With teams a few short weeks away from actual games, here is a collection of off-season stories to catch up on before the start of the 2018-2019 season.
We caught up with Yale women’s basketball coach Allison Guth, who is embarking on her fourth season helming the Bulldogs and fresh off a recent contract extension through the 2023-24 season.
Ivy Hoops Online: Not many teams have an opportunity to win their last game of the season. Yale did last year, winning the WBI. What was that experience like?
Allison Guth: Anytime your team can experience a “one and done” tournament setting is a benefit to the growth of your program. Having your back against the wall and needing to get the “W” to advance proves a mental toughness and fortitude. Our team was able to grow as a result of winning one in a row four times to earn a postseason championship.
IHO: You did suffer some major graduation losses. Can you assess how that impacts the team?
Yale athletic director Vicky Chun announced Friday that the school had signed women’s basketball coach Allison Guth to a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. This follows a season, where the Bulldogs made its first appearance in the Ivy Tournament, earned 19 wins and won the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) Tournament championship. Said Chun in the Athletic Department announcement, “Allison Guth has proven herself to be an excellent coach, recruiter and mentor. Yale women’s basketball is in great hands with her leading the way.”
In three years as Yale’s head coach, Guth has an overall record of 48-38 with a five-win improvement between years one and three. In the Ivy League, she is 19-23 with a 8-6 mark last season. She is in her second stint at Yale, where she was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2010-2012. “Having the support of tremendous visionaries like President (Peter) Salovey and Vicky Chun make my job especially rewarding,” said Guth in the program’s announcement. “I am incredibly grateful for the belief that our leadership at Yale has in our program’s growth, knowing that this opportunity exists because of our fantastic staff and players who have worked relentlessly to build a championship culture.”
Since Ivy recruits do not sign National Letters of Intent, the Athletic Departments of the Ancient Eight schools cannot comment on student-athletes’ commitments until after they are formally accepted and place their deposits. As a result, the following list is a summary of committed recruits for the Class of 2023 that have been obtained from searching the internet.
If any reader has any athlete to add to the list, please send a note to email@example.com.
On Sunday, Chad Ludington, a former Yale men’s basketball player, issued a statement to the New York Times that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was not truthful about his drinking history during his Thursday testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. After watching the Judge discuss his past behavior during a Fox News interview and under oath in front of the judiciary committee last week, Ludington felt it was civic duty to come forward to tell of his experience drinking with Kavanaugh during their undergraduate years. In addition to the Times, the former ballplayer planned on telling the information to the FBI in Raleigh, N.C, on Monday.
According to a report at Yahoo.com, Kavanaugh, a Yale undergraduate from 1983-1987, tried out for the Bulldogs’ varsity team in the fall of 1983, but was cut by then-coach Tom Brennan. After time spent playing on the junior varsity basketball team and reporting on the varsity program for the Yale Daily News, Kavanaugh attended Yale Law School from 1987-1990. Following his graduation, he became a clerk for Judge Walter King Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a fellow with the Solicitor General of the United States, a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a member of Ken Starr’s Office of the Independent Counsel, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, an associate of the White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, an Assistant to President George W. Bush, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a nominee for an Associate Justice position of the U.S. Supreme Court.
JJ: We were approached by the Pac-12 with this once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was an experience we couldn’t pass on.
While there were no head coaching changes in the Ivy League for the second straight year, there was plenty of action among the conference’s assistants and directors of basketball operations. Here are some of the highlights:
The Yale men’s basketball team finished 2016-17 third in the Ivy League regular season, but a semifinal upset of rival Harvard propelled them into a runner-up spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament. With the expected return of 2015-16 first team All-Ivy point guard Makai Mason from a major foot injury, the Bulldogs were expected to be in the thick of last year’s race. While the team was chosen second to the Crimson by only three points in the preseason media poll, Yale actually had two more first-place votes. Unfortunately, Mason and forward Jordan Bruner both sustained injuries in the preseason that effectively kept them on the bench for the entirety of the 2017-18 campaign.
Despite those major blows and a 2-4 start to league play, coach James Jones was able to rally his Elis (16-15 overall, 9-5 Ivy) to a second consecutive third-place showing. While Yale defeated co-champion Penn by one point in New Haven on the regular season’s penultimate evening, the Quakers ended the Bulldogs season with a 80-57 victory at the Palestra in the Ivy Tournament semifinal. For 2018-19, Yale will add a class of five first-years to a squad that will return its entire starting lineup and Bruner (8.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 22.4 minutes per game in ’16-’17). Even if the team cannot stay healthy, their depth allows them to be a good bet to stay in the conference’s upper division for the 19th straight season. If the coach can get his squad to avoid the injury bug (maybe skip the scrimmage against brother Joe Jones’ Boston University, where Mason and Bruner were both injured in successive seasons), a regular season and postseason title should be within their grasp.
While missing out on the first Ivy Tournament in 2017, the Yale women’s team completed the season on a roll, winning four of its last five games, including victories against third place Harvard and league champion Penn. Entering her third year as head coach, Allison Guth hoped to use that momentum to catapult her Bulldogs into the conference’s upper division in 2018. On the strength of its senior stars, the tenacious Elis (19-13, 8-6 Ivy) earned the fourth spot in last season’s Ivy Madness, as well as an invitation to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) Tournament.
After strong wins in the first two rounds of the WBI, Yale defeated South Alabama in the semifinals, coming back from an 11 point deficit with two minutes remaining in regulation. A 54-50 victory at Central Arkansas gave the Bulldogs its record setting 19th win and the WBI championship, the first postseason title of any kind for an Ivy League women’s program. Coach Guth will need to find a way to replace the production and leadership from its recently graduated class, if the Elis want to get back to the postseason and secure home court advantage in the third Ivy Tournament.
Following the recent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the Yale Daily News noted that the Eli alum (’83-’87 Undergrad; ’87-’90 Law) was once a writer at the paper’s sports department. While journalists and commentators across the nation scour and highlight his voluminous legal output, we here at IHO have looked at his writings to take a (lengthy) look back at his work with the 1985-1986 Yale men’s basketball team.
The Bulldogs finished the 1984-1985 season with a 14-12 overall record and a 7-7 mark in the Ivy League. They were tied for fourth with Harvard and Princeton, three games off the pace of league champ Penn, two games behind Columbia and one game back of Cornell. Yale won five of its last seven, including a home sweep of the Empire State Ivies and a 77-75 victory over the Quakers at the Palestra. Sophomore center Chris Dudley, who averaged 12.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, was named to the All-Ivy first team.
Penn, led by first team All-Ivy junior guard Perry Bromwell and junior center Bruce Lefkowitz, was the preseason favorite to win the conference. In his November 21, 1985 season preview, Kavanaugh wrote, “Penn finished 10-4 in the Ivies last season, and their four losses were by a total of only 11 points. If they are disciplined and play as a team under new coach Tom Schneider, the Quakers should repeat as champions.” According to the coaches preseason poll, Yale was picked second, followed by Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown. Kavanaugh predicted a similar top five with Dartmouth, Brown, and Harvard in the bottom three spots.