Zampier, Jones Get Homecoming Sunday At Albany

James Jones. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
James Jones. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Continue Busy Stretch Against Great Danes

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - So far this season, the Bulldogs have played only three of 13 games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale faces another road game on Sunday at Albany, but for two members of the Bulldogs basketball family, it will feel at least a little bit like home. Senior captain Alex Zampier is an East Greenbush, N.Y., native, which is less than 10 miles from Albany, and head coach James Jones is a 1986 Albany graduate. Tipoff at SEFCU Arena is slated for 4 p.m. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable TW3, which is only available in parts of upstate New York.

Zampier, who graduated as the second all-time leading scorer at Columbia High School with 1,381 points, leads the Ivy League in scoring (18.9 ppg.). He is coming off a 31-point performance against Colorado State on Thursday. It was the second time this season he reached the 30-point mark. He had 35 in the season opener against Sacred Heart, the most by a Yale player since Butch Graves had 39 against Harvard in 1983. Zampier has 886 career points and 110 three-pointers. His 141 steals are the second most in school history, 16 behind Daniel Okonkwo. Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, is in his 11th year at Yale. He is making his second trip to Albany. The Bulldogs dropped a 77-69 overtime decision in 2000 in his first year. Yale has enjoyed a great deal of success under Jones since then. The Bulldogs shared the Ivy League title in 2001-02, won the first post-season tournament game in school history (over Rutgers in the 2002 NIT) and have finished in the top half of the league in each of the last nine years.



Yale and Albany are playing for only the third time and both teams have one victory. The Bulldogs won the last meeting, 73-61 on Dec. 8, 2001, in New Haven.


The Great Danes (4-10) are playing their first home game since a 71-66 victory over Robert Morris on Nov. 22. Albany is coming off an 87-70 loss to ninth-ranked North Carolina on Dec. 30. Will Harris, who leads the team in scoring (15.9 ppg.), scored 22 points against the Tar Heels. UNC was the second nationally ranked opponent for the Great Danes, who opened the season with a 75-43 loss to then 25th-ranked Syracuse. Yale is the second Ivy League opponent for Albany, who topped Penn 78-60 at the Palestra.

BULLDOGS PICKED 5TH IN PRESEASON IVY POLLThe 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


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 was Nov. 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Classic moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in 2010. 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.


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.


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 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.


• 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 made 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 played four games in this year's tournament.

• The game with Quinnipiac on Nov. 21 capped a busy day on the Yale campus. The 126th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game was played at noon at Yale Bowl. Yale and Quinnipiac had 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