Ithaca, NY — The Cornell Big Red enter the 2017-18 season hungry to get back to the post-season for the first time since 2010, where they fell to a star-studded Kentucky Wildcats team in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, 62-45.
Head coach Brian Earl, the man in charge of putting the current team together and bringing them back into the national conversation, enters his second season leading the Big Red. After a 10-18 finish in his opening campaign, Earl will be expected to achieve more this season.
With his initial year and recruiting cycle complete, Earl is bringing in five new freshmen and a JUCO transfer to make up his first substantial recruiting class as the head coach at Cornell.
Here is a look at each addition and at weather the group can help bring Cornell back to a postseason in the next four years.
Bryan Knapp (G, 6’1”, 170)
Knapp, named 2014 Underclassman Of The Year by Jewish Hoops America, was a high school star. He leaves Charles E. Jewish Day School as the all time leading scorer after averaging 27.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and a steal per game as a senior.
Scoring shouldn’t be a problem at the next level. His naturally accelerated play should keep defenders honest and pave the way for his masterful pull-up jumper. Knapp, whom we expect to be positioned as a shooting guard, has the tools to play either guard position.
In year one, he should be able to contribute right away as a scorer and become something even more down the line.
Jake Kuhn (G/F, 6’6”, 195)
After receiving plenty of interest from bigger schools, Kuhn settled at Cornell.
As a senior, he earned first-team all-county and second-team all-league honors. The 6’6” guard/forward can rebound well and shoot it from deep. The Big Red will benefit from his high basketball IQ and decisiveness on the wing.
Kuhn’s athleticism, high energy, and shooting ability make him another great addition to a Cornell team in need of help.
Jimmy Boeheim (F, 6’8”, 215)
Jimmy, son of Hall of Fame Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, is staying close to home with his commitment to Cornell.
As a 6”8 versatile wing, Boeheim already has an advantage in a smaller Ivy League. His excellent basketball IQ matched with the skill set he showed in high school leads us to project him as a valuable player at the next level. Boeheim can shoot threes, penetrate defenses, and his passing ability helps keep opponents guessing.
By the end of his career in Ithaca, Boeheim might not be a star, but he has the potential to be the true anchor on a good Big Red team.
Terrence McBride (G, 6’2”, 170)
McBride will enter college already having played with superior talent. He went to school and played with the number-one ranked junior and two high-major commits. This trio, plus McBride, helped Sierra Canyon High School to a combined 108-16 record.
His habit of winning should rub off on his new teammates. His athleticism served him well in high school and will easily translate to the collegiate level. Terrence is a great, high-energy defender who will be able to tough it out with the best guards in the Ivy. He is a smart player who shoots well from anywhere.
The one thing we know you will see is plenty of highlights and hustle from McBride in the next four years.
Riley Voss (F, 6’6”, 220)
Voss won Player Of The Year in his high school conference and was named a second-team all-state selection during his senior season.
He was very productive at Moeller High School, tallying three state championships and finishing top 15 in assists and rebounds in his conference’s history. Voss looks to be a nice bench piece for the Big Red, offering them more versatility and height up front.
Steven Julian (F, 6’6”, 200)
As the only junior college transfer of the bunch, Julian brings experience and leadership to a young team.
He won Kaskaskia College’s Male Athlete Of The Year award, and was an all-region selection as a sophomore. That year, he averaged 10.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.6 steals per contest.
Julian’s energy and defensive prowess will help counteract his slightly undersize frame. In his next two seasons at Cornell, you can expect similar production out of Julian.
Matt Morgan, the Ivy League’s leading scorer, must be surrounded by talent in order to compete in this increasingly impressive Ivy League. Height and size were the team’s top priorities this off-season, and something they addressed with the incoming class.
Earl has brought in a group that brings versatility, high basketball IQ, a defensive mindset, and all-out energy to the table. Each fits Earl’s system nicely.
This recruiting class should mesh well with the established veterans and help space the floor, creating more opportunities on both ends of the court.
The coaching staff is building up this team for a competitive season, one that could carry the Big Red into the postseason for a league that only last year created its own.
– M. Roitman