R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s exactly what the Cornell men’s basketball team will be seeking after being ranked seventh in the Ivy League preseason poll. After the Red finished last season with an uninspiring mark (7-20, 3-11 Ivy), the 16-member Ivy media panel placed the hoopsters second to last.
However, rather than wallowing in self-pity, the squad will use the poll as bulletin board material in the locker room.
“I think it may be justified coming off of last year but as far as how I feel about the ranking, I just use it to motivate me,” senior co-captain Wallace Prather said. “I don’t worry about it.”
Senior co-captain Pete Carroll echoed those sentiments.
“Anytime you get a ranking that low, of course it should serve to motivate you. I can see why we were chosen that after how our season ended up last year,” he said.
The results of the poll mirrored the final standings of the 2000-2001 Ivy season. Princeton, the conference’s reigning champion, was picked to win it all once again. Upstart Brown was rated second, narrowly edging perennial Ivy powerhouse Penn by one point. Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, and Dartmouth rounded out the voting.
Since the poll is grounded primarily on last season’s performances, it does not account for Cornell’s tremendous influx of talent. In addition to returning starters Prather, Barnes, and junior forward Jake Rohe, seven hungry, athletic, and skilled rookies join the squad. The group of newcomers includes Junior Canadian National center Chris Vandenberg, forwards Grant Harrell, Gabe Stephenson and Eric Taylor, and guards Cody Toppert, Steve Cobb and A.J. Castro. With this group, the Red is poised to join the elite teams in the league.
The group is also relishing the role of playing the hunter.
“I think it’s a good position to be in, because nobody expects much out of you, and you can surprise a lot of people,” Carroll said.
As Prather noted, opposing teams need to be wary. “Cornell basketball is going to bring some noise this year.”
Cornell will have a chance to silence some doubters this Friday, when it starts its season on the road in Buffalo at Canisius University.
Archived article by Alex Ip