Yale junior guard Gabby Nelson reflects on homecoming trip, victory over TCU

Editor’s note: Yale junior guard Gabby Nelson is a from Hurst, Tex. Nelson played in a homecoming game for her as the Elis upset TCU on the road 82-72 last Monday, starting her first game ever for the Elis and posting a career scoring high with six points. (Yale is off to a 3-1 start this season.) Nelson agreed to reflect on the trip out west this past week for Ivy Hoops Online’s Richard Kent.

This past week, Yale Women’s Basketball traveled to play two fierce Big 12 opponents: Kansas and TCU. This trip served as an opportunity to bring three players back home and to play very high-level basketball.

We started off the six-day trip flying into Kansas City and going directly to the men’s game against South Dakota State. The atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse was something I have never experienced firsthand. Even though the women’s game did not receive as much attention, it was still a once in a lifetime experience to play on such an iconic court. As for the game against Kansas, we wish we had another shot at them. We were the better team, but small mistakes and mental errors down the stretch were our undoing. Kansas did not beat us; we beat ourselves. Despite the disappointing loss, I think it was a learning experience that will help us throughout the season.

The Kansas trip was also special because it gave us the opportunity to bring home the one and only Jessica Steffen. We had the opportunity to hang out with her wonderful friends and family. The love and pride everyone had for Jessica and her accomplishments speaks volumes about her character and dedication that she brings every day.

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Yale’s Jordan Bruner out for season, Makai Mason to miss up to two months

As first reported by NBC Sports, Yale has lost sophomore forward Jordan Bruner and Yale senior guard Makai Mason to injury, Bruner for the entire season and Mason for up to two months.

Mason is reportedly dealing with a stress fracture in his right foot, the same foot that was broken in a scrimmage against Boston University before the start of the 2016-17 campaign, causing him to miss the entire season.

Mason was wearing a device in his shoe to take pressure off the area that he hurt last year, the New Haven Register reported, adding that he likely wound up putting more pressure on the rest of his foot, where he developed the stress fracture.

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Paul Atkinson well-positioned to make a difference in Yale’s frontcourt

Sam Downey was a force underneath for Yale last season, finely tuning his post moves were finally tuned and helping the Elis reach the Ivy League Tournament championship game at The Palestra.
The Elis return a strong group of guards in Makai Mason, Trey Phills, Alex Copeland and Miye Oni, which puts them at the top of the conference in terms of Ancient Eight backcourts. But how to replace Downey?

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Blue Madness insights from Yale coach James Jones

Yale’s Blue Madness scrimmage on Thursday night was a fun and loose affair for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.  Unlike the Cornell Red-White Scrimmage earlier in the week, there was little chance for anyone to get injured.

After introductions of both squads, the two teams held a three-point shooting contest, with Blake Reynolds defeating Jen Berkowitz in the finals.  In the slam dunk contest, Trey Phills captured his second team title, defeating Jordan Bruner in the finals with a 360-degree jam.

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Yale to start 2017-18 season with a bang, won’t finish with a whimper

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.

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Yale women’s basketball hopes to build on late-season momentum for ‘17-’18

After loses to Harvard and Princeton, the Yale women’s basketball team found itself at 2-7 in league play, one game ahead of last place.  With upcoming games against undefeated Penn and third-place Harvard, it would have been easy to give up and play out the season.  

But the Elis won four of their last five games, including back-to-back victories over the Quakers and Crimson, to end up one game out of the Ivy Tournament.  The Bulldogs will look to build on this late-season success to move into the conference’s upper division for 2017-18.

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Yale men’s basketball releases schedule and picks up bulletin-board inspiration for 2017-18

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.

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Mason’s graduate transfer: an important decision in more ways than one

Makai Mason, once a Bear-buster, is Baylor-bound come 2018. (Fansided)

Last week, Andrew Slater of 247 Sports reported that Yale rising senior Makai Mason will attend Baylor University in the fall of 2018 as a graduate transfer.  The 2015-16 first-team All-Ivy guard missed all of last season due to a foot injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage against Boston University.  Mason, who was recently named the Yale captain for the upcoming season, averaged 16.0 points, 3.8 assists, and 32.7 minutes of playing time per game in his sophomore campaign.

Mason declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, but withdrew his name a few days after the combine.  Since he did not choose an agent, he returned to Yale and retained his last two years of eligibility.  After his first-semester injury, Mason decided to continue his studies at Yale instead of taking a leave of absence, as opposed to Alex Rosenberg at Columbia or Siyani Chambers at Harvard.  By staying in school, Mason will earn his degree in the spring of 2018 and retain one year of athletic eligibility.  Since the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to participate, he is free to play his last season at any institution the following season.  That freedom has been exercised over the last few years by Cornell’s Shonn Miller (Connecticut), Penn’s Tony Hicks (Louisville), Harvard’s Patrick Steeves (George Washington), Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola (George Washington) and Brown’s Rafael Maia (Pittsburgh).  Recently, two graduating All-Ivy Princeton players, Hans Brase (Iowa State) and Henry Caruso (Santa Clara), have added their names to this ever-growing list.

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Yale guard Makai Mason to transfer to Baylor for 2018-19 season

“I will make you recruit me.” (Fansided)

Makai Mason made a name for himself on a national level by posting 31 points in a NCAA Tournament Round of 64 win over Baylor in 2016, Yale’s first-ever win in the Big Dance.

Now Mason has decided that if you can beat ’em, join ’em.

Several sources announced Thursday that Mason would join Baylor as a graduate transfer in the 2018-19 season following one more season at Yale in 2017-18.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports reported in February that Mason would play for the Elis in the 2017-18 season and become a graduate transfer following that season.

Mason was a standout during Yale’s NCAA Tournament run in 2016 but was injured in a scrimmage in November, reportedly needing to undergo surgery to repair his foot. Yale bowed out to Duke in the Round of 32 in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

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Grading the inaugural Ivy League Tournament

After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.

And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).

From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:

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