The men’s basketball team (0-0) will make its debut tomorrow night when it hosts Carleton (8-0) in a preseason exhibition. The Red, which has practiced for just three weeks, boasts one of the youngest teams in the country with just one senior on the roster.
With the majority of the team comprised of freshmen and sophomores, the exhibition will provide a valuable litmus test for the Red.
“I think it’s a good barometer to see where you’re at, although we’ve only been out for three weeks, the halfway point in our preseason,” said head coach Steve Donahue.
While Cornell has yet to see game action, Carleton has already played eight games. Carleton, one of the premier teams in Canada, is already in midseason form and will therefore pose a legitimate challenge for the Red.
“Although the basketball is not as good up there, they’re at a totally different point,” Donahue said. “So, it’s going to be a great test to see where we’re at.”
Although Cornell finished 5-22 a season ago, Donahue sees great improvement among his returning players as well as his new recruits.
“I think we did a terrific job in the offseason getting better, stronger, faster. These guys have done a tremendous job in the weight room and conditioning,” he said. “I think that people will notice that all those freshmen and sophomores are going to be a lot bigger and stronger than they were. It’s going to help us.”
With so many young players on his squad, Donahue will use the only exhibition game on his team’s slate to evaluate his players. Therefore, tomorrow’s game could go a long way in determining Cornell’s starting five on opening night.
“I think the main objective is to evaluate everybody, give everybody a fair opportunity and at the same time win the basketball game,” Donahue said. “It’s important that we play well and the effort is there.”
Although a win tomorrow may not show up in the Red’s record, it would go a long way to instilling confidence in a young team and in creating a winning attitude.
“I think we’ve got to get to the point where when we put that uniform on, we have an attitude that we’re going to win. That’s what I’m looking for,” Donahue concluded. “When you put Cornell on your chest, you walk out on that floor, you’re preparing to win and you know that you’re going to win when you play well.”
Archived article by Alex Ip