Tuesday, March 18, 2014

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Tuesday...

  • The Pittsburgh Tribune notes, "Cornell-Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler (Plum) was an All-Ivy League honorable mention selection after his second year as a starter. He averaged 16.8 points (fourth most in the Ivy League), 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Big Red (2-26). Cressler has 757 points in two seasons."
  • Badger 247 writes, "A 4-seed again in 2010, Wisconsin was eliminated in the Round of 32 by a hot shooting and 12-seed Cornell squad." 
  • On the East Region, City of Basketball Love writes, "Harvard has the best shot of the lower seeds to pull a shocker. This team reminds many of the 2010 Cornell team that came out of the Ivy League and beat Temple in the first round. They are a deep squad with high level talent."
  • The Juice writes of Syracuse, "The Orange and Western Michigan shared two common opponents this season. SU defeated both Cornell and Eastern Michigan once each while the Broncos knocked off the former and split a season series with the latter with each team winning at home."
  • BC Interruption follows Boston College's "lack of activity."  According to the Boston Globe, Boston College is undecided on its future for the program.
Ryan Wittman’s career at Cornell speaks for itself. It has to: Wittman’s not the type of guy who talks about himself ahead of his team. Although he was the leading scorer all four years at Cornell, Wittman notes that his team’s many successes were magnified by the bonds and friendships he established with his teammates while a student at the Ithaca, NY Ivy League school.  Wittman is looking forward to taking the court again with the Cornell squad that made it to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2010, even if a couple of his teammates might have to spend the next three months working themselves back into game shape.
Q: What made you want to play in TBT?
A: Basically, we heard about the tournament and thought it would be a great way for everyone from our college team to get back together. We’re pretty spread out across the country now and it’s been a while since we have all been back together.
Q: You played professionally for a bit after graduating from Cornell, why’d you stop?
A: It came down to a few factors. I wasn’t playing as well I was wanted to and that definitely hindered my enjoyment of being over there. I came to the realization that the NBA probably wasn’t a realistic possibility anymore, and I decided I didn’t want to be hopping from country to country for the next 10 years of my life. I wanted to come back home to America and start the next phase of my career, whatever that was going to be.
Q: What was it about these guys that made you want to “get the band back together,” so to speak?
A: All of these guys on the team are some of the best friends I have. It’s hard to put into words how lucky we all were with the situation we were in at Cornell. We still all stay in touch constantly with group chats and everything but it’s hard to find a time when all of us can get together again, this seems to be one of those times. When we found out about “The Tournament” it was a no brainer.
Q: You guys don’t have a coach on your roster. If you’re in the last 2 minutes of a close game, who’s calling the plays and who’s calling the timeouts?
A: I think the initial plan will be to just not play any close games. But if push comes to shove I imagine we’ll lean on Adam Wire as long as he’s not tossing his cookies on the court like he did at Dartmouth. (Yes he threw up on the court. In the middle of the game.) He’s an elite basketball mind if I’ve ever seen one.
[note: we couldn’t find video of Adam throwing up at Dartmouth, but we did find some evidence of his elite basketball mind]
Q: Do you still follow Cornell basketball? If so, what do you think they have to do to get back to being Ivy League champions?
A: I do follow it still and I know the other guys do as well. It’s a connection that we’ll always have and we’ll always be pulling for them, even more so now that one of our teammates, Jon Jaques, is an assistant there. This year was obviously tough for them. I think one of the main things is just embracing how hard every game in the league is going to be. With no tournament every league game is unbelievably tough and every team plays extremely hard so I think a big thing is just embracing that attitude.
Q: Is there anything you really miss about college basketball?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is playing with my teammates from Cornell. We were very successful while we were at Cornell, but what made it so gratifying was how close we were with each other. It just made that feeling of accomplishing a goal together that much more satisfying and enjoyable.
Q: We found a girls’ basketball player who used a quote from you to get pumped for a playoff game:
How does it make you feel to see words that you’ve spoken being used by others as inspiration?
A: The thing that makes that nice to see is that’s the exact attitude that we had when we played at Cornell. It was a reason we were so successful while we were there. Everyone was selfless and wanted to work towards one common goal. There’s no better feeling when you’re a part of something like that.
Q: What do the guys from Cornell Sweet Sixteen mean to you?
A: Like I mentioned before we were an unbelievably tight knit group and we still stay in touch daily. I didn’t realize how rare that was for a team until after we had graduated. Even if we hadn’t been so successful it still would have been one of the best life experiences we had, going to the sweet sixteen was just an added bonus to all of that.
Q: Are you looking forward to taking the court with them again?
A: I am definitely looking forward to getting back on the court with the guys.  With Alex Tyler’s calf inevitably exploding, Max Groebe lat pulling 300+ lbs, and Chris Wroblewski having a beer belly the size of Texas we might have some positional changes but I think we’ll manage.
Q: Max Groebe’s profile says that all the guys on your team play in a fantasy football league together and that he’s the back to back champion? Is he lucky or good?
A: Ok, first of all it is true he has won the playoffs in back to back years. But he has not won either regular season or even come close for that matter. So, I guess I’m saying he is definitely lucky. Two years ago we squared off in the championship after I had assembled one of the greatest teams in fantasy history only to see it decimated by injury. And this past year can be blamed completely on the incompetence of other owners (Lou Dale).
Q: Who has the best team name in your fantasy league? What is it?
A: Most of the names involve some sort of inside joke from guys on the team so they wouldn’t make much sense to an outsider. But last year my name was Hercy Parvin and it got to the point where one of the guys actually came to think Percy Harvin’s name was Hercy.
Q: It’s June 9, 2014. Your squad has just won four games in three days to make it to the Inaugural TBT Championship Game. The Fans are going to vote on where that game is played. If you win that vote, where do you want to play for $500,000?
A: The Noyes Outdoor Court on Cornell’s campus with “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child playing as our intro song. Can’t think of a better home court advantage.
Q: Is there any team in the field right now that you think is the team to beat?
A: Besides us?…If the Siena guys add Josh Duell to their roster then things could get interesting. Guy is a wizard on the court.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would have no problem with Harvard's behavior if they said matter-of-factly, "The benefits in terms of national publicity and campus excitement have led us to a decision to re-allocate low AI resources away from other sports to men's basketball. If the other Ivies want to join us, we can discuss how to modify League AI rules to accomodate this new emphasis."

Such an explanation would be honest, collaborative and productive. Instead, Amaker and Scalise strain in the face of mounting evidence to say that it's business as usual with high academic standards. More than a natural desire to win more basketball games, it's the duplicity which is galling.