November 14, 2008

Wittman Garners National Acclaim

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Junior Ryan Wittman is arguably the most acclaimed Cornell basketball player in recent memory. He was Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2006-07, the same season that he collected six Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards, while setting a school freshman scoring record and reaching double digits in 25 of the team’s 28 games. Last season, Wittman was the team’s leading scorer. A unanimous pick for first team All-Ivy, he contributed in all aspects of the game — his 4.4 rebounds per game are especially impressive considering how often he plays from the outside.
“I have great confidence that he’s going to get better,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “People don’t realize, but he’s a great defensive rebounder and he’s a terrific defender right now.”
The son of Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Randy Wittman, the 6-6 forward is a “pure” shooter — he was named one of the top-10 shooters in the country in a piece by analyst Fran Fraschilla. Wittman has paced the Ivy League in 3-pointers made in each of his first two seasons and his 93 3s made as a freshman is a school record.
All signs point to continued improvement for the forward, who spent much of the offseason training and bulking up.
“I really think I dedicated myself to the weight room and getting stronger and quicker,” Wittman said. “I think it really paid off.”
He’ll need to be more versatile in order to make up for the injury to senior guard Adam Gore, another outside scoring threat.
“Without Adam making shots from the outside, Ryan will [have to] score in different ways because they’ll really tune into him,” Donahue said. “He’s improved his game immensely in so many aspects. He’s such a good scorer when he gets the ball in the post or he gets to the lane and can shoot over people. I think you’ll see a guy who can get to the foul line more and make other shots rather than just standstill 3s which he can obviously do too.”