Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Meet The Class Of 2021

Meet The Class Of 2021

Five Newcomers Set To Join Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – An already deep and experienced Yale men's basketball roster will be bolstered by the addition of five talented freshmen starting in the fall. James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs will welcome Jameel Alausa, Paul Atkinson, Jalen Gabbidon, Azar Swain and Wyatt Yess to New Haven.

Here is a closer look at the Class of 2021: 

Jameel Alausa
6-7, 210
Chicago, Illinois
University of Chicago Lab Schools
Team Young & Reckless

Before Yale: 2017 Independent School League Player of the Year at University of Chicago Lab Schools… IBCA first team all-state selection… Three-time ISL all-conference selection… 2017 All City honorable mention… Selected as a Top 15 player in the city of Chicago… Averaged 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks while shooting 74 percent from the field… Helped lead Lab to four ISL championships and three regional titles… Played AAU for Team Young & Reckless.

Personal: Founded Hoops For Youths, a program that helped mentor, train and tutor children in basketball and life… Volunteered at Ready, Set, Grow in his sophomore year.

Why Yale? "Because if was the place I felt most comfortable with. Off the court, I loved the people and the environment as well as the excellent academics. On the court, I loved all the coaches that recruited me and their winning/competitive tradition. I also felt like I fit well in their system and core values of rebounding and defense. Overall it seemed to be the best place for me that would help me grow and reach my ceiling."

Jones Says, "Jameel is an athletic small forward who defends and rebounds. He has developed his perimeter shooting and his ability to take his opponents off the dribble."

Highlights of Alausa can be found here 

Paul Atkinson
6-10, 220
West Palm Beach, Florida
Westminster Academy
Florida Vipers

Before Yale: Averaged 20.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists at Westminster Academy… First team all-county and second team all-state selection… Sun Sentinel's South Florida Player of the Year…Helped lead Westminster to Class 4A state championship… Scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in championship game… Named to USA Today Florida boys basketball second team… Played for Florida Vipers AAU team.

Personal: Volunteered at basketball camps at Westminster Academy.

Why Yale? "Because it felt like the best place for me. I mean Yale is Yale and you can't beat it, as well as the growing basketball team that I think can shock the world."

Jones Says: "Paul is a long post player with great timing and shot blocking ability. He can score in many different ways and can rebound with anyone."

A story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Atkinson can be found here   

Video of Atkinson can be found here 

Jalen Gabbidon
6-5, 190
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Glenelg Country School (Md.)/Harrisburg Academy
York Ballers

Before Yale: First team all-county selection as a senior at Glenelg Country School in Maryland… Spent first three years of high school at Harrisburg Academy where he was leading scorer in the state of Pennsylvania as a junior… First team all-state selection in his junior season… Finished his career with 2,053 points, 228 three-pointers, 666 rebounds, 249 steals and 366 assists… Scored 60 points in a game in his junior season at Harrisburg… Helped lead Glenelg to MIAA A Division quarterfinals as a senior… Played AAU for York Ballers.

Personal: Father played basketball at Christopher Newport University for one year, older brother Jini played at MIT for one year and uncle Kurt Samuels played at UNC-Asheville before playing professionally overseas for more than 10 years… Volunteer at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank… National Merit Commended Scholar.

Why Yale? "I decided to attend Yale because it provided the unique opportunity to reach my athletic and academic potential at a world-class university. In addition, the wonderful relationships I formed with the coaching staff and players led me to want to join such a highly ambitious program."

Jones Says: "Jalen is an athletic wing who scores in many different ways. We are counting on him to defend wings and small forwards."

A story from the Sentinel on Gabbidon can be found here

A highlight video can be seen here

Azar Swain
6-0, 185
Brockton, Massachusetts
The Rivers School
Mass Rivals

Before Yale: Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at The Rivers School… Independent School League Co-MVP… 2016-17 All-USA Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year… Averaged 23.1 points and 6.3 rpg… Shot 50.9 percent from the field, 32.8 percent from three-point range and 89.5 percent from the free throw line as a senior… All-time leader The Rivers School history with 2,185 career points… No. 26 on the all-time Massachusetts scoring list (boys and girls)… Co-captain of team as a senior… Also played football and is the all-time touchdown leader at The Rivers School… Three-time first team All-ISL selection… Led Rivers to New England Prep School Class B Tournament semifinals… Played AAU for the Mass Rivals, who went undefeated in the summer of 2016 and was ranked No. 1 in the country.

Personal: Volunteered as a mentor and tutor to inner-city student-athletes on behalf of the Special Olympics… Volunteered as youth basketball counselor, coach and referee.

Why Yale? "I wanted to be successful and respected. I didn't just want to fit in, I wanted to stand out. I want to be in a situation to change a culture and support my family one day. What better place to help me do that than Yale."

Jones Says: "Azar is a tough, gritty sharp shooter who does a little bit of everything. He has developed his mid-range game and works extremely hard."

Suite Sports has a story on Swain here

Video of Swain is here

Wyatt Yess
6-8, 220
Saint Louis, Missouri
Parkway West High School
STL Gateway

Before Yale: Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Parkway West High School… Two-time all-state and four-time first team all-conference selection… Three-year team captain… Second all-time in school history with 1,714 career points and the Parkway all-time leader with 950 career rebounds… Started 109 consecutive games and averaged 15.7 points… His 532 career free throws made is a school record and his 182 steals are the second most in school history. Helped lead Parkway to three conference championships and the 2015-16 district title… Played AAU for STL Gateway.

Personal: Father played basketball at Illinois Wesleyan and is the school record holder for points scored in a game… Special Olympic and Best Buddies volunteer.

Why Yale? "Because it gives me not only the opportunity to continue my basketball career but to pursue a degree at one of the best universities in the world."

Jones Says: "Wyatt is a long, skilled post player with great range and passing abilities. He defends and rebounds his position well."

A story from Westnewsmagazine on Yess can be found here

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity