Siyani Chambers did last year.

Looking beyond Harvard, however, there are plenty of storylines. Princeton is probably their best challenger, but really, the race for third should be great – and even for second as any of these teams could potentially topple Princeton along the way. Penn should be much-improved after being young and ravaged by injuries last season, and they add some good newcomers as well. Brown is clearly on the rise under second-year head coach Mike Martin, as the Bears now have an identity and Sean McGonagill has a lot to work with as they have a solid inside tandem of Rafael Maia and Cedric Kuakumensah, the latter of whom won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman last season. Dartmouth has a few good recruiting classes put together now and could be ready to make a leap. Yale could surprise and be in the mix as well, although losing two key guards that they relied on for a lot is reason for pause. The only two teams not likely to be aiming for that spot are rebuilding Columbia and Cornell, the latter of whom may be without their best player this season.

In any normal year, the race in the Ivy would be exciting. There would be a great deal of anticipation for it as the league is in a good place as a whole. But Harvard simply has too much talent and experience, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Crimson rolled through the league undefeated.

Predicted order of finish

1. Harvard
2. Princeton
3. Penn
4. Brown
5. Dartmouth
6. Yale
7. Columbia
8. Cornell

Player of the Year: Wesley Saunders, Harvard
Top Newcomer: Anthony Dallier, Yale

Preseason All-Conference

T.J. Bray, Sr. G, Princeton
Siyani Chambers, So. G, Harvard
Miles Jackson-Cartwright, Sr. G, Penn
Sean McGonagill, Sr. G, Brown
Wesley Saunders, Jr. G-F, Harvard
This is the inaugural edition of a new blog by Barry Leonard, the official Voice of the Big Red. During the season, Barry will share the insights and wisdom he has gathered over many years of broadcasting Cornell basketball games near and far.
After finally joining social media two years ago on Twitter, I have finally taken the next step and will attempt to become a Big Red Blogger. When Ted Caldwell approached me a year ago about writing a blog on Big Red Basketball I was a bit hesitant. One year later I have taken the plunge, and hope you find these pearls of prose both entertaining and informative.

It is hard for me to believe another basketball season is now upon us! For myself this will be my 22nd year broadcasting Cornell Basketball, having worked with five coaches now and countless, dedicated athletes! In fact, the December 7th home contest against St. Francis will be my 1000th Cornell Broadcast overall since I first began back in 1982, with well over 50 percent of those games calling Big Red hoops.

There is no question the season will be a huge test for Coach Courtney and his team come year four of his tenure. The non-league schedule is daunting, but since I have known Bill, that is the way he wants it! It will certainly toughen up the squad for the 14 game Ivy league schedule. Expect the freshman class to get major minutes on the floor, while Nolan Cressler in particular will challenge for All-Ivy honors this year. Along with Devin Cherry the Red will have an athletic and exciting backcourt to watch!

My main focus of this first Blog is to look back at the many talented players I have had the chance to watch/broadcast over the decades. I first began going to CU games as a Ithaca College Freshman in 1976. So doing some quick math, that is just under 40 years of seeing Big Red Basketball. Rather than go one by one, I have put together my All-Time Big Red hoop teams over that time. Please keep in mind this is strictly my choices, and excludes many great players I did not see or broadcast such as Chuck Rolles, Louis Jordan, Greg Morris, Steve Cram, Walt Esdaile and the rebounder deluxe Gary Munson. I am sure I am missing others, but I have been asked over the years to come up with an all-time team.

So here they are, my all-time Big Red teams...
Barry's first Team
Forward: Ryan Wittman - Need I say more? The purest shooter and all-time leading scorer.
Forward: Ken Bantum - CU's first ever Ivy Player of the Year could shoot, rebound and pass.
Center: Jeff Foote - A Cinderella story come true. Anchored 3 Ivy title teams in the middle.
Guard: Louis Dale - Player of the Year as a Soph, breathtaking moves on the floor.
Guard: John Bajusz - A pure scorer, the "Juice" was money in crunch time.

Second Team
Forward: Mike Davis - Instant Offense, 1400 career points - could score with the best.
Forward: Ray Mercedes - Another unstoppable offense talent - had a flair for the dramatic.
Center: Shonn Miller- Technically a forward, he can play anywhere - a defensive stopper.
Guard:Ka'ron Barnes- Athletic and a crowd pleaser - Steve Donahue's first great star.
Swing:Drew Martin- Most underrated player in the Ivy, did everything well.

Honorable Mention
Lenny Collins - 1000 plus scorer, peaked as a junior - could shoot, rebound and pass.
Mike Lucas - Great leaper and crowd pleaser - came of age under Tom Miller.
Chris Wroblewski - All time assist leader - got the most out of his ability.
Andrew Naeve - "Big Game" came of age his last two years - self made player.
Adam Gore - Injuries denied him 4 full years - gritty, tough, leader on the floor.
Eric Taylor - My broadcast partner - 1000 pt scorer, 3 time captain, 57% career shooter.

All Defensive
Jeff Foote - Two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year - dominated the Ancient 8.
Jeffrion Aubry - Defense was his calling card - 191 career blocks.
Shonn Miller - At 6-7 he is a rare combination of speed, quickness and jumping ability.
Wolfgang Florin - Key cog in the 1988 Ivy title team, lock-down defender.
Jason Battle - Unselfish and always guarded the toughest 3 or 4 man on the floor.
Geoff Reeves - Sacrificed his individual game for the team, brilliant on-ball defender.

All final "shot" team ( In no particular order - you wanted the ball in their hands)
Ryan Wittman
John Bajusz
Adam Gore

All Hustle Squad
Andrew Naeve
David Lisle
Greg Gilda
Alex Tyler

So there you have it. I am sure each of you have your own choices and I know I am probably missing a few here and there but you can only list so many.
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 Adam Gore (Cornell '09).
  • Cornell Basketball will host Alumni and Friends Weekend from December 6-8. Included will be a Friday evening reception, Saturday's game against Saint Francis (Pa.) and a postgame reception, then Sunday's annual alumni game.  During halftime of the St. Francis game, Cornell will honor its championship teams from 1953-1954 and 2008-2009. 

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