Friday, November 6, 2015

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, news and notes for Friday...

Above, A Date in Cornell basketball History. 
  • Big Apple Buckets suggests that Cornell might be "once again one of the worst teams in Division I."
  • Galal Cancer (Cornell '15) gets mentioned by the Beacon Journal as a "leader" for Kent State.
  • Rant Sports writes that Shonn Miller (Cornell '15) was a "steal" for UConn:
In a spring when UConn landed transfer Sterling Gibbs, another transfer quietly committed to the Huskies from the limited basketball power of Cornell. This graduate transfer by the name of Shonn Miller looks like an absolute steal for the Huskies. Miller, who plays the power forward position mostly, had a terrific career at Cornell. He was a great find for coach Kevin Ollie to help get Connecticut back to the NCAA tournament and maybe even a championship.

It was just an exhibition game against the University of Tampa, but Miller showed why he must be considered a hidden gem. He led the Huskies in scoring with 18 points while shooting an outstanding 8-of-11 from the field. He also grabbed six rebounds and even blocked a couple of shots. For someone coming from a small program like Cornell, you’d think even in a meaningless exhibition game he would show some nerves in his debut, but Miller did not. This could be a hint at the mental temperament this guy has. He could be one calm, mentally tough guy. You know coming from Cornell, he will be smart, but the toughness is a nice bonus.

He will be very valuable to the Huskies’ frontcourt. Amida Brimah is the star and leader of that group, but he has had difficulty with rebounding and foul trouble in his young career. Kentan Facey brings a lot of energy to the glass, but his ceiling is a bit low. Phil Nolan is a nice body to have out there to eat up minutes and fouls, and Steven Enoch is a raw freshman. Miller’s presence up front will certainly pay dividends. Not that they need him to score much with players like Gibbs, Rodney Purvis, Jalen Adams and Daniel Hamilton, but having a legit scoring option at that position will be quite valuable. Not to mention the defensive effort and ability he will bring every night out.

In recent history in the Ollie era, a stretch four like Miller would be very important to the success of the team. You just have to look at the most recent Huskies championship team. DeAndre Daniels was that guy. As Shabazz Napier got all the deserved credit for that run, Daniels’ play in the tournament is what pushed UConn over the edge. His ability to play outside with his size made it difficult on opponents. Last year, UConn lacked that and to find it, they pushed natural small forward Hamilton to the four at times to go small and athletic. Although he succeeded in that role, Miller will allow him to play more of his natural spot this year.

Miller may not be a great outside shooter (he shot 26 percent from three-point range last year), but he brings the threat of it. He also brings an incredible mid-range game. He’s going to get his open shots with the loaded amount of scoring guards that UConn has, and if one game is any indication, he will knock those shots down. Every good team needs that underrated, undervalued, smart, glue guy. Miller is going to be that guy for the Huskies. He’s quite a find for coach Ollie.

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