Former Dartmouth assistant coach John Andrzejek has joined Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State as its director of analytics. This will be Andrzejek’s third stint with the former Lions head coach. While completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy in just two and a half years from Columbia in 2013, Andrzejek served as the Lions’ team manager during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before being hired as the team’s director of basketball operations in July of 2014. He stayed in that spot until the 2016-2017 season, when he went west to join Smith as the University of San Francisco’s director of basketball operations for a year.
Record: 8-9 Overall and 1-0 Ivy (4-2 Home; 4-7 Away)
Rankings: KenPom #196; Bart Torvik #212; TeamRankings #152
Sharing the Rock, Defensive Rebounding and Two-Point Shooting
Over the previous three seasons, Yale has been in the top 100 for assists. After the first half of the 2017-18 campaign, the Bulldogs are tops in the conference averaging 18.4 assists a game and their 67.2 percent rate is second in the country.
The Elis have a defensive rebounding rate of 73.0 percent, which is fourth in the Ivy League and top 90 nationally. While it may not be as high as the program’s 75.7 percent rate in its historic ‘15-‘16 season (top 10 nationally), it is on pace to be the second-best performance in the last 10 years.
Defense and offensive rebounding have been the calling cards for Yale head basketball coach James Jones ever since his arrival in New Haven in 1999. Right now, he sits as the dean of Ivy basketball coaches, the winningest Yale coach in history and the only Yale coach to guide the Elis to an NCAA win, a victory over favored Baylor in Providence in 2016.
Last year, Yale finished at 18-11 and 9-5 in the Ivies and just a game away from another NCAA tourney. In the first season of the Ivy postseason tourney, the Elis won a thrilling game over Harvard before falling by 12 to Princeton at the Palestra as the Tigers capped a 16-0 run through Ivy competition.
There was a minor shock send through college basketball earlier this week, when Jaelin Llewellyn committed to Princeton for the fall of 2018. Llewelyn, a 6’2” point guard from Canada attending the Virginia Episcopal School, is a four-star recruit that chose the Tigers over Virginia, Purdue, Northwestern, Clemson, Minnesota, Stanford, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, George Washington, Creighton, Rhode Island, UNLV, and conference rival Harvard.
They call him Mister Bibbs
Tai Bibbs of West Chicago High School committed to Columbia Friday following a visit to the school between March 26 and 28. The Lions had previously given Bibbs and offer before he signed to Drake. After Drake’s coach resigned, Bibbs was given his release and Columbia won out over Dartmouth, Lafayette, Fordham, Rice, Cal-Davis, Loyola, New Mexico State, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and Toledo. The 6′ 3″ two-star combo guard, who was named the captain of the Chicago Daily Herald DuPage All-Area Boys Basketball Team, averaged 26.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game, while connecting on 74 made three-pointers and 77 percent of his free throws. Bibbs, who follows Mike Smith to Columbia from the Land of Lincoln, is another strong addition to a Lions recruiting class that already has Jaron Faulds, Gabriele Stefanini, Randall Brumant, Myles Hanson and Jake Klores.
In time for the conclusion of Women’s History Month and the Women’s NCAA Tournament, the Human Rights Campaign discussed five LGBTQ players and coaches who have courageously chosen to be open and authentic in their sexual identity. One of these athletes is Cornell senior Nicholle Aston. The suburban Los Angeles native ended her Big Red basketball career in the top 16 in field-goal percentage, made field goals, points, total rebounds, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, blocks, games played and games started. More importantly, though, has been her volunteer work as Education and Advocacy Intern at Cornell’s LGBT Resource Center and President of the school’s chapter of Athlete Ally. With the support of coaches, teammates and allies, Aston has grown into a leader on and off the court, making the entire East Hill community a stronger and more accepting place.
What happened last year (23-7, 13-1): Nothing to see here, just the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 54 years and a thrilling NCAA first-round win over Baylor. Now graduated forward Justin Sears picked up a second straight Ivy Player of the Year award and now-junior guard Makai Mason established himself as a potential Ivy Player of the Year in future seasons with his clutch play all year, including a 31-point performance against Baylor.
For a deeper look back at Yale’s banner year, read our Ian Halpern’s comprehensive chronicle from April of the Bulldogs’ rise to championship history.