Yale Season Preview – Retribution

If one word could encapsulate Yale’s upcoming season, that word would be retribution.


The Elis lost the Ivy League championship and the coveted NCAA bid by a total of three points over two games within one week last March. As Bulldogs fans already know, they first fell at Dartmouth, 59-58, in a game which would have been the clincher and then they lost in a playoff at the Palestra, against arch-rival Harvard, by two.They have not been to the NCAAs since 1962.They were strangely denied an NIT bid, an eventuality which the Ivy office bears fault for not enough marketing of its teams during the season.
Yale won 22 games under all-time winningest coach James Jones, the school’s most since 1948-49.Those wins included one over then-defending national champion UConn on the road.

This year the Elis play another defending National Champion in Duke and take a road trip to powerhouse SMU, as well as a trip to Illinois.

You don’t hear the team members using the word retribution, but it’s lurking at every practice.

The Elis bonded as a team in August, with a number of practices before a successful trip to Australia.

Yale, the preseason writers’ favorite to win the Ivies for the first time ever, is led by last year’s Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears. As Sears goes, Yale goes. The 6’8” New Jersey native averaged 14.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. He will need to do the same, if not more, for Yale to meet expectations. Sears has a propensity for putting up big numbers and then disappearing offensively for minutes at a time, in some games. He scores most of his points on twisting moves from the inside and a finely honed baby hook. He is already on the watch list for the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year.

Senior Jack Montague, the Ivy leader in three-point shooting last season and a 50 percent shooter in threes in out of conference play, returns as does assist king, Makai Mason. 6-5 senior Nick Victor is a versatile and smart guard, who can hit from three with consistency and also play lockdown defense. All three will play major roles.

Brandon Sherrod returns as a senior, after taking the season off to sing with the world- famous Whiffenpoofs and the 6-6 forward and consummate athlete, will be counted on to rebound and score at and away from the basket. He did that as a junior.

The backcourt is much thinner without Brandon Sherrod and Javier Duren, probably the best duo in the Ivies and one of the best in the country last year.

The Bulldogs will also have to rely on contributions from 6-7 freshman, Blake Reynolds, 6-6 (and appropriately named) Eli Lininger and athletic 6-6 Matt Greene from prep power Hotchkiss, as well as a talented and deep group of other freshmen.

1 thought on “Yale Season Preview – Retribution”

  1. The NCAA is experimenting with a rule change this season in which a team that calls time-out in the final minute of regulation or overtime will be permitted to inbound the ball in the front court.

    If the rule change is eventually implemented, then Justin Sears’ end-of-the-game gaffe against Dartmouth last year will go down in history as a never-to-be-equalled mental error. Never again in college basketball will a player make such a terrible mistake. Sears will stand alone in his particular room of the Hall of Shame.

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