As basketball season nears, the focus of the men’s team will not only be on passing, shooting and dribbling, but keeping the whole team healthy and ready to play. This year there are only three men in the 2006 recruiting class, which brings the team total to only 12. However, these recruits are looking to provide quality minutes and bring good shooting skills to the court.
According to head coach Steve Donahue, “All three men are exactly what I was looking for. They can all pass, dribble, and shoot. They have a great work ethic and passion for the game”.
Freshman Lenny Collins, who hails from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., is a 6-4 guard who hopes to make an impact by offering some size and a midrange game. In his senior year at Santa Margarita Catholic H.S., he averaged 16.3 ppg and was a nominee for California’s Mr. Basketball award. Collins felt that “this was the best place for me” in deciding to attend Cornell.
Freshman Casey Gibbons, from Weston, Mass., comes in as a possible point guard that can provide outside shooting and a self-proclaimed “take it to the basket” attitude. He will be competing for playing time against returning guards A.J. Castro and Steve Cobb. During his postgraduate season at Phillips Exeter Academy, Gibbons averaged 25.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 86 percent from the line and 56 percent from the field. His reasoning for choosing Cornell was that “it’s the best of both worlds. There’s the competitiveness of the Division I sports and an Ivy League education”.
David Lisle, a 6-4 guard who is a native of Wingham, Ont., rounds out the trio. As a senior at F.E. Madill H.S., he was a two-time first team Western Ontario Secondary School’s All-Conference selection and was named to the all-tournament squad at the 2001 University of Windsor Invitational. Lisle is the team’s third Canadian player, joining senior guard Jacques Vigneault and sophomore center Chris Vandenberg.
Luckily for Cornell, this season brings the return of Vandenberg, a native of Harley, Ont., who missed most of last season due to a dislocated kneecap. Vandenberg comes in as a 6-10 center who was chosen this past summer to try out for Canada’s senior national basketball team but was unable to compete as a precaution to prevent further damage to his knee.
A determined attitude and a strong drive to win will be important as the Red tries to improve last year’s 5-22 record, but the most significant component might be the health of the players. With only three freshmen, the bench will be shorter than in the past, which puts more emphasis on everyone to remain available for action.
With the help of the three freshmen and nine healthy returning players, Cornell brings to the table a team that is willing and able to compete. Although last year saw Cornell struggle for a seventh-place Ivy League finish, this year promises a stronger, more cohesive team.
Archived article by Danielle Nicholson