Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – There are still two games left, but Cornell’s 2013-14 season will be ending after them. There won’t be any postseason play, and the only possible drama – that of whether or not the Big Red would win a Division I game this season – was removed two weeks ago when they beat Dartmouth. So at this point, maybe a look ahead is warranted, because this season will go down as one to forget.

The season was already going to be a tough one before it began. They had already lost a lot from a year earlier just from the senior class. In addition, Shonn Miller, their best player, suffered a shoulder injury late last year that had not healed well, and redshirting was possible. As the season is almost over, we know that has happened. They lost two more starters they didn’t expect to as well, so this team was basically starting over.

“I don’t think anybody expected it to be this rough,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “We knew we could have some struggles in losing Shonn (Miller), but also in losing Galal Cancer and Errick Peck to Purdue.”

With that adversity came opportunity, as is often the case, and a couple of players have noticeably seized it. Nolan Cressler and Devin Cherry stand out in that regard. Certainly, some of their improved numbers comes out of necessity, but they also took advantage of the opportunity and have grown overall.

Cherry has almost doubled his scoring from last season, and while his three-point percentage is down from last season his overall shooting percentage is up. He has also greatly improved his assist and turnover numbers, as he had almost twice as many turnovers as assists in his first two seasons but now has more assists than turnovers – and nearly three times as many assists as he had a year ago. Cressler, meanwhile, has nearly doubled his scoring. While his three-point shooting has gone down, it’s still a healthy 36 percent, and his overall shooting numbers are not down much.

The freshmen have shown promise, although the most promising of them, Robert Hatter, has come down with mono. It started when he hurt his groin, then felt ill. He’s the only true point guard they have in the program, and he had been pressed into a big role earlier than the staff probably wanted to. As such, he certainly had some ups and downs, and now they hope he will get well in time to get into a significant number of postseason workouts. They have also seen improvement over the season from guard Darryl Smith, who led them with 14 points at Harvard on Friday night, and big man David Onourah has also developed. The next thing for Onourah to improve on is staying out of foul trouble so he can get more experience.

Next year, the Big Red get Miller back. Add him to the aforementioned emerging supporters, as well as the freshmen who now have a year under their belt, and this team has to be ready for a good leap. Cherry and Cressler haven’t gotten better only because someone had to step up, and that bodes well.

“It’s a process for us,” said Courtney. “It’s not just a this year process, it’s a process for the whole program for the next few years.”

Call it youthful exuberance, or something else, but one thing that the adversity and the losing hasn’t done is break the players. Coaches always hang on to losses longer than players, and perhaps there’s a degree to which that has helped this team. A couple of early losses in games that were there for the taking may have eroded the confidence a little, but it didn’t change the effort.

“Those kids have kept us up because of their attitudes and the way they’ve reacted to the adversity,” said Courtney. “They’ve been strong through it all. We’re down a few guys now, but the guys are still together, they’re still working, still fighting. I love coaching this group.”

The Ivy League looks to be in an up cycle, as several young teams appear to be on the rise. Harvard will still be a contender next year, and Princeton will still have plenty of veteran talent although they will lose their best player. Yale remains a consistent top-half-plus team, while Brown has good young talent and Dartmouth has a few good classes put together but has been hampered by injuries this year.

So while Cornell will have a lot returning, that will be the case in an improving league. As such, the jury is out on whether that will translate into contention. We will have eight months to speculate on that starting in about a week.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we touch on a number of issues affecting conferences like Conference USA, as well as a big loss for Creighton, less mystery in Arizona, and more on the ACC as we look forward to the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 12, 2017

January 12, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a short stint in the top spot of the polls, some developments in the Mountain West Conference, and more of the ACC before closing with the Big East and Atlantic 10.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the great games Kentucky has been a part of lately. We go on to other ACC matters involving arch rivals, as well as some quick hits and a conference race that should be as good as expected.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a coaching legend reaching a milestone, the defending champs looking very good and continuing their winning ways close to home, and some off-court news during a light week of game action.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016 by

Early season tournaments are the focus in this episode, with a look at how strong a few Big East teams are out of the gate and how strong the ACC could be. Plus one SEC team had a big week outside the scope of tournaments.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.