Interview w/ Yale Coach James Jones
1. What are your team's goals for this season?
A: We always have a goal of winning the Ivy title, and we also want to be the best team we can possibly be and not leave anything on the table.
2. What facet of the game is most important to your team's success this season?
A: We need to work on our free-throw shooting, as we were the worst team in the league in that category last year. I would also like us to improve on our rebounding.
3. Which non-conference opponent do you think will be your biggest challenge this year?
A: No team in particular: I look at every non-conference team the same.
4. Which of your four incoming freshmen (Josh Davis, Jordan Gibson, Paul Nelson, and Alexander Zampier) do you expect to make the biggest impact this season?
A: It is too early to tell. I feel good about their athleticism, but there is a huge learning curve.
5. In light of the success of Ivy players from other countries, do you think it is crucial to specifically recruit foreign-born players (like Davis), or do you just try to get the guys who can best help your team win?
A: We just try to get guys who will fit our team and our style the best.
6. How do you think the loss of Dominick Martin (All-Ivy 1st-team) will affect your team?
A: It is always hard to lose your leading scorer and rebounder, so it will have an impact, but if we get a collective effort from the entire team, we will be able to overcome the loss of Dominick.
7. Do you consider this season to be the usual two-team race between Penn and Princeton, or do you think another team can win the conference title this season?
A: Penn has everyone back from their title team, so they will be tough, but they showed some chinks in their armor, so anything is possible. Predictions only go so far: until you actually get it done on the court, nobody will believe it.
8. After being named All-Ivy Honorable Mention as a sophomore, how high is the ceiling for Eric Flato?
A: I think Eric is a potential All-Ivy 1st-Team player, and if he can lead us to a title, he might even be Ivy Player of the Year.
9. What did you want your team to get out of the preseason trip to Spain, and what did they actually get out of it?
A: It was a great bonding period for our close-knit team. It is always nice to experience another culture: you cannot put a dollar figure on what it does for you. It was also a good opportunity to look at the guys who did not get a chance to play a lot last year.
10. What are the best and worst parts about coaching against your brother (Columbia coach Joe Jones)?
A: It is nice to see people come out of the woodwork whom I have not seen in years. The game itself is no problem: it's what happens before and after that is the hard part. The week before the game, Joe and I will not talk to each other, which is not fun because he is one of my best friends on the planet.
11. What was your reaction to the shooting of the Duquesne basketball players, and how do you try to keep your own players safe when they are off the court?
A: Your players are just like your kids: you can only do so much to watch over them. From what I have heard, the Duquesne kids did not do anything wrong. I ask myself and my team how we can avoid bad situations, and I urge them to watch each other's backs and step away from trouble whenever possible. Kids in college are here to have fun, so it is no surprise that they want to go out and party, but it is much better for them to be careful and live another day.
12. Whom do you consider to be the favorite for Ivy Player of the Year?
A: Ibby Jaaber at Penn won it last year, and he is back, so he has a good chance.