Friday, March 21, 2014

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, news and notes for Friday...

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."
  • 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." 
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.”­­­


Anonymous said...

Hoping Foote gets the NBA shot he deserves from his recent play. I'm a Nets season ticket holder and fan, so I watch them a lot, and here's the deal:

1. Kirilenko sucks.
2. Jason Collins suck.

Foote would be a better addition than both of those guys out there. The only thing Kirilenko has going for him is he's been with the team from the start. So, he knows the system. Yet, despite this knowledge he is often the worst player on the court.

Second, Foote is 110% better than Jason Collins. The guy is flat footed and doesn't know what is going on half the time and racks up foul after foul.

If the Nets could just cut one of them, Foote would be a great addition to their roster. He could just go in for 1-2 minute stints at the end of quarters to provide some rest.

Rooting for you Foote!

Anonymous said...

Has a decision been made on whether BC will remain the coach?

Could Nolan know the answer to this and thus it played a role in his decision to leave?

Runningpie said...

These Courtney photos are starting to give me nightmares. Reminds me of scary clowns at the circus. Anyway to read the blog without them popping up?

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd weight in on Nolan's impending departure here (as opposed to yesterday's post) so my comments don't get lost in the swarm of vitriol...

This is absolutely DEVASTATING news. Saying goodbye to Cancer was one thing, but to lose your best perimeter shooter?

There must be profound dissent in the locker room for him to have even considered such a move. It's time that Courtney was shown the door. He inherited such a favorable recruiting environment that his success was virtually guaranteed. Now players are defecting left and right.

Who'll be the next to leave?

Anonymous said...

Only excuse I can see for Noel not firing Courtney is that it's too costly somehow.

Now way can the "having patience until Courtney builds his system" excuse be what's up.

I think Courtney's plan was "recruit really athletic players who will win by outrunning opponents". Even this year he kept saying that this strategy could eventually work in the league. But it's been four years and all he's produced so far are cupcake teams.

Maybe it's a good strategy in theory, but I don't think it can compensate for failing to develop fundamentals and having poor x's and o's.

He had Peck, Cancer, Miller, Gray, and Cressler last year, and even if you don't count the last 4 games, they were still the worst Cornell team since 2003.

All this talk of "wait til he has this player and that player" is misguided and futile.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

It is a money issue.

Bill is entering year 5 of a 5 year deal. Cornell can't afford to eat the 5th year (hundreds of thousands) simply because we are losing. Our Athletic Budget is not big enough to eat those costs. No Ivy can do it.

The only way Cornell can exit early is if there is some egregious conduct giving the University causation to terminate the contract.

There is no cause here.

Cornell could ask Bill to walk away, but why would he? And if he did... he'd want some type of major payment.

Frankly, I just don't see how Cornell can get out of a contract simply because we are losing. And I don't see how this University's limited Athletic Budget can eat several hundred grand.

Anonymous said...

That is slightly ridiculous. It's basically saying that a coach can be so bad you can't fire him.

Bad coach --> no ticket sales --> no happy alumni donations --> no money --> can't fire bad coach.

We don't pay coaches much more than $100K/yr anyway. You'd think they cared enough about student athletes and student fan experience to afford that. This just shows that they really do not care about the basketball team.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about BigRed losing its best player is just overrated. This past season no doubt the most productive scorer was Nolan Cressler. As one Poster put it, are best Perimeter Shooter! If we could let us look at the numbers. Cressler led BigRed in scoring and was 3rd in Rebounding.

On the other hand Devin Cherry was 2nd in Scoring, 1st in assist, 2nd in Rebounding and 1st in steals not to mention in top ten in Conference in Assist to Turnover ratio. Last I checked he is presently on the Roster!

What we have lost is are best perimeter shooter but I hear we have a couple of Snipers in the Pipeline for next year not to mention a legit wingman.

So why don't we just support what we do have and let the young Mr. Cressler move forward. Oh, by the way isn't the ANCHOR for this team coming back next year also, WELCOME BACK SHONN you were surely missed!

This team still has a core group of individuals with great promise even if Cressler is no longer here. Truly a lost, but not a Death Blow as one would think by reading the Blog Post and Twitter.

Lets go BigRed!!!!!!! with you until the End!

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Oh, you are very wrong on the salary.

The Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Men's Basketball (an endowed position) makes some cash that is competitive with most mid majors.

Anonymous said...

Extremely disappointed in Andy Noel.

When Donahue left, Mr. Noel assured recruits, players, alums, donors and supporters of the men's basketball program that he clearly understood how much was at stake and how important it was to make the right hire. He had a successful blueprint to work from, and even commissioned a book about that blueprint, but then he promptly deviated from it.

Worse, he gave a complete unknown with no head coaching experience a 5 year contractual commitment?? Did he really have to promise 5 years to get a complete unknown to take the reins of a program that had just reached the Sweet 16??

He has also demonstrated little concern for the men's program since. He has attended some home games (except for the last home weekend when he could have at least thanked the seniors), but I doubt he understands anything about in-game coaching.

Amazing how one decision can affect so many.

Anywhere other than the world of academia, accountability would start with him.

Anonymous said...

I think that CBB is correct about Courtney's salary.

I think that all the Ivy coaches probably make between $150,000 and $250,000 a year, with the exception of Amaker who makes between $800,000 and $1 million per.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Princeton hauls in Myles Stephens for 2015. Had an early offer from Seton Hall and interest from high majors.

We're losing games on the court, players to transfer, and the recruiting game in general to the other Ivies.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Cornell had ZERO interest in Myles Stephens. With the exception of Seton Hall, the only schools involved with him were Patriots and Ivies.

Amaker's salary is not reported, but it is believed to be the same as the other Ivy coaches (in the 200-350 range). But he also received an enhancement from the Friends of Harvard Basketball, which upon information and belief, brings him to the 700-750 range. He's not at $900K which is what most BCS teams pay. But he could get that this year if the Friends are forced to up his comp.

Anonymous said...

Stephens had interest from a ton of mid majors including Drexel, Delaware, William and Mary, and he was getting heavy interest from Northwestern. Can't blame the kid for staying home, he can walk to campus!

Anonymous said...

Amaker's base salary is irrelevant insofar as the majority of his compensation comes from the Friends of Harvard Basketball. If the money the Friends pay him is green, it counts.

And if BC comes after Amaker hard, I suspect Tom Stemberg and his Friends will open their wallets even wider to keep Amaker in town. Well, on their side of town at least. And if Amaker gets his second raise in three years, he'll feel even more empowered to dip for low AI kids. That formula is working for NCAA bids and new contracts so why would he stop?