The 2004-2005 season was one of the best in recent memory for the men’s basketball team. Now, the Red will look to continue its improvement with the addition of six new recruits. Junior transfer Jason Hartford, freshmen Jason Battle, Robert Burris, Adam Gore, Brian Kreefer, and Conor Mullen will all join the team for the 2005-06 season.
“I think each year we try to improve our overall depth in our program, and I think we’ve done it this year,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “We addressed almost every position.”
Cornell finished second in the Ivy League last season with an 8-6 conference record, and the team went 13-14 overall. The Red will return three starters from last year, including its leading scorer — senior forward Lenny Collins. However, three seniors have also been lost to graduation, including All-Ivy performer Eric Taylor ’05.
Hartford, who will provide depth to the Red’s frontcourt, is expected to have the most significant immediate impact for the cagers. The junior college transfer from Chemeketa Community College in Oregon averaged 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last year. The 6-9, 230-pound center should add a helpful inside presence for the Red.
“Obviously we expect a lot from him,” Donahue said. “We needed someone to step in [at that role].”
Battle and Burris are both natives of Wilmington, N.C., but played at different high schools.
“Battle can get to the basket, and he can run the floor very well,” Donahue said. “[Burris] is an athletic kid who can really finish.”
Battle averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game during his senior season, leading his team to a 26-4 record and a conference title.
Burris averaged 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season, while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. The 6-5 forward was an all-league selection in both his junior and senior years.
Gore is a native of Monrovia, Ind., where he was a third-team all-state pick. During his senior year, the 6-0 point guard averaged 24.8 points, 4.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. He also recorded a 53.2 percent shooting average from 3-point territory.
“Gore is a good all-around point guard, [and] a tough kind of kid,” Donahue said.
Kreefer, of Potter, Ohio, was a first-team all-state pick, and he led his team to a 20-3 record last season. The 6-7, 215-pound forward averaged 27.4 points, and 13 rebounds a game in 2004-2005. He is now the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Mullen, from Seattle, Wash., led his team to state titles during both his junior and senior years. The 6-5 forward was a first-team all-state pick last season, and he averaged 17.5 points a game. He was also the MVP of the 2005 Class 3A state tournament.
“[Mullen’s] physically ready to play, and stronger than most high schoolers,” Donahue said.
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer