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An Exclusive BASN Interview with Coach James Jones, Yale
WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT –-James Jones was named the 22nd head basketball coach at Yale on April 27,1999.It took him less than three years to win a postseason game,an NIT victory over Rutgers of the Big East.Never before in the 107-year history of Yale basketball had a team won a postseason game.pretty amazing stuff.Blackathlete Sports Network recently caught up with coach Jones in his office in storied Payne Whitney Gymnasium on the campus of Yale University:
BASN:Was Yale your first Division 1 head offer?
JJ:Yes it was.
BASN:Did you have any trepidations about taking over such an historically losing Program?
JJ:Not a one.I was once an assistant at Yale and I knew that it could be done here.
JJ:We have a great Athletic Director,wonderful facilities and who can argue with a Yale education?
BASN:But your gym only seats 3,000 fans.
JJ:Yes that is right but it can sure get loud.That Princeton-Penn weekend last year was amazing.
BASN:Who was your first marquee recruit?
JJ:Well as you know the Ivies don’t give out athletic scholarships, but all of our recruits were offered at least one Division 1 scholarship.Edwin Draughan of California, a sophomore was offered by Rutgers,Providence and Long Beach State and he chose us.
BASN:What was your biggest win so far at Yale?
JJ:Probably Rutgers in the NIT.I still show that game on tape to recruits.But Clemson on the road was big and beating Princeton and Penn at home was great.
BASN:Who is your biggest rival?
JJ:Harvard for sure in all sports.But Princeton and Penn are close.
BASN:Tell us about the Ivies this year?
JJ:Penn is a Top 25 team.We return all of our starters.Princeton has a great team back and has added shooter Spencer Gloger, a transfer from UCLA.Brown is also potentially good.
BASN:How is the Conference rated?
JJ:We may creep into the top ten of all Conferences this season.
BASN:Can you attract major national teams into your building?
JJ:We have Wake Forest coming in next season.We would like to get UConn but apparently it doesn’t make sense to them financially.
BASN:Will you be at Yale next season?
JJ:I love it here.I have every plan to be back.I was contacted by some big Programs after last season and I chose to stay.My wife and daughter are very comfortable with the area around here.