Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Cornell forward like dad


The numbers, as did the name, jumped off the page of Cornell University’s most recent basketball box score. Ryan Wittman played 14 minutes in a game against Bryant University. He did not attempt a free throw, took seven shots from the field and scored 19 points. He made all seven field-goal attempts, including five three-pointers.

The last name and shooting numbers led to an easy conclusion: Ryan Wittman must be Randy Wittman’s son. He is. As a sophomore, Randy scored 16 points in 40 minutes in helping Isiah Thomas-led Indiana University to a 63-50 victory against North Carolina for the national title, the year before Michael Jordan arrived. Randy, 50, went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, was head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and now is an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards.

Randy Wittman was noted for his terrific shooting form.

“I think we have pretty similar jumpers, but it’s hard to say for sure,” said Ryan, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who leads Cornell into Allen Fieldhouse tonight for a game against top-ranked Kansas. “He’s so old, the video’s a little grainy.”


The younger Wittman shoots .851 from the line and .438 from beyond the three-point arc. He averages 18.9 points per game and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. He has his act together in the classroom as well. He’ll leave Cornell with a degree in applied economics and management.

The father obviously did more than pass along good genes to prepare the son to succeed at such a prestigious academic institution, one that has a 12-2 basketball record. Ryan said his father made sure he learned by shooting close to the basket and slowly expanding his range, making sure he never developed bad habits taking shots he wasn’t strong enough to make with proper form. When it came time to pick a school, Ryan said, his father did something else right. He left the process up to his son. He didn’t work his connections to get him into an Indiana uniform. Then coached by Mike Davis, the Hoosiers didn’t recruit him.

“It definitely worked out for the best,” Ryan said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Asked about his outrageous line in the Bryant box score, Wittman said, “When you have unselfish players on your team, you can get some open shots. We have a lot of good shooters and a lot of confident offensive players, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t play the right way.”

Like Kansas, Cornell prides itself on excellent ball movement, a key component to the Big Red ranking second in the nation in three-point percentage (43.4), Kansas third (42.9).

If Wittman has an off night, he won’t blame stage fright. He has played at Syracuse and Duke, and Cornell coach Steve Donahue predicts a pro basketball future for him.

“He has everything you want in a player,” Donahue said. “Size, he can shoot it, toughness, and he looks for the stage.”


Eliott Reeder 10 years ago

This article should be posted somewhere on the front of the website or on the B-ball related section. There is no link to it other than at the bottom of the other article, hence no comments as of 10:50 a.m. this morning...

hawk316 10 years ago

Interesting story. And this could be an interesting game, as well. Without knowing any better, I erroneously assumed that Cornell was going to be a cream puff. Sounds like they can shoot lights out, and if we don't bring it, we could be looking at a close game. In close games, anything can happen. But HCBS is diligent in reminding his players to respect every opponent. Let's hope they follow his advice.

Scott Oswalt 10 years ago


DSommersby 10 years ago

One of the biggest keys I see for the Hawks this year is to really guard the perimeter.

If KU can stay in the faces of outside shooters we can force teams to shoot lower percentages and even better force them to try and beat us off the dribble.

I think we are somewhat similar to the 2008 National Championship team in that we are very long and athletic with our big guys so they can alter, block, and clean up misses especially against teams who are not usually drivers and comfortable scoring taking it in amongst the trees. The 2008 team may have been more athletic up front but I do think we can follow a similar defensive formula.

Cornell will run some very good sets and offense for their good shooters. Our key tonight is to really heat them up and force them out of their comfort zone. Make them have to try and beat us off the dribble. I am sure Coach Self will be stressing this.

This Wittman kid is an excellent shooter. They have several guys who can shoot. We need to be in their grills and forcing them to try and beat us with athleticism. Take them out of their comfort zone and never let them get a groove.

Go Hawks!

Jayhawksrule2009 10 years ago

This Article is pointless. Why do reporters even write this boring meaningless pointless articles for

If they had a voting on this. I would give it a -10

finestack 10 years ago

I for one appreciate knowing more about the best player (with a famous hoops connection) on a team we're about to play, for which most knew nothing about coming into game day, and just prior to going into a hyped SEC away game this weekend. Would rather not be cleaning shorts tonight when some unknown drops 30 on us in a KU home win.

Thanks, Keegan.

hawk316 10 years ago

Or, as they say when using the English language...


CrimsonPhoenix 10 years ago

“He’s so old, the video’s a little grainy.”

You got that right, Ryan! Check out this bit of reporting by Mr. Keegan:

"Randy, 50, went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, was head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and now is an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards."

Holy cannoli! This guy was 50 when he started in the NBA?? Yikes!

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