Not dissimilar from the NCAA Tournament, the Ivy held open shootarounds for the public and press conferences involving coaches and top players yesterday at the Palestra.
One could only wonder during the Yale men’s noon practice what could have been, with arguably the team’s two best players, Jordan Bruner and Makai Mason on the bench, injured and unable to play.
Coach James Jones summed up Mason by noting,”If Makai didn’t have bad luck,he wouldn’t have luck at all,” adding that Mason thinks he may have mono.
Princeton coach Courtney Banghart of Princeton was outspoken in her press conference about the tournament venue. She didn’t find it fully fair that a 1 seed could play a 2 seed on the 2 seed’s home floor, obviously alluding to a possible matchup with Penn on Sunday.
Yale coach Allison Guth of Yale,was, as usual, energetic and effusive. She was thrilled to be in Philly as a participant and not a spectator like she was last season. She felt that her season turned with a stunning early season upset at TCU.
Among those in attendance were former Ivy Player of the Year for Princeton and Brown coach Craig Robinson, the father of Princeton star Leslie Robinson and, of course, the brother of Michelle Obama.
Columbia associate athletic director Joe Quinlan, despite not having a team in the fray, studiously observed most of the 45-minute practice sessions,hoping that either or both of his Lion squads will participate in the tourney next season.
Yale’s star guard and Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Tamara Simpson was asked about her propensity for notching steals and in turn talked at length about her weakness as an offensive player as a youth, causing her to turn her focus on to defense. Obviously, it has paid dividends for both her and Yale as she led the league in steals and finished third nationally in that category.