Bulldogs Gather At Yale Club Of New York To Hand Out Team Awards
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yale Club of New York served as a perfect venue for the Yale's men's basketball team to celebrate a truly memorable season. Former players, family members, administrators and fans gathered to recognize the many accomplishments of a 2015-16 squad that earned a second straight Ivy League title and the first NCAA Tournament victory in school history.
A common theme from the presenters, all former Bulldogs, was how much it meant to them to see Yale advance to the NCAA Tournament and upset Baylor in the first round.
Jack Ford '72 served as the master of ceremonies and opened the evening by sharing the team's many accomplishments, which included 23 overall wins, the most since the 1906-07 team won 30, and a 13-1 Ivy League record, which tied the best in school history.
James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs, was then presented with a ball recognizing his 250th win at Yale and the many Coach of Year awards he received.
Jim Murphy '65, who earned a varsity letter as the manager of the 1964-65 Yale team, was the first presenter, handing out the John C Cobb Award to the outstanding freshman. Blake Reynolds was the recipient. Reynolds appeared in 23 games off the bench, the most of any rookie, and a hit a big three-pointer in the NCAA win over Baylor.
Junior Sam Downey was presented with the Eggie Miles Free Throw Award by Frank Maturo '80, a three-time winner of the award during his playing days and a two-time All-Ivy selection. Downey led the team with an .829 free throw percentage.
Matt Minoff '04, the captain of the 2003-04 Bulldogs, presented the George McReynolds Best Defensive Player Award to senior Nick Victor. Victor, an honorable mention All-Ivy selection, was second on the team with 39 blocks and was fourth in the Ivy League in defensive rebounds (5.7 per game).
Freshman Eli Lininger received the Dick Derby Scholarship Award which was presented by Josh Greenberg '06, the captain of the 2005-06 team and two-time recipient of the award. Lininger has a 3.81 grade point average.
Jim Morgan '71, whose career scoring average of 20.7 points per game remains the highest in school history, presented the Most Improved Player Award to junior Anthony Dallier. Dallier started the final 10 games of the season and scored in double figures six times, including when he tallied 12 points in the win over Columbia that clinched the outright Ivy title.
Tim Jones '77, the captain of the 1976-77 team, presented the Stan Smith Award to senior Brandon Sherrod, who returned to the team after spending a year with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, set an NCAA record by making 30 consecutive field goals and earned first team All-Ivy recognition.
Sherrod also received the Josh Hill Dedication Award. Hill, a member of the 2001-02 Ivy championship team, tragically passed away in a car accident shortly after graduating from Yale in 2004. Assistant Coach Justin Simon '04, a teammate of Hill, presented the award.
The Bill Madden Toughness Award was presented by Joe Conway '80. Conway was the facilitator of the award, which was established in 2015, and a letterwinner in 1980. Sophomore Makai Mason was the recipient. Mason averaged nearly 33 minutes per game, the most of any player, despite constantly getting knocked to the floor.
Mason also shared the Dutch Arnold Most Valuable Player Award with senior Justin Sears. The presentation was made by four-year letterwinner Todd Trimmer '93. Both Mason and Sears were first team All-Ivy recipients. Sears also was named the Ivy Player of the Year for the second straight year and also earned All-America recognition for a second consecutive year. Mason led the team in scoring (16.0 ppg.) and assists (115) and scored 31 points in the NCAA Tournament win over Baylor.
"It was an incredible experience to hear from all the alumni that came out to our banquet," Dallier said. "It really meant a lot to our team to hear about how proud they were of us and to be part of Yale basketball. As a team, we are very thankful for all their support."
Following the presentation of the awards, Yale's four seniors – Sears, Sherrod, Victor and Khaliq Ghani – took to the podium. Each spoke eloquently about their experiences with the program and offered advice to the underclassmen who will be returning.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity