Q&A with Yale men’s coach James Jones post-Greece trip

Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones led his squad a 3-0 showing in Greece this month. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Yale men’s basketball went 3-0 on its summer three-game, 10-day trip to Greece it wrapped Monday, led by a surprise leading scorer, sophomore forward Nick Townsend. The Bulldogs opened play by besting the Thessaloniki All-Stars, 91-75, before 89-79 and 100-94 wins over the University of Calgary, wrapping . We caught up with coach James Jones, who is entering his 25th year at Yale’s helm, upon his return:

Ivy Hoops Online: Tell us a bit about the cultural aspects of the trip.

James Jones: The food was different from anything in America. Greece is an incredible place for history.

IHO: Talk a bit about the performance of Nick Townsend. (Editor’s note: Townsend averaged 16.7 points in Yale’s three wins, leading the Bulldogs in scoring in the first two contests.)

JJ: He had played well in the practices leading up to the trip. He was good in all facets of the game. He is a different player from his brother Matt, who played for us. He has good guard skills. Should be in our rotation.

(Editor’s note: Matt Townsend played for Yale from 2011 to 2015 and was a two-time Academic All-America selection.)

IHO: Talk about your depth.

JJ: This is probably my deepest team skill-wise since I have been here, and in the trip, we were missing key contributors like [sophomore forward] Casey Simmons, [first-year center] Samson Aletan, [senior forward] Yussif Basa-Ama, (first-year guard] Trevor Mullin and [first-year guard] Jeannot Basima. All very athletic.

IHO: What was the level of competition you played against?

JJ:  Some really good individual players, one of whom will be in the G League. Others would be very good mid-major players.

IHO: Were the games competitive, and what else did you see from the team?

JJ: We won them all and were never really in jeopardy of losing any. They couldn’t stop us. [Sophomore forward] Danny Wolf played really well and showed a perimeter game.

[Editor’s note: Wolf averaged 10.3 points per game during the trip.

IHO: Talk a bit about your upcoming schedule.

JJ: We are really fortunate to have the level of competition we have with Gonzaga and Kansas and a game in Canada. Not enough out-of-conference home games, unfortunately.

This story originally incorrectly said Yale was scheduled to play Michigan State this season, instead of Kansas. We regret the error.

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