Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vandy Eyes Cressler

Five days ago, Cornell released leading scorer Nolan Cressler, allowing him to transfer to another program. On Monday, Vanderbilt made their intentions to land the valuable guard clear, offering him a scholarship and the chance to finish his career in Nashville.
Cressler, a Pittsburgh native, had only five D-I scholarship offers out of high school. He chose Cornell over Yale and Boston University and managed to make an instant impact in upstate New York. The 6'4" shooting guard averaged 9.3 points per game in his first year and upped that to 16.8 in 2013-2014 as he emerged as the Big Red's primary offensive weapon. He was named as an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention for his efforts this spring.
Cornell is coming off to a season in which they won just one game over a Division I opponent. The Big Red finished 2-26 overall despite Cressler's proficient scoring. It was the fourth straight losing season in Ithaca; a streak that began the season after Cornell's 2010 Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Vandy can offer the young guard a spot on a rebuilding program at a university with an academic reputation similar to his former Ivy League home. The Commodores can also offer the guidance of former Harvard assistant Yanni Hufnagel behind the bench. Hufnagel, who helped guide the Crimson's recent resurgence as a dangerous D-I program, knows a thing or two about coaching intelligent young guards.
Vanderbilt's last interaction with a Pittsburgh-area baller ended poorly. Sheldon Jeter, from Beaver Falls, PA, emerged as one of Vandy's brightest stars as a true freshman in 2013. He then left the Commodores one month after the season ended and eventually received a scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh amidst talk of tampering between the two programs. He will make his Panther debut this fall.
The Commodores will have a loaded backcourt waiting for Cressler by the time he is eligible to play for Vanderbilt in 2015-2016. The 'Dores are slated to have former leading scorer Kedren Johnson running the point alongside Carter Josephs and 2014 recruits Wade Baldwin, Riley LaChance, and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Still, the former fourth-leading scorer from the Ivy League would add a much-needed veteran presence to a team that will still be growing as 2015 comes to a close.
There's no indication yet on where Cressler will go or what he is looking for in a destination other than a Division I program.

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