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.

Sears played high school basketball for Plainfield High School and notched more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds there. He was a first team all-state player as a senior.

Sears’s career at Yale began as a freshman in 2012.  He wore No. 22, which was the same number worn by the 2 greatest Yale stars, John Lee and Rick Kaminsky.

As a frosh, he tied the team lead in rebounding and was second in scoring. He led the team in rebounding in 11 games and scoring in seven games.  He was the recipient of the prestigious John C. Cobb Memorial Award as the team’s Rookie of the Year.

Sears really came into his own as a sophomore.  He was a first team All-Ivy selection.  He finished third in the Ivy in scoring and fourth in rebounding.  He scored in double figures in 27 games and was a five-time Ivy Player of the Week selection.

As a junior, Sears became the first Eli to be named Ivy Player of the Year since Paul Maley in 1988, posting eight double-doubles along the way.

As a senior, he helped lead the Elis to the Ivy title and their first NCAA Tournament victory in history. In that game, he scored 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and along with Makai Mason, were the 2 undisputed stars of the game.

Coach James Jones noted, “Justin was one of the hardest working players to ever put on a Yale uniform.  He was always in the gym dedicated to improving.”

Since graduation, Sears has embarked on a professional career overseas and is currently playing for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany.

He remains one of the greatest Yale hoopsters of all time.