Two of Bill Courtney's recruits in the sophomore class, Holt Harmon and Nolan Cressler (above) are now no longer with the Cornell Basketball program. They join Galal Cancer, Errick Peck and Manny Sahota as recruited Cornell players to leave the program since 2010-2011, in addition to walk-on Jamal Cherry. Cressler announced his decision to transfer on Thursday.
- We Wear The Ring, a Duquesne blog writes, "Announcement #4: Plum product Nolan Cressler has elected to leave Cornell after leading the bad Big Red team in scoring. Duquesne’s become a soft landing spot for prodigal WPIAL players from Micah Mason to Wayne Capers which has led to a natural speculation of whether or not he could join the Dukes. It’s important to note that he has not officially been linked to the Dukes."
- Cresssler is looking at some national powers, including: Pitt, Vanderbilt, California, Stanford, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Northwestern.
- Jeff Goodman of ESPN writes that Tommy Amaker, "walks the sidelines in semi-obscurity for much of the season, playing against teams such as Brown, Columbia and Cornell."
- Bloomberg writes, "Harvard now will seek to join Cornell’s 2010 squad as just the second Ivy League school to reach the final 16 since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985."
- Jeff Foote (Cornell '10) had 20 points and 21 rebounds last night in the NBA D-League per Nets Daily.
- The Cornell Daily Sun writes:
It is that time of year again: March Madness. Whenever this month rolls around, memories of Cornell’s 2010 Sweet Sixteen team inevitably arise for the Red’s basketball fans. And although the Red will not be represented in the NCAA tournament this year, fans of the program still have something to look forward to. Members of the 2010 team have decided to reunite this June for a competition simply called “The Basketball Tournament.”
The tournament is free for all participants for anyone 18 or older who is willing to forego amateur playing status. It is single elimination, winner-take-all, with a $500,000 prize to be split up among the winning team.
“I think Ryan Wittman [’10] brought it to everyone’s attention because the organizer of the tournament reached out to him,” said current assistant coach for the Red Jon Jaques ’10, former captain of the team that defeated Temple and Wisconsin to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. “We just kind of discussed it as a group. It seems like a pretty fun opportunity, and it kind of just worked out, and everyone thought it would be a fun thing to do.”
The 32 teams in the tournament are accepted based on the number of fans they receive on the organization’s website. The minimum number of fans required in order to make a team eligable to participate is 100 and the last day to become a fan of any given team is May 1. The Sweet Sixteen team currently has 217 fans, sixth most of any of the teams that have entered the tournament so far, and are therefore likely to be accepted.
With more than a month to go before the teams are picked, Jaques said that there have not been any practices planned yet. However, he also acknowledged that with some of the players three years removed from playing competitive basketball, being in top shape is definitely not a guarantee.
“There is a definite concern,” he said, laughing. “Especially because many of the other teams are made up of former professional players. We have some things to catch up on.”
The Top-2 teams in the field right now are the ’Sconnie Legends and the Philly Patriots, both made up of former Division I college players. The Legends hail mainly from Wisconsin, with their biggest threat coming from 7’0” center Paul Grant, who played for Wisconsin and was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1997. The Patriots feature four former University of Virginia players and a forward from Penn, Fran Dougherty, who the Red matched up against in Ivy League play this year.
There are 11 players on the Sweet Sixteen team’s roster right now, including seven-footer Jeff Foote ’10 and point guard Louis Dale ’10, who were both integral to the team’s run four years ago. Foote was a two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, leading the conference in rebounds and finishing second in blocked shots his senior year. Dale led the conference in assists and scored an average of 12.6 points per game in the NCAA Tournament run.
When watching highlights of the team that year, it is apparent that after playing together for four years, the four seniors, Jaques, Dale, Foote and Wittman, played with a chemistry that was unparalleled in the conference.
“Our strength as a team was always our chemistry,” Jaques said. “Hopefully that will overcome some of the basketball shape and other issues we might have.”
When asked if he knew what combination would make up the starting five, Jaques admitted that the team had not discussed it yet. In fact, they have yet to choose someone to patrol the sidelines during the tournament.
“We don’t have a coach yet either, so I think once we get a coach, he might decide that for us,” Jaques said.
As an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team this year, Jaques has extended his Cornell basketball legacy beyond being a member of the Sweet Sixteen team and said he hopes that getting back together with his former teammates will reinforce the storied success of the program.
“Cornell is still a great basketball program. … One bad season doesn’t make the program any less of a program. I fully expect next year that we’ll have a really great season,” Jaques said. “I just think if anything comes out of this, people will see that we were obviously a part of a great time in Cornell basketball history [and that] this is a great basketball program with a lot of rich history.”