Our Richard Kent caught up with Yale junior guard and March Madness standout Makai Mason and talked to him about what Yale fans can expect from next year’s Bulldogs team as the program defends its 2015-16 Ivy championship and much more:
Ivy Hoops Online: Do you feel that declaring for the NBA draft benefited you as a player and if so, how?
Makai Mason: Not particularly.
IHO: Compare and contrast this coming Yale team with the team from last season.
MM: I’m very excited about next year’s team. Coming into last season, I think everyone pretty much knew what we had coming back. We had proven pieces at every starting position, and I was probably the only question mark for people outside our team. Losing Brandon (Sherrod) and Justin (Sears) as well as Nick (Victor), Jack (Montague) and Khaliq (Ghani) won’t be losses that we can just plug in guys for. That being said, Brandon surprised some people in the league last year with the great year he had, and I expect Sam Downey to shock some people this year as well. Our team is exciting in terms of the opportunity that the departing seniors gives to a lot of guys you have been battling in practice for time and will be ready. Having Anthony Dallier back in the fold will anchor our team with his heady play. Trey Phills and Blake Reynolds in particular showed flashes of what they could do last year and I expect those two to show that consistently this year. All of our guys will be fighting for minutes and there will be great competition at each spot which will better us as a team. Also looking forward to the incoming freshman class and the contributions that they will make. I’m guessing that most people won’t have us finishing at the top of the league and I’m excited to prove a bunch of people wrong again this year.
IHO: Are you a proponent of the Ivy Tournament?
MM: I am in favor of the Ivy League Tournament. It will hopefully bring more attention to the league and should be a great atmosphere for the final four teams. I think the biggest positive is that the tournament allows teams that may struggle early on in Ivy play to still have a chance at making it in the top half of the league and compete for an NCAA bid.
IHO: What is your workout regimen over the summer?
MM: I lift usually six times a week, trying to put on significant muscle mass. Other than that, speed workouts and jump workouts twice a week each. For basketball usually every day unless I have some sort of nagging injury. The basketball stuff usually consists of ball handling for about 30 minutes, then ball screen work, creating spaces moves on the perimeter and different finishes. It has been nice to be able to add stuff to my game and I can’t wait for the season.