Ivy 60 for 60: Justin Sears

Justin Sears excelled with joy in his four-year Yale basketball career, becoming just the sixth man to be named Ivy Player of the Year twice. (Justin Sears | Twitter)

Ivy Hoops Online announces the next entry in Ivy 60 for 60, our series running through 60 of the greatest players in Ivy League men’s basketball history to continue celebrating six decades of modern Ivy League basketball. An Ivy 60 for 60 for Ivy women’s basketball will follow.

He is the only player in the history of Yale basketball to be Ivy Player of the Year two years in a row. He was a fan favorite at John J. Lee Amphitheater throughout his career.  He hails from Plainfield, N.J.  He was a high school star with scholarship offers from many high level D-1 teams, but he chose academics first, much to the satisfaction of his parents.

His name is Justin Sears.

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Ivy 60 for 60: Rick Kaminsky

 

Rick Kaminsky averaged 20 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over the course of his three-year varsity basketball career at Yale. (Yale Class of 64)

Ivy Hoops Online announces the next entry in Ivy 60 for 60, our series running through 60 of the greatest players in Ivy League men’s basketball history after a hiatus to continue celebrating six decades of modern Ivy League basketball. An Ivy 60 for 60 for Ivy women’s basketball will follow.

Bill Bradley is without question the greatest Ivy League player ever. The 1965 Princeton graduate and New York Knicks star was rarely, if ever, held at bay.

But there is one exception. And that player played for Yale.

Rick Kaminsky, Yale ’64, had many great duels and battles with Bradley, both home and on the road. Kaminsky himself may be the greatest Eli hoopster of them all.

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Yale basketball 1962-64 teams reunion dinner

On October 1, eight members of the Yale men’s basketball teams of 1962, 1963 and 1964 met at Payne Whitney Gymnasium for a reunion dinner.

The author was lucky enough to be in attendance, having watched those teams play as a youth growing up in New Haven. Some of the team members present were All-American Rick Kaminsky, highly successful Ivy Funds originator Dennis Lynch and Connecticut resident and star guard Bob Trupin.

The evening was composed of a very well-done slide show and talks to the crowd by Kaminsky, 93-year-old former head coach Joe Vancisin and myself.

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Yale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

The 1961-62 Yale Bulldogs are undoubtedly one of the greatest teams in school history, finishing 13-1 in Ivy play and 18-6 overall while securing the Ivy League championship, the program’s second in a six-year span.

Read moreYale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

Yale all-time moment No. 8: Elis tie Bill Bradley and company

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

The 1962-63 Yale Bulldogs were solid.

Fresh off a NCAA Tournament appearance the previous year and led by legend Rick Kaminsky, the Elis finished 13-10, and more importantly, 11-3 in Ivy play, including a 62-61 win at Jadwin Gym (capping a four-game win streak over Princeton).

The first-year varsity star Bill Bradley-led Tigers had their revenge, though, nipping the Elis, 61-58, in New Haven on Feb. 9 and again in the Ivy playoff game on March 9, 65-53. Thus the 1962-63 season marked the first non-NCAA Tournament season in a 53-season streak that is still running. Still, the 1963 Elis won a share of the Ivy League championship and cemented their place in Ivy history.