Official Practice Set To Begin As Bulldogs Prepare For 2011-12 Season

Open Season Nov. 11 Against CCSU At Mohegan Sun Arena

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's basketball team got a bit of a head start on the 2011-12 season. The Bulldogs spent 10 days in China last May and played four games. The trip allowed the Bulldogs to bond as a team and work on some things for the upcoming season. That experience, along with the return of four starters, 10 players who averaged at least seven minutes and the addition of a talented freshman class should make Yale a serious contender for the Ivy League title. The Bulldogs' first official practice is Friday afternoon.

Here is a breakdown of the 2011-12 Bulldogs:

FRONTCOURT

James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball, has a deep frontcourt at his disposal. Senior Greg Mangano was a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection last year and already has earned a number of preseason Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Mangano, who was a part of the 12-member roster that represented the United States in the 2011 World University Games over the summer, is coming off a season at Yale in which he finished ninth in the nation in blocked shots (3.0 per game) and 24th in rebounding (10.0 rpg.). He averaged 16.3 points, was a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection and earned all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Mangano led the Ivy League in rebounding and blocked shots and was second in scoring. He was the first Ivy player to average a double-double for the season since Harvard's Kyle Snowden in 1995-96. His numbers were even more impressive in Ivy games where he averaged 18.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, which both led the league.

Mangano, a four-time Ivy League Player of the Week selection, was dominant on both ends of the floor. His 85 blocks were the most in a season in school history and the third most in Ivy history. In addition, his 51 blocks in league games were a new Ivy record. He became the first Yale player since Chris Dudley in 1986-87 to average a double-double for the season.

Sophomore Jeremiah Kreisberg also gained international experience over the summer. He played for the Israel Under-20 national team at the U20 European Championship. At Yale last year, he started all 14 Ivy games and was the recipient of the team's John C. Cobb Award as rookie of the year. He was fifth on the team in scoring (7.2 rpg.) and second in rebounding (4.5 rpg.) while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.

Senior Rhett Anderson is coming off a season in which he had career highs in games (28), points (77) and rebounds (73). He made his first career start in the season opener against Quinnipiac and went on to start the first seven games of the year. Sophomore Will Bartlett earned valuable experience in his rookie season, appearing in six games off the bench. The Bulldogs should also benefit from the return of Greg Kelley, who missed all of last season with an injury.

Three freshmen will vie for time in the frontcourt as well. Will Childs-Klein averaged 18.3 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks as a senior at Ladue High School. Brandon Sherrod was the 2010 Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Stratford High School before spending one year at Choate. Matt Townsend is Horace Greeley High School's all-time leading scorer (1,516 points) and rebounder (1,021 rebounds).

BACKCOURT

Captain Reggie Willhite leads an experienced backcourt. Willhite started all 28 games last year, finished third in the Ivy League in steals (1.4 per game) and seventh in field goal percentage (.448). He had career-highs in points (9.4 ppg.), rebounds (4.4 rpg.), assists (68) and steals (40) and his 28 steals in Ivy games were the most in the league.

Junior Austin Morgan continued his steady development. He finished second in the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage (.446) and was in the top 10 in five other categories - assists (6th, 3.2 per game), three-point field goals made (7th, 1.9), assist/turnover ratio (7th, 1.4), field goal percentage (9th, .438) and free throw percentage (10th, .802). In addition he led team with 54 three-pointers, which tied for the seventh most in a season in school history.

Juniors Michael Grace and Sam Martin should both see plenty of playing time. Grace is a candidate to start at point guard. He appeared in 21 games off the bench last year, despite being hampered by an early-season injury. Martin established himself as one of the top long-range shooters last year, finishing fifth on the team in three-pointers.

Senior Brian Katz also is a threat from beyond the arc. Sophomores Isaiah Salafia and Jesse Pritchard both made contributions in their rookie seasons.  Salafia had seven points, including a clutch three-pointer in overtime, in the home victory over Dartmouth, while Pritchard's first career three-pointer gave Yale a 54-53 lead late in the second half at Providence.

A pair of freshmen bring strong credentials to New Haven. Armani Cotton spent one year at Northfield Mount Hermon School after averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds as a senior at Dalton School in New York. Javier Duren was Suburban West Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Oakville High School.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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