November 2, 2007

Guards Prepared to Carry M. Basketball

Print More

The men’s basketball team might have more talented guards than the Division III Trinity football team had laterals on the last play of its last-second victory over Millsaps.
With junior Adam Gore returning from a torn ACL after a year-long hiatus and the arrival of junior transfer Collin Robinson from USC, an already talented bunch of guards is gaining members faster than USC’s running back corps.
“Everybody is looking to help the team out and nobody’s going to worry about individual stuff,” Gore said.
Neither Gore nor Donahue think working Robinson and Gore into the backcourt rotation will be difficult despite sophomores Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale establishing themselves as a potent backcourt combo last year. Wittman broke many of the freshmen records set by Gore the previous year, including points per game (15.6) and 3 pointers made.
“In my opinion [Wittman] has made another jump,” Donague said. “He is much more confident, much stronger. He will rebound and defend this year and won’t be as one-dimensional. But I think in his mind he needs to improve in other aspects.”
After such a successful freshman season shooting the ball — he placed 22nd nationally with a .431 clip from behind the arc — Donague thinks Wittman will be able to get off even more shots this year.
“His ability to get shot off faster has improved,” Donahue said. “His release was already fast to being with, but he used to have to square up. Now, he can be off-balance and shot off the wrong foot.”
Wittman’s freshman partner-in-crime Dale came on later in the season to average 13.3 ppg and earn an honorable mention to the All-Ivy squad. Without departed point guard Graham Dow, Dale will take over at the one spot to run a faster offense.
“Louis is terrific natural point guard, probably the only one on our team,” Donahue said. “He does good job at distributing, he attacks and he shoots it well.”
Indeed, Dale is a selective shooter from downtown who pick-and-chose his spots to the tune of 46.8 percent from behind the arc last season. Gore, who will mostly play the two-guard spot, is simply looking forward to running with his backcourt mates.
“It’s really exciting,” Gore said. “We’re going to get up and down on a few people. Lou and Collin especially should be able push the ball up the floor. I think we’re going to put up quite a few points.”
Robinson comes to Cornell not only to run the ball, but also with a chip on his shoulder.
“He’s such a basketball player,” Donahue said. “His most important thing is he wants to play and reach his potential. … He was always an Ivy League kid in my opinion. He understands what an education can do. He is a great student and this is more his setting in my opinion. … He just wants to go out and prove to people he can win.”
As the consummate energy guy, Donahue thinks that Robinson will help the team in its efforts to create more transition baskets off turnovers and half-court traps, not to mention bringing creativity to the offense.
“The one thing that he can do is he can get shots in different ways,” Donahue said. “He is a different type of guy in our league. He’s not a stand-still shooter and not a guy who will only drive it to the basket. He has a mid-range game and is well conditioned. He never gets tired. He can be on the ball or off it and he create for others.”
The list doesn’t end there, though. Junior Jason Battle is like the utility infielder of the team, playing all five positions on the floor at one time or another. Sophomore Geoff Reeves emerged in the team’s offseason trip to France as a more than a shooting threat, averaging 16.5 points per game in the new run-and-gun offense.
“We’re all up-tempo kind of players,” Gore said. “Everybody will get minutes in.”