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Yale Meets Alabama For First Time Sunday

Yale Meets Alabama For First Time Sunday

Dec. 23, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After an 18-day layoff for final exams and the holiday, the Bulldogs return to action with a trip to Alabama on Sunday. Tipoff at Coleman Coliseum is set for 6 p.m. CST. (Tide TV video, Audio, GameTracker) Yale and Alabama are playing for the first time, but the two coaches are familiar with each other. Mark Gottfried, who is in his 11th year guiding the Crimson Tide, and James Jones, who is in his 10th year at Yale, served as assistant coaches to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.

The early-season schedule has taken the Bulldogs all over the country. Six of their eight games have been on the road, and they don't play another home game until Jan. 3. On Nov. 24, Yale upset Oregon State 53-52 in Corvallis. Travis Pinick had 12 points, six rebounds and three steals to lead the Bulldogs. It was Yale's first ever win over a Pac-10 opponent. Jones has now guided the Bulldogs to victories over schools from the Big East (Rutgers), ACC (Clemson), Big Ten (Penn State) and Pac-10 (Oregon State) during his tenure. Alex Zampier leads the Bulldogs in scoring (15.3 ppg.) and Ross Morin tops the squad in rebounding (5.9 rpg.).

Yale is making its first trip to the state of Alabama since a 20-14 win over the Birmingham Athletic Club on Dec. 28, 1907. The Bulldogs have never played the Crimson Tide and are 3-10 all-time against Southeastern Conference opponents. Yale's last game against an SEC school was a 59-48 loss to South Carolina in 2003. The Bulldogs have victories over Tennessee, Vanderbilt and LSU.

The Crimson Tide (7-3) have won six of their last seven games, including an 82-63 victory over Chattanooga on Dec. 22. Defense has been the key to Alabama's early-season success. The Crimson Tide are holding opponents to 37.1 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from three-point range. Alonzo Gee leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg.). Ronald Steele (12.5 ppg.) and Senario Hillman (12.5 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring. Alabama was picked to win the SEC's Western Division in preseason polls by SEC and national media.

Yale was picked to finish third in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released during a media teleconference on Oct. 21. Defending champion Cornell was the unanimous first-place selection. The Big Red return four starters and four All-Ivy picks from a team that went undefeated in league play last year. Penn was picked second. Harvard was fourth followed by Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth and Princeton.

2008-09 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll
1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Penn - 110
3. Yale - 80
4. Harvard - 77
5. Brown - 75
6. Columbia - 45
7. Dartmouth - 33
8. Princeton - 28

Four Yale players are currently playing professional basketball in Europe. Edwin Draughan '05 is in his first season with FOS Ouest Provence in France after playing in Switzerland. Dominick Martin '06 is a member of Plasencia in Spain after playing for Real Madrid. Matt Kyle '08 signed with Galitos FC in Barreiro, Portugal, after graduating last May, and Caleb Holmes '08 is coaching and playing for UMFH, a team in Iceland's first division.

Former Yale men's basketball star Earl "Butch" Graves '84 has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2009 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented annually since 1973 to former student-athletes whose collegiate careers ended 25 years ago and who have gone on to excel in their chosen professions. Graves will receive his award at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration on January 15, 2009, during the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Graves, the captain of the 1983-84 Bulldogs, is Yale's all-time leading scorer with 2,090 career points and is one of only four players in Ivy League history to score at least 2,000 points. He was named first team All-Ivy in both 1983 and 1984 and led the league in scoring in Ivy games three times (1982-84). Graves, who received a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale, is the president & CEO of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. He is responsible for the strategic positioning and overall profitability of the corporation.

• The 2008-09 schedule features 11 home games and 17 road contests. Nine of the first 11 games are away from home.
• The Stanford game marked the first time a Pac-10 school played the Bulldogs in New Haven. The last opponent from a major conference to play in Lee Amphitheater was Penn State of the Big Ten in 2000-01. Yale hosted ACC foe Wake Forest at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport in 2003-04.
• When the Bulldogs beat Oregon State on Nov. 24, former Brown head coach Craig Robinson was guiding the Beavers. Robinson, the brother-in-law of Barack Obama, was 2-2 against Yale in his two seasons at Brown.
• Yale plays its first game against Alabama on Dec. 28. The Crimson Tide is coached by Mark Gottfried. Gottfried and James Jones served as assistant coaches to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team. Among the players the two coached are Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, Michigan State's Drew Neitzel and Indiana's D.J. White.
• A familiar face will be on the sidelines when Yale visits Bryant on Jan. 2. Tim O'Shea, who was named Bryant's head coach on June 23, spent two years as an assistant coach at Yale under Dick Kuchen.
• Alabama and Bryant are two of three first-time opponents for the Bulldogs. Yale plays at NJIT on Jan. 7.
• The 14-game Ivy League season begins on Jan. 16 at Brown. First-year Brown head coach Jesse Agel and Yale Associate Head Coach Curtis Wilson worked together on Tom Brennan's staff at Vermont.
• Five of Yale's first six Ivy League games are on the road.
• The Bulldogs play defending Ivy champion Cornell on Jan. 31 in Ithaca and host the Big Red on Feb. 20 at Lee Amphitheater.

Free live video is available for all Yale home games that aren't televised. Fans can access the games at by clicking on the Yale All*Access logo in the top right corner. An e-mail address and password are required to subscribe to the service. WYBC (1340 AM) provides audio.

Former NBA star Chris Dudley, a 1987 Yale graduate, hosted the team for dinner during the trip to Oregon. Dudley, who lives just outside of Portland, played 16 seasons in the NBA and scored 3,473 points and collected 5,457 rebounds. He was a three-time first team All-Ivy selection at Yale. He spoke to the team in the locker room following the victory over Oregon State... James Jones, who is in his 10th year at Yale, is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League. His younger brother Joe is the head coach at Columbia. The Jones brothers are one of only two active brother duos coaching at the Division I level. Seth and Brad Greenberg are the head coaches at Virginia Tech and Radford... Yale had private scrimmages against Army and Stony Brook... Senior Brandon Rose has joined the roster after serving as the team manager for the last two years. Rose was a second team All-Dade County selection as a senior at Palmer Trinity School.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity