While the NBA season began last night, college basketball is still a little ways off. The Red is anxious to face real competition; however, the team will have to wait another two and a half weeks for its season to begin. In the meantime, the team is practicing hard in hopes of meeting the sky-high expectations that have been placed upon Cornell basketball.
On Saturday, the Red split into two teams and faced-off in the annual Red-White scrimmage. Seniors Louis Dale, Jeff Foote and Jon Jaques joined junior transfer Max Groebe in leading the red squad to victory. Foote took just eight shots, but scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Groebe scored 12 points, while Dale and Jaques each finished with 11.
Sophomore Chris Wroblewski led the white with 13 points. Senior Ryan Wittman scored 10 points while classmate Alex Tyler accumulated nine points and five rebounds for the white. Tyler has been impressed by the progress several of his teammates have made since last season.
“[One guy] who’s impressed me a lot in the preseason is Chris Wroblewski. He got a lot better than he was last season,” Tyler said. “He’s playing great defense and making a lot of shots.”
While Tyler has improved quite a bit at the guard position, center Jeff Foote has also received his share of accolades this fall. Foote, who was the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, has bulked up quite a bit since last season and should be even more of a force inside.
“[Foote has] gotten a lot stronger,” Tyler said. “He’s pushing people around. You can see a huge improvement in him.”
Groebe reaffirmed Tyler’s statement.
“He just got a lot stronger,” Groebe said. “His base is a lot stronger.”
Groebe is a sharp-shooting junior who came to Cornell after playing one season at UMass. He was forced to sit out last season in order to gain eligibility at Cornell.
“I’m really excited [to play this year],” he said. “I’m just happy that I can finally go out there and contribute and hopefully help us win another Ivy League title.”
Mark Coury is another junior transfer expected to play a big role in Cornell’s success this season. Coury saw significant action while at Kentucky, but he elected to sit out last season so that he could join the Red. He was unable to debut in the scrimmage because of an injury, but he is expected to be healthy in time for the season opener on Nov. 14.
Coury, Tyler and Foote will likely see the majority of the playing time at the power forward and center positions this season.
Groebe’s former team is part of one of the most challenging out-of-conference schedules the Red has ever faced. Cornell has games scheduled against Kansas, Syracuse, Alabama, Seton Hall and Saint Joseph’s, among others, this season. The hope is that the difficult schedule early on will adequately prepare the Red to capture a third consecutive Ivy League championship.
“We’ve been waiting for the season [to begin] ever since we lost last year,” Tyler said in reference to the Red’s season-ending loss to Missouri. “We’ve been doing work all spring and all summer. We’re all ready to go.”