November 17, 2011

MEN’S BASKETBALL | Junior Contributes on Both Ends

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Just 10 seconds into Cornell’s second meeting with Dartmouth last year, junior forward Errick Peck slammed home the Red’s first points of the game. Peck went on to have a career game, knocking down four 3-pointers on his way to 22 points, helping the Red to a 20-point win over the Green.

At 6-6, 224 pounds, Peck is a threat on both ends of the floor. Not only was Peck Cornell’s third leading scorer last year with 11.0 points per game, he also led the team in blocks — totaling 19 on the season. After two seasons on East Hill, Peck ranks 16th all-time in Cornell history in blocked shots per game.

Though the Red will certainly need him to produce offensively this season, Peck feels his presence will be felt most on the defensive end.

“I’ve been here for two years now, learned some secrets and tricks of the trade,” Peck said. “I have to use that to do my best on the defensive end to lock down the other team’s best offensive player.”

After the Red struggled last year on the boards, Peck understands that he will need to assist his team as much as possible in the paint.

“I’ll definitely need to help rebound the basketball and limit second chance opportunities,” he said.

Peck averaged 3.8 rebounds a game last year, 33 percent of which were registered on the offensive end.

As a member of the 2009-10 team that reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, Peck understands what it takes to build a successful team. He was the only freshman to see regular time on the court that year, and played an integral role — averaging 3.3 points per game off the bench.

For Peck, playing with that team was an important learning experience.

“Those guys were so disciplined,” he said. “They showed me that you can’t just show up and use your talent like in high school.”

According to Peck, his experience playing on a team that emphasized hard work above all else will prove crucial now that the junior is a veteran on a young squad.

“They did the little things well, which is something we need to try to do this year,” Peck said of his teammates from two seasons ago. “Playing with those guys helped me just mature as a person on and off the court.”

As a junior, Peck will have to start doing the same for this year’s underclassmen.

“I’ll be as vocal as possible both on the bench and on the court,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to get wins for us this year.”

Original Author: Scott Chiusano