1. What are Tarwater's strengths? Weaknesses?
Cornell Basketball Blog: Dwight is not very athletic, but he is a hard worker and is willing to do the dirty work. He is a classic tweener. He is neither a true power forward nor small forward. He likes to face up and take the three-pointer or the mid range jumper, but he'd be better served trying to score in or around the basket. He has good upper body strength and is capable of collecting points off the glass from missed shots. He's unselfish and a good passer. He's not quick enough to defend opposing small forwards and is too undersized to defend players bigger than him.
2. What are your impressions of Tarwater as a student?
CBB: Dwight is highly respected around the University off the court. He is a high character kid and is type of person you want in your program.
3. Was there any indication that Tarwater was looking to leave Cornell or did his decision take you by surprise?
CBB: Dwight was ineligible to play at Cornell. Ivy League rules prohibit graduate students. Dwight graduated from Cornell in 4 years and exhausted his eligibility in the Ivy League. The only way he could have played a 5th year is if he delayed/postponed his graduation. This would mean he would have had to pay 5 years of tuition towards an undergraduate program (no scholarships in the Ivy League). That's a lot to ask of a family that does not qualify for substantial need-based financial aid.
4. Tell us about Tarwater's athleticism. Can he dunk a basketball?
CBB: As mentioned earlier, Dwight is not athletic by Division I standards. He can dunk in the open Court. He had only 1 career dunk in his 4 years at Cornell. Cal is not getting a high flyer (and Cornell actually has a bunch of them, even at the BCS level).
5. What kind of a defender is he?
CBB: He is willing to defend and is intelligent, but his lack of quickness on the wing and lack of size underneath could be problems in the Pac12, they certainly were in the Ivy League.
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6. Tarwater's shooting percentages don't really jump off the page; what can you tell us about his stroke and his shot selection? What role did he play in the Cornell offense?
CBB: Dwight is just not a pure shooter or a scorer, plain and simple. He likes to face up and take those mid range and long range shots, but they are not within his reliable shooting range. He was a reserve for 3 years at Cornell and became a starter as a senior after several players were lost to season ending injuries.
7. Despite being only 6'6, can Tarwater play 4? How does he compensate for his lack of height?
CBB: He is strong and has good upper body strength. While he is not athletic, he is very coordinated and is capable of scoring with his back to the basket. Although his preference is to face the basket (as most college players like to do).
8. How is Tarwater as a passer?
CBB: He makes smart passes and is unselfish. I wouldn't call him a dynamic passer, but he knows when to give the ball up.
9. Tarwater scored 20+ points twice last year (against Loyola, Dartmouth). What was special or unique about those games?
CBB: Cornell was devastated last season by injuries. Frankly, Dwight received the benefit of added playing time by default and found a couple of games where he was able to score the ball. Had he played at Cornell this year, he would have returned to a reserve role on the deeper end of the rotation.
Bonus question 1: What's your favorite Finger Lake?
CBB: Cayuga Lake which is where Ithaca is situated on the southern shore. It is stunningly beautiful and surrounded by miles of wine vineyards, waterfalls, parks and picturesque little towns.
Bonus question 2: What happened to Beau Sweeney?!
CBB: Hmm, not sure.
Thanks again to the fine folks at Cornell Basketball Blog for taking the time to answer our questions!