With March Madness currently garnering the attention of college sports fans across the country, fans of the Red are forced to wonder how Cornell would have fared in their own basketball season had they been permitted to continue with Ivy League play.
The basketball team was forced to watch the tournament from home because of the Ivy League’s decision to not go through with a winter athletic season, resulting in four seniors entering the transfer portal. However, the future still looks bright for the Red on the court, with four promising recruits currently verbally committed to Cornell next year.
Staying in-state, Chris Cain originally played center for Pine Bush High School three hours out of Ithaca before transferring to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts to further his athletic career as a postgraduate player.
At Pine Bush, the six-foot-eight Cain averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks per game. Cain expects to join the heavy rotation of power forwards led by starter Kobe Dickson ’22.
Fellow recruit Guy Ragland Jr. also hopes to find his place in the lineup as a power forward. Ragland’s has been nationally recognized, being nominated to the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2020.
The six-foot-eight, 220-pound forward from West Hartford, Connecticut played a key role in the success of the Northwest Catholic High School team. Ragland is known for using his height and size to box out opponents to win rebounds while also finding the basket primarily through impactful dunks.
The final “big man” of the recruits is six-foot-nine center Ryan Kiachian from San Jose, California. Although he is not the largest player, Kiachian’s wide wingspan and use of bank shots allow him to score with heavy defensive pressure and reclaim any shots that he missed. Kiachian will learn to dominate at his position behind upperclassman Sean Hansen ’24, who currently stands as Cornell’s only other center on the roster.
Finally, Nazir Williams has verbally committed to the Red as the only guard thus far. The six-foot-three Nyack, New York native played his high school basketball at St. Joseph’s Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey before returning to New York to play for the South Kent Cardinals as a postgraduate player.
In his final year of high school, Williams took on a scoring role for his team, averaging 16 points per game. Offensively, he is known primarily for his shooting ability. On the defensive end, Williams takes a physical approach to keep his opponents out of the game, pressing them from deep as well as doing everything in his power to avoid oncoming screens.
With the departure of key starters such as Jimmy Boeheim and Bryan Knapp, the men’s basketball team will look much different than it did a year ago. With this new roster, the team will gear up to hopefully get their own chance at the Big Dance next year.