The many insights of Ivy Untold

Ivy Untold is a great website, and Ivy hoops fans should be aware of it.

In case you’ve missed it, Ivy Untold was launched by then-Cornell junior forward Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof last year as a platform for minority students. Since then, it has allowed minority Cornell students to tell their stories, from an African American field hockey player recounting her experience as “that black girl on the field” to a lacrosse player’s struggle with and comeback against anxiety.

It’s also worth noting that the site’s co-founder is Cornell senior guard Troy Whiteside, with former guard Kyle Brown also contributing site design.

Earlier this month, Ivy Untold ran “Play the Game Before the Game Plays You,” a piece penned by Abdur-Ra’oof in which he candidly details the challenges and frustrations of playing for one coach his freshman and sophomore years (Bill Courtney) and another his junior and senior years (Brian Earl) as well as finishing his career at Cornell by riding the bench. It’s an honest and much-needed reminder that these Ivy League student-athletes are people who juggle life-shaping hardships, disappointments and transitions before our very eyes as they compete (or don’t). far surpassing in importance our own fandom as supporters of our respective Ivies.

 

 

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

1. Penn (21-7, 11-1 Ivy)

Penn shot a blistering 76 percent from two-point range in claiming sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings with a 74-71 win over Harvard Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn’s AJ Brodeur lured Chris Lewis out of the paint at times, and the Red and Blue attacked the basket when Lewis was on the bench. Brodeur had four assists and no turnovers, with senior guard Darnell Foreman notching five assists on senior night himself.

Penn has now shot a combined 40-for-60 (66.7 percent) from two-point range in two games versus a Harvard defense that characteristically values rim protection and ranks first in the league in defensive two-point percentage (48.1 percent). Not surprisingly, Penn ranks first in the conference in two-point percentage and assists per field goals made. Anyone who’s watched Penn ping pong passes in the paint knows that this team is capable of getting high-percentage shots even against a defense as stout as Harvard’s. That’s something to keep in mind should these squads meet at the Palestra again in the Ivy League Tournament championship game on Mar. 11.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

With 0-3 records in Ivy play, Columbia women and Cornell men look for positives

The women’s and men’s basketball teams for Columbia and Cornell arrived at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday winless in conference play.  While the main goal for each team was to secure its first league win, it was almost as important for the individual teams to feel good about their games as they move into the hardest stretch of their seasons.  

The Columbia men had, perhaps, their best game of the season as they dismantled Cornell, 88-62.  On the women’s side, the Big Red led for 36:49 of the 40-minute contest in route to an important 57-47 road win over the Lions.  In dominating their respective games, the Columbia men and Cornell women have strong momentum heading into next Saturday’s rematches in Ithaca.  The two losing squads and their staffs, however, were left trying to come to grips with their play and figuring out how to turn things around, for next weekend and the remainder of the year.

Read moreWith 0-3 records in Ivy play, Columbia women and Cornell men look for positives

2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

Red-White Scrimmage brings growth and hope for Cornell

Amid an 80-degree, summer-like Homecoming on Saturday, the Cornell men’s basketball team held its Red-White Scrimmage, unofficially beginning year two of the Brian Earl era.  With a year of experience under Earl’s more disciplined system, as well as the coach’s bringing in his first recruiting class, the Big Red look like a more confident and balanced unit that should improve upon last season’s 8-21 record.

Read moreRed-White Scrimmage brings growth and hope for Cornell

Cornell getting more out of frontcourt this season

On November 30, Cornell headed into its Finals Break by beating Northeastern, 80-77, for its first home and second overall win of the season.  With the campaign set to resume on Saturday against 7-2 Wyoming, where do things stand for the 2-5 Big Red?

With the hiring of former Princeton player and associate coach Brian Earl, Cornell is moving away from the guard-oriented style that was favored by its previous coach. Since former coach Bill Courtney had only one recruit arriving at East Hill this fall, the new coach was going to have to work with the same team that was 10-18 overall and 3-11 in the Ivies last year.

Last year’s squad played at a fast tempo with pressure defense and one-on-one offense. This year’s team has attempted to slow down the pace on both sides of the ball while becoming a more balanced team that focuses on player and ball movement.

Read moreCornell getting more out of frontcourt this season

Cornell falls to Colgate late, drops to 0-3

On Wednesday night, Cornell had its home opener against Colgate.  Coming into the contest, the Red had lost its first two games against Binghamton and Siena.  The Red Raiders arrived with a 0-1 record, courtesy of a 28 point loss to Syracuse.  The game was the 128th meeting between the upstate New York rivals, and the first matchup between coach Brian Earl of Cornell and coach Matt Langel of Colgate.  The two coaches were friendly rivals during their playing days, Earl at Princeton and Langel at Penn, and childhood friends going back to the eighth grade.

Read moreCornell falls to Colgate late, drops to 0-3

Cornell Season Preview – The Big Red reset

What happened last year: (10-18, 3-11 Ivy) Cornell was projected to finish last in the league and did just that despite a 2-2 start to league play that included back-to-back wins over Harvard and Dartmouth fueled by freshman phenom Matt Morgan. With a nine-game Ivy skid doing the Big Red’s season in, coach Bill Courtney was dismissed after going 60-113 in six years in Ithaca.

What’s new: The coach, for one. Princeton playing legend and all-star assistant Brian Earl jumped at the opportunity to lead a program, taking over the reins from Courtney and poised to make the Big Red less frenetic at both ends of the floor over time. The team’s lone freshman, Josh Warren, reportedly brings with him a comfort level in the post that the Big Red often lacked last season, and he also brings with him a natural rivalry with Penn freshman Ryan Betley. (Warren and Betley both attended Downington West in Downington, Pa.) But as a Courtney recruit, Warren apparently prefers an up-tempo style, which leads us to …

Read moreCornell Season Preview – The Big Red reset

Brian Earl: The right coach at the right time for Cornell

Princeton finished in the top three in the Ivy League eight straight seasons with Brian Earl as an assistant coach. The Tigers were the only Ivy team to do so in that span. (College Chalk Talk)

In 2010, Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel took two weeks to hire Virginia Tech assistant coach Bill Courtney as the replacement for the enormously successful Steve Donahue. Following the Big Red’s run to the Sweet Sixteen and Donahue’s jump to Boston College, Noel selected the former Bucknell All-Patriot League player from a final group that included Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Close and then-Temple assistant and
present Colgate head coach Matt Langel.

Read moreBrian Earl: The right coach at the right time for Cornell