Saturday, October 25, 2014

News and Notes: Red-White Game Saturday Edition

Below, news and notes for Saturday...

  • Here are the Rosters for the Red-White Game at 4 p.m. today.
Fleming, Giddens, LaMore, Miller, Mischler, P.Smith, D.Smith.
Abdur-Ra'oof, Bathurst, K.Brown, Bunce, Cancer, Cherry, Fallas, Tomic.
Not Playing: Hatter, Onuorah
 Men’s Basketball Promotes Jaques, Adds Metzendorf, Dodge To Staff
ITHACA, N.Y. – Second-year assistant coach Jon Jaques '10 has been promoted on head coach Bill Courtney's staff, while David Metzendorf returns and newcomer Brendan Dodge joins the staff for his first season in 2014-15. The staff shifts were necessitated when former assistant coach Mike Blaine recently accepted the head coaching job at Division III Medaille College in Buffalo.

Jaques, a hard working former captain who was a starter on the 2009-10 Big Red squad that won an Ivy League title and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, returns for his second year on the Cornell coaching staff. He will have responsibilities in all aspects of the program, from recruiting to scheduling. Jaques previously spent a year as a graduate manager at Ivy rival Columbia, and a year as an assistant coach at Stevens Institute. He played one season in the Israeli Premier League following graduation. Jaques will be responsible for game and practice planning, alumni relations and other duties.

Metzendorf returns for a second year on Courtney's full-time staff, but his first year as an assistant coach. He spent the 2013-14 season serving as a Special Assistant to the Head Coach here he was in charge of many of the behind-the-scenes tasks, from acting as film coordinator to handling all aspects of team travel. Metzendorf briefly served as assistant coach at Williams College under former Cornell captain Kevin App '07 before returning to East Hill. Metzendorf will be responsible for game and practice planning, recruiting and working with the backcourt.

Dodge slides into Metzendorf's previous role as Special Assistant to the Head Coach. A 2013 graduate of Drexel with a degree in sport management, Dodge served as a student manager for the Dragons for one season. He has also worked as a sales intern with the Philadelphia 76ers. Dodge served as an assistant basketball coach with the AAU Westchester Hawks and as a camp director's assistant for the Hoop Group. He most recently worked for Cambium, LLC, a financial advising firm.

The Big Red will have its first public showcase when it competes in the annual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. at Newman Arena.
Men’s Hoops Picked Eighth In Ivy; Red-White Game Saturday
ITHACA, N.Y. – Fifth-year head coach Bill Courtney understands preseason polls don't have any impact on how this upcoming season will play out. Now all the Big Red men's basketball team has to do is change people's minds on the court.

Observers looked at least year's 2-26 record (1-13 Ivy) and the transfer of Cornell's leading returning scorer and may have assumed more trouble was ahead. But inside and around the program, significant optimism about the 2014-15 squad exists.

Fans will get their first chance to make their own decisions about the Big Red this Saturday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. when the program holds its annual Red-White Scrimmage in Newman Arena. Details of the scrimmage will be announced later this week.

Cornell was picked to finish eighth in Ivy League Preseason Media Poll announced this morning by the league office prior to its media teleconference with the circuit's eight head coaches.

"If we're the eighth best team in this league, this league is as good as any in the country," Courtney said.

After three weeks of practice, Courtney has had a chance to look at a nearly healthy roster for the first time in his five seasons and likes what he sees.

The senior tandem of Shonn Miller (11.5 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 1.9 spg., 1.9 blpg. In 2012-13) and Galal Cancer (5.7 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 2.7 apg., 1.0 spg. In 2012-13) return after missing the entire 2013-14 campaign. Miller was a first-team all-league pick as a sophomore and is, by any measure, one of the nation's top defenders. Cancer was the team's starting point guard two years ago before stepping away from the court for a year. Together, their reemergence has the Big Red looking for a dramatic turnaround.

All-Ivy candidate Devin Cherry (12.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 3.5 apg.) returns at guard, as do sophomore guards Robert Hatter (9.0 ppg., 2.1 apg.) and Darryl Smith (5.0 ppg., 2.3 rpg.) . Together, the second-year duo combined to win three Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. Sophomore big man David Onuorah showed flashes of being an impact player as a rookie (3.1 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 1.0 bpg.), while senior big men Deion Giddens (3.8 ppg., 3.1 rpg., 0.7 bpg.), Dave LaMore (1.7 ppg., 1.6 rpg.) and Ned Tomic (3.5 ppg., 1.9 rpg.) will provide leadership on and off the floor.

Cornell opens a challenging schedule when it visits George Mason on Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in Fairfax, Va

First-Place Votes in Parentheses
1.Harvard (17)136
  • Ivy Hoops Online was not impressed with Bill Courtney's comments during the Media Teleconference and writes:
“It’s funny because I was just on this morning looking at the Ivy League media predictions for this year and saw that we were picked eighth. Sorting through a lot of magazines and publications, we’re picked near the bottom of the league, if not last. When you finish last in the league and lose your leading scorer, I guess that’s par for the course.”
Exactly. You’re last until you’re not, so Cornell is still the Ivy cellar-dweller.
“We have two seniors coming back that didn’t play last year who were all-league. We have a great mix of young guys to go with those guys, we’ve been healthy, knock on wood.”
“Shonn Miller’s back at 100 percent, he’s playing terrific basketball … Obviously I’m biased, but I’ve gone on record saying that he’s a heck of a basketball player and going to make a big difference.”
Yeah, because heaven forbid he get injured again to trigger another 26-loss season.
“Robert Hatter is back this year but he did suffer a knee injury last week in practice.”
“We thought it could be major but it turns out it’s not bad so he should be back in practice next week. He’s had a terrific offseason where he’s really improved. He’s back at 100 percent also.”
Phew! Good for Cornell, since Hatter was a refreshing spark plug as a two-time Ivy Rookie of the Week for an offense that looked absolutely flummoxed all season long.
“Deion Giddens who tore his ACL in January, is actually back practicing and is also at 100 percent. We have people on the other side of coming back from injuries instead of going out with injuries.”
College basketball is a cyclical thing, and Courtney wants you to believe that Cornell is on the upswing.
“Somebody said to me in the summertime, that’s why God put eyes in the front of your head, so you can look forward. We’re not looking back. We had a rough end of the season two years ago with injuries that decimated us, losing four or five starters. Then we lost our top three guys before the year last year… we knew that was key and then we lost our leading scorer in the offseason.”
He’s got a point. Cornell is not likely to have such rotten luck with injuries again. We’ll delve more into Cornell’s backlog of injuries in our player-by-player roster profile and season preview, but for now, just feel the good vibes Courtney is sending out:
“As we move forward as a program, we feel like our best days are ahead of us. We feel like we are going to be really good this year. We feel like the guys we got coming in next year are really going to help us. We feel like we’ve got things on the right track.”   
All the feels, Cornell. All the feels. At least until you suffer through a fifth straight losing season.
  • The Troy Record writes, "Syracuse gets crowds approaching 30,000 for even the least-competitive of opponents, the likes of Colgate and Cornell. It doesn’t make sense for the Orange to play anything other than big-gate home games unless it gets a huge guarantee elsewhere or national television exposure."
  • Nolan Cressler gets discussed in Anchor of Gold which writes, "Nolan Cressler (6'4", 204 lbs), Junior: Cressler, Cornell's leading scorer in 2013-14, won't play for the Commodores this season as he waits out a year per NCAA transfer rules. He'll play a big role for this team once he's eligible. The sweet-shooting guard made more than 40 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman and then scored 16.8 points per game last year despite being locked down as his team's only true offensive threat.  Cressler is jumping from a small pond to a big one. He'll have to prove that one of the Ivy League's leading scorers can translate into a significant role in the SEC. He's moving from a two-win team to a potential 20-win team, and while he had strong performances against teams like Syracuse (23 points) and Notre Dame (17 points) he needs to show that he can score efficiently on a consistent basis. It will be interesting to track his progress over the next three years."
  • predicts the Ivy League and writes in part:
The top returning scorer for Cornell is Devin Cherry. Cherry averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. Guard Robert Hatter is a player to watch for the Big Red. He appeared in the first 20 games in 2013-14 as a freshman and averaged 9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Injuries knocked him out of the remaining 8 games, but he should respond well with 20 games he played last year.
Perhaps the biggest return for Cornell is senior forward Shonn Miller. He missed all of 2013-14 will a shoulder injury, but in 2012-13 he put up averages of 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. His return will help the Big Red, but how much is another matter.

Predicted Order of Finish
The 2014-15 season for the Ivy League should be an intriguing one. Harvard is the favorite to win, but they are not the overwhelming favorite by any means. Both Columbia and Yale will provide formidable challenges in an attempt to prevent the Crimson from winning a fifth straight Ivy League title. Battling for the fourth spot will come down to Penn, Princeton, Brown, and Dartmouth and all have a solid chance at claiming it. Cornell still appears to be at least one or two seasons from moving out of the Ivy League cellar.
Here are the predicted order of finish for the 2014-15 Ivy League Season:
1. Harvard
2. Columbia
3. Yale
4. Dartmouth
5. Penn
6. Brown
7. Princeton
8. Cornell

Barring the improbable occurrence of two one-loss Ivy League teams, only the regular season winner will earn the Ivy League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. As usual, the Ivy League winner is not to be trifled with when March Madness rolls around.

1 comment:

TJ said...

Oh come on. I read this blog faithfully. Maybe I missed it, but I do not remember seeing a Red-White scrimmage announcement. I like to go every year, and I could have gone today if I knew ahead of time. But I can't just run over there at the last minute when I find out about the event the day of (just over an hour before it starts!). That said, I blame Cornell Basketball, not the blog. The event is not even listed on the official site--not on the main basketball page, not on the schedule page, nowhere that I can find.