Q&A with Yale guard Matt Cotton

Matt Cotton is averaging 8.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game this season through 12 games. (Yale Athletics)

Matt Cotton is a Yale sophomore guard from Voorhees, N.J., where he was an all-state player. He is currently averaging 8.2 points per game in a key reserve role for the young Elis. He notched 13 points in Yale’s overtime win at UMass Wednesday. 

Ivy Hoops Online: How has your game grown from your freshman year to your sophomore year?
Matt Cotton: After playing against and learning from all of the upperclassmen last season, I had to work on every facet of my game. There is a drastic jump from high school to college as everyone is much bigger, stronger, more athletic, and overall just better players. Because of this, I mainly had to focus on my strength. Becoming a more consistent shooter and ball handling was a key focus this summer. Watching past games and paying attention to defense and different reads in our offense further helped me prepare for this season.

IHO: What have been the keys to this Yale season thus far?
MC: Our attention to detail and effort on the defensive end has been the difference for our team. Coming into the year, the team understood how much we were losing as Jordan (Bruner) was the only starter returning. All of the coaches have been preaching the importance of finishing every defensive possession and we have really bought in. Each player does their best to apply our defensive principles, pay attention to the scout, and communicating making us a cohesive unit. Our mentality is that our defense is going to travel. Some nights shots may not fall or we are not clicking offensively, but if we are able to stop our opponent then we will be successful.
IHO: What have you focused on during the out-of-conference schedule?
MC: I have been using this nonconference schedule to gain as much experience as possible and learning from every mistake. By (the time) league (play) hits, I expect to help the team by spreading the floor, being a versatile defender, rebounding and making plays for others.

IHO: Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
MC: I would have to say Penn State is the best team we have played so far. Their physicality and ability to use their size and athleticism to disrupt offenses makes them effective. Coach (Pat) Chambers really gets his guys to buy in and give their best effort on both sides of the ball. Their individual talent also makes them a tough team to play against.

IHO: Have you followed the Ivies to date?
MC: I have been able to catch games of every team in our league and have been looking at all of the box scores. Every team in our league is very good with many threats, so we are going to have to come out and give our best effort every time we step on the floor.

IHO: What are your plans after Yale?
MC: After college, I hope to be blessed enough to have an opportunity to continue playing basketball. Ultimately, my goal is to have a career working in finance.

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