2009-10 Season Begins Against SHU At Connecticut 6 Classic

Bulldogs Play Three Games In Five Days

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 115th season of men's basketball at Yale kicks off with a new event - the Connecticut 6 Classic. The Bulldogs take on Sacred Heart on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport in the first game of a tripleheader featuring six Connecticut Division I schools. Central Connecticut takes on Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. followed by Hartford against Quinnipiac. Yale returns one starter and 11 letterwinners from last year's team that finished with a 13-15 overall record and an 8-6 Ivy League mark, which was good for a second-place tie with Princeton. Senior Alex Zampier is the Bulldogs' leading returner. He earned honorable mention All-Ivy recognition last year after leading the league in free throw percentage (.848) and finishing eighth in scoring (13.2 ppg.) and second in steals (1.6 per game). Yale opens the season with three games in five days. The Bulldogs play in the NIT Season Tip-off on Monday and Tuesday at UConn.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Sacred Heart have played every year since 2001, and the Bulldogs hold a 6-2 edge all-time in the series. Last year in Fairfield, Ryan Howard scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures as the Pioneers edged Yale 63-57. Alex Zampier scored 17 points for the Bulldogs. Ross Morin led all players with 20 points.

SCOUTING SACRED HEART

The Pioneers were picked to finish sixth in the 2009 Northeast Conference Pre-Season Coaches poll. Sacred Heart had a 17-14 overall record and a 12-6 mark in NEC play last year. The Pioneers reached back-to-back NEC Tournament championship games before falling to Mount St. Mary's in the semifinals last year. Corey Hassan (11.4 ppg.) and Chauncey Hardy (11.3 ppg.) are SHU's leading returning scorers.

BULLDOGS PICKED 5TH IN PRESEASON IVY POLL

The Bulldogs were picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released on Oct. 28 during a media teleconference. Yale has finished higher than projected in three of the last four years. Two-time defending champion Cornell is the overwhelming favorite. The Big Red received all 16 first-place votes. Princeton is second followed by Penn and Harvard. Columbia (sixth), Brown and Dartmouth round out the poll. The Bulldogs, who finished in a tie for second place with Princeton last year, lose four starters but return Alex Zampier, an honorable mention All-Ivy selection. Zampier led the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.848) and was eighth in scoring (13.2 ppg.) and second in steals (1.6 per game). In addition, Yale welcomes back four other players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

2009-10 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll

1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Princeton - 96
3. Penn - 92
4. Harvard - 86
5. Yale - 59
6. Columbia - 55
7. Brown - 41
8. Dartmouth - 19

CONNECTICUT 6

The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history starts this season with the formation of the Connecticut 6, a partnership between six of Connecticut's Division I schools - Yale, Central Connecticut, Fairfield, Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. The inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader is Nov. 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Classic moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in 2011. In addition to the tripleheader, a preseason All-Connecticut 6 team was selected and there will be a Connecticut 6 Player of the Week chosen each week during the season.

SNYDER-FAIR JOINS YALE STAFF

Jamie Snyder-Fair, who helped Washington & Lee make its first appearance in the ODAC championship game in 20 years last year, has joined James Jones' staff. In his one season at W&L, the Generals won 16 games, their most since 1988-89. Prior to Washington & Lee, Snyder-Fair was an assistant coach at Vassar where he helped the Brewers to 18 wins, which tied the school record. He also spent two years as an assistant at Amherst.

HEAD COACH JAMES JONES

James Jones has made quite an impact on the Yale basketball program. In 10 seasons, Jones has guided Yale to success not seen in New Haven in 40 years. In 2001-02, Jones led the Bulldogs to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 and the first postseason tournament victory in the 107-year history of Yale basketball. The team won 21 games, the second most in the modern era of Yale basketball, and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, earned his 100th victory at Yale when the Bulldogs beat Columbia on Feb. 9, 2007. He is only the fourth coach in school history with at least 100 wins. His overall record at Yale is 130-149, including a 77-63 (.550) mark in Ivy games. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 Ivy games twice during his tenure and have had a .500 or better record in league play in each of the last nine years. Three assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University) and Mark Gilbride (Clarkson).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.

SIX FORMER YALIES IN PRO RANKS

Six Yale graduates, all coached by James Jones, are currently playing professional basketball. Edwin Draughan '05 (FOS Ouest, France), Dominick Martin '06 (Illescas CLM, Spain), Matt Kyle '08 (Tunisia), Eric Flato '08 (Plymouth Raiders, England) and Ross Morin '09 (SAM Massagno, Switzerland) are playing overseas, while Travis Pinick '09 was was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 NBA D-League Draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Pinick is currently in camp trying to earn one of 10 roster spots on the D-Fenders.

2009-10 SCHEDULE NOTES

• The 2009-10 schedule features 31 regular season games, including 12 in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. It will mark the most games Yale has played in a season since 2001-02 when the Bulldogs finished 21-11.

• The Bulldogs will be making their second appearance in the Preseason NIT. Yale fell to No. 1 ranked UConn in the tournament to open the 2003-04 season. The Bulldogs are guaranteed four games in this year's tournament.

• The game with Quinnipiac on Nov. 21 will cap a busy day on the Yale campus. The 126th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game will be played at noon at Yale Bowl. Yale and Quinnipiac have met only once before, an 87-69 Bobcat win in 1999 in the Phoenix Classic at the Hartford Civic Center.

• Senior Alex Zampier has a homecoming when the Bulldogs visit Albany on Jan. 3. Zampier, an East Greenbush, N.Y., native, graduated as the second all-time leading scorer at Columbia High School with 1,381 points. Yale head coach James Jones is a 1996 Albany graduate. He played for and coached with the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only seven coaches to win more than 700 games.

• The Bulldogs open the 14-game Ivy League schedule at home against Brown on Jan. 15. Three of Yale's first four Ivy games will be at Lee Amphitheater.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity