Q&A with Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones

James Jones led Yale men’s basketball to its second ever NCAA Tournament win last week. (James Jones’s Twitter page)

Ivy Hoops Online caught up with Yale coach James Jones Wednesday following his return from Spokane, Wash., where his team notched the second ever NCAA Tournament win in program history last week with a triumph over Auburn before falling to San Diego State in the Round of 32:
Ivy Hoops Online: What were your goals and expectations at the start of the season?

James Jones: I thought we were good enough to go undefeated in the league. Unrealistic, the league is so tough. There is a perception about us in the public, but coaches around the country know better.

IHO: Your son Quincy, who will enter Villanova in September to play tennis, took a gap year and followed your team day-to-day. What was that like?

JJ: It was outstanding. He will get a championship ring. It was a respite [for him].

IHO: What were your thoughts entering the Auburn game?

JJ: I thought it would be very challenging. We were successful against Baylor (editor’s note: Yale’s first NCAA Tournament win came against Baylor in 2016) and were ahead of Kansas for 30 minutes this year.

IHO: How about San Diego State?

JJ: I was really confident. Felt great about it. They shot the three better than they did all season. We got better shots than I thought we would get.

IHO: What will Yale look like next season?

JJ: We have a core of guys coming back, and we can expect a 20-win season and an NCAA opportunity.

IHO: Talk a bit about freshman center Samson Aletan. (Editor’s note: The 6-foot-10, 223-pound Aletan averaged 2.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game in 2023-24.)

JJ: He has great promise. Could have a nice impact. Our plan was to play him against Auburn. He has size.

IHO: Are you surprised about the three Ivy players, (Penn’s) Tyler Perkins, (Harvard’s) Malik Mack and (Brown’s) Nana Owusu-Anane, all underclassmen, who entered the [transfer] portal?

JJ: Very surprised. They have not left yet. We will see what happens.

IHO: Your nephew, Jay Jones, class of 2025 from Massachusetts, just committed to Penn. Thoughts?

JJ: Proud of him making his decision. Tough to play for your father (Boston University coach Joe Jones) or your uncle.