Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cressler Improves His Craft' Plum Grad Doing Well at Cornell

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cressler Improves His Craft' Plum Grad Doing Well at Cornell

Article excerpt

Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon leans on the bearings of a basketball hoop at the Greentree Sportsplex, casually watching the summer league basketball game being played in front of him while talking to a couple other local coaches.

Most of his own players are in the gym participating in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am, but the one guy who elicits a response from Dixon is the one player in the league who attends an Ivy League school.

As the tall, well-built shooting guard pulls up for a deep 3- pointer, Dixon raises his eyebrows and looks toward the baseline, asking a few media members present, "Is that the Cornell kid?"

When someone answers yes, Dixon nods and smiles while looking back toward the court, saying, "The kid can shoot."

In a summer league filled with players from powerhouse conferences and programs, Cornell's Nolan Cressler might be getting the most attention. Official stats aren't kept in the summer league, but by one unofficial count, the former Plum High School player scored 38 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in one game last week.

He got to 38 by shooting 8 of 13 from 3-point range, impressive even in a league where defense isn't placed at a premium.

So yes, the kid can shoot.

"I think he has unlimited potential," said Bill Courtney, Cressler's coach at Cornell. "We've basically given him the green light on offense to take shots. I think when you have that type of ability, there's no telling what he can accomplish here. I'm hoping in the next few years he becomes all-league and the type of player who challenges for player of the year in our league."

Cressler is a big 6-foot-4 wing, with broader shoulders than most guards his size. He plays the shooting guard/secondary ball-handler in Cornell's three-guard system, so he got a lot of opportunities to score during his freshman season.

In 31 games, Cressler averaged a little more than nine points per game -- good for fourth on the team -- and shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range. He started about a third of Cornell's games, having a roller-coaster type of season, which is normal for freshman players. …

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