Tuesday, April 15, 2014

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, news and notes...
  • Izzi Metz is now the new head coach of Wilkes University.  The Times Tribune writes:
Izzi Metz will take over as head coach of the Colonels.
Izzi Metz will become the 11th men’s basketball coach at Wilkes University, according to The Citizen’s Voice newspaper.
Wilkes has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. today where Metz is expected to be introduced.
The Citizen’s Voice, a sister newspaper of The Times-Tribune, learned of the
hiring through multiple sources who requested anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced yet.
Metz replaces Jerry Rickrode, who stepped down in February after 22 years at the helm to take a job within the university’s Advancement Division to work as a major gifts officer. Rickrode went 328-191 at Wilkes and guided the Colonels to the Final Four in the 1997-98 season.
Metz comes to Wilkes from Boston College where he was hired as the director of basketball operations in 2011 before being elevated to assistant coach.
Metz, a 1998 graduate of Hobart College, started his coaching career at Bishop Montgomery High School, near his hometown of Los Angeles.
Metz was an assistant coach at Hobart in the 2000-01 season, then became an assistant coach at Cornell from 2001-06. He helped guide the Big Red to back-to-back winning seasons in the Ivy League for the first time since 1986-87 and 1987-88.
He returned to Hobart as the head coach in 2006.
While the head coach at Hobart, the Statesmen went 69-62. In 2010-11, he led Hobart to the Liberty League regular-season crown and the ECAC Upstate tournament title. The Statesmen
finished with a school-record 21 wins.
Wilkes is coming off a
season where it finished 3-11 in the Freedom Conference and 8-16 overall.
The Vanderbilt men’s basketball team will have no shortage of scoring guards on campus this fall, and its latest acquisition is a proven commodity.
Cornell leading scorer Nolan Cressler will transfer to Vanderbilt, giving coach Kevin Stallings five players in this year’s signing class. He selected the Commodores on Monday over offers from Michigan, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.
Cressler, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 16.8 points as a sophomore, must sit out this season per NCAA rules. He will have two years of eligibility left.
“It just felt like a great fit for me,” Cressler said via phone Monday night. “It was the relationship I built with the coaches the last couple of weeks and on my visit this weekend. And I really got to know some of guys on the team. They’re all great guys. It really made the decision easier for me.”
Vanderbilt signed three guards in November — Wade Baldwin, Matthew Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance — and picked up a fourth commitment this spring from small forward Jeff Roberson, who plans to sign on Wednesday.
Cressler, a product of Pittsburgh’s Plum High, averaged 9.3 points as a freshman starter during 2012-13 before his breakout season. As a sophomore, he made 68 3-pointers and scored 20-plus points eight times, including a career-high 34 points in an overtime game against Brown. Cressler opened the season by scoring 23 points at Syracuse — 20 in the first half.
He shot 41.1 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from the arc and 77.8 percent from the foul line while grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game. He was granted his release to transfer after Cornell went 2-26 (1-13 in the Ivy League) this season.
“You take a risk when you decide to leave somewhere,” Cressler said. “But once these opportunities came along — it’s every kid’s dream to play at the highest level. Being in the SEC is as good as it gets.”
Cressler described himself as a player who can “score in bunches” and a “gym rat” who will put the team before his individual stats.
“Although I’m a newcomer, with two years of playing experience, I can use that as an advantage,” he said. “Hopefully, I can be a leader as soon as possible and help us win. I think we can accomplish a lot with the pieces that are starting to come together.”
Stallings and assistants Yanni Hufnagel and Tom Richardson came to visit Cressler during the recruiting process and also went to the house of his high school coach in Pittsburgh, Cressler said.
Vanderbilt is hopeful this transfer works out better than its last. Former Tulsa guard Eric McClellan was suspended for an academic issue in January and dismissed later that week after a Tennessean report that he had been arrested on a charge of misdemeanor theft.
Stallings still has two open scholarships he can use toward this year. He said recently that he will add “at least one more player and probably more than one.”
In addition to the four guards in this class, Stallings expects suspended guard Kedren Johnson to return this fall with two years of eligibility remaining.
Nolan Cressler had to go through the basketball recruiting process for the second time. But this time, big-time programs chased him.
Cressler, a former star guard at Plum who decided to leave Cornell and transfer after this past season, said Monday night he had accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt.
Cressler, a 6-foot-4 guard, played two years at Cornell and was the team's leading scorer this season at 16.8 points a game. Since he decided to transfer, Cressler had scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, Dayton, Notre Dame and Rutgers. Pitt and Michigan were among other schools that showed interest, but neither offered a scholarship.
Cressler made a recruiting visit to Vanderbilt this past weekend. He will finish this semester at Cornell and have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
When Cressler signed with Cornell as a Plum senior, his other top choice was Yale. His other scholarship offers then were from Holy Cross, Boston and Saint Francis.
Cressler, a Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 selection, was an honorable mention all-Ivy League choice this past season. Besides his scoring, he averaged 4.2 rebounds a game and shot 36 percent (68 of 187) from 3-point range. He had 23 points and five rebounds against Syracuse and 17 points and nine rebounds against Notre Dame. But Cornell finished with a 2-26 record and was 13-18 in Cressler's freshman year.
  • Rumble in the Bronx notes that St.John's will participate in the 2014 Preseason NIT and writes, "The Johnnies were last in the preseason NIT in 2008. They got a victory against Cornell, then lost in the next round to the one seed in the East Region, Boston College, 82-70." 
  • Here is a link to an older interview with Cornell A.D., Andy Noel from November 2010.  Many of the topics discussed are still contemporary and remain relevant today.  See also the 18:40 mark for a discussion of the hiring of Steve Donahue and the lack of success Donahue experienced in his first five seasons.
  • Cornell's 2014-2015 Schedule will be highlighted by Cornell's participation in ESPN's Charleston Classic.  Visit the Cornell team page at the Charleston Classic for more information.   In this ESPN-produced event, Cornell is guaranteed three (3) games against the field of eight (8) participants and all games are broadcast on the ESPN family network.  Potential opponents in Charleston include: Miami, South Carolina, USC, Penn State and Akron with two additional participants to be named at a later date.  The two unconfirmed additional participants are Charlotte and Drexel.  Cornell's thirty (30) games for the 2014-2015 schedule is rumored to include the following:
1. Loyola, MD (away)
2. UMass-Lowell (home)
3. Binghamton (away)
4. Colgate (home)
5. Siena (away)
6. St. Peter's (home)
7. Howard (home)
8. Radford (away)
9. Canisius (home)
10. Buffalo (away) (Guarantee Game)
11. BCS Guarantee Game TBD (away)
12. BCS Guarantee Game TBD (away)
13. D-III Game TBD (home)
14. Charleston Classic Game
15. Charleston Classic Game
16. Charleston Classic Game
17-30. Fourteen Ivy League Games


    Anonymous said...

    Jake Matthews on Jeff Goodman's transfer list? Looking to pull a Peck and play one year somewhere else after he graduates?


    The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

    Good luck to him. Maybe he'll find a good fit somewhere.