From Cornell to Princeton-Jeff Foote and Zach Hyman

From Cornell to Princeton

Last night I had the opportunity to speak with someone from Cornell and someone from Princeton on the Rusty Mike Sports Show with Andy Gershman and Ari Louis. Talk about intellect! We spoke to these two fine individuals during a 45 minute period and not only learnt about their prowess for sports but their prowess for being well spoken, intelligent and ambitious gentlemen.

Jeff Foote from Cornell, has just signed a three year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv after leading the Big Red to the Sweet 16 in this past years NCAA tournament, knocking off Temple and Wisconsin before falling to the University of Kentucky led by John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

The other fine young man is 18 year old Zach Hyman from Toronto, drafted this past week by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry draft held in Los Angeles, who will be attending Princeton beginning in 2011. Zach is the Captain of the Hamilton Red Wings out of the CCHL and a true leader both on and off the ice.

Foote is a 7 ft center who helped Cornell become a basketball powerhouse in the Ivy League. His 12 points 8 rebounds a game attests o his fine on court action where he plays not only terrific defense swatting 2 blocks per contest, but he can play with his back to the basket a key ingredient that Maccabi has not had since the departure of Nikolai Vujcic.

But Foote brings much, much more to the table than the above. He brings a solid basketball intelligence and knowledge to the game and may be that leader that Maccabi has sorely missed these past few years.

Foote who as a sophomore had the opportunity to play in Cameron Indoor, home of the Duke Blue Devils, will know exactly what type of crowd he will be walking into at Nokia Arena, hopefully this fall.

I say hopefully because there are rumors abound that Jeff will spend a year honing his skills at another location in Europe before coming over to Maccabi. I believe that this would be a mistake and that Maccabi needs Foote now. His skills may need some refining, but why not let him learn here in one of the most amazing basketball cities in the world.

We the fans want to see him now, and will be disappointed if he has to ply his trade elsewhere first. I am closing my eyes right now and imagining the PA announcer say, “And at center, at seven feet from Cornell, number 1, Jeff Foote!” That would sound mighty fine at Nokia with 11,000 rabid fans decked out in yellow cheering him on. It doesn’t get much better than that!

However, Foote believes in dreams and it can get better than Nokia with the NBA being one of those dreams. This is a great opportunity for him to grow, improve and help Maccabi while also helping himself reach for those dreams.

Zach Hyman a graduate from CHAT Tannebaum in Toronto will be attending Princeton in 2011 after taking this year to hone his skills and dedicate himself to fulltime hockey for the Hamilton Red Wings of the CCHL.

Zach was drafted 123rd overall in the 5th round by the Florida Panthers and may be a huge key to their success down the road. At 6”2 200 pounds, Zach is still growing and will be a true force as a power forward. Both at Princeton and beyond.

But he is not only a force as hockey player but as a leader, both on and off the ice. Hyman, captain of the Red Wings leads by example with hard work and effort that propelled him to be an NHL draft pick. While discussing his bright future last night, Hyman really impressed me.

Firstly, he noted that before every game he would give a short talk to his teammates before taking the ice. Yes, captains across the sports spectrum give pep talks, but as an 18 year old it is not the easiest thing to do. Personalities are still being developed and he has to lead by example. Some people have the gift to be a true leader, and Zach is one of those people. Secondly his statistics are terrific and as he said he loves scoring goals. He had 35 of them while adding 40 assists for 75pts in 49 games last season. So not only does he lead off the ice in the locker room he leads his team on the ice by putting up some serious numbers. He can talk the talk and walk the walk.

Next he went to one of the largest if not the largest and most well known Jewish High School in Canada, CHAT, where he had to balance a dual curriculum of Jewish and secular subjects while playing, practicing, eating and drinking hockey day and night. No easy feat, believe me, I did it through college, except I didn’t even play hockey!

And his dedication paid off by being accepted to one of the finest colleges in the United States, Princeton. Zach is a student athlete in the truest sense of the term.

And to top all of that, I noticed that he had become friends with a gentleman by the name of Jimmy Devellano. Yes, that Jimmy Devellano. Architect of the Detriot Red Wings and General Manager of the Stanley Cup Chmapions in 1997, 1998, 2002 & 2008. He also has a World Series ring as Senior Vice President of the 2006 World Champion Detroit Tigers.

When I mentioned his relationship with Jimmy Devellano, he would only refer to him as Mr. Devellano and what kind of honour it is for him to have this relationship.

Now how down to earth and put together is Zach Hyman? Well I will even go further, after thanking him last night for coming on the Sports Show he thanked us for having him! Zach, it was our pleasure. You are a true “Mensch”, a good person with an extremely bright future ahead of you.

To both of you, Jeff and Zach, keep up the good work, keep working hard and all of your dreams will be fulfilled. We will be watching your progress and we will see how both of you will grow in your new environments. Change and success are not always easy to handle, but I have no doubt that the two of you will succeed!

The rebroadcast of these interviews can be heard between 3-4pm Eastern Time on Thursday. The complete show runs from begins at 2pm. Podcasts will be available for these interviews in the near future. Log onto and click the Listen Live link. Enjoy!

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