Ivy Interview: Columbia's Joe Jones

October 5th, 2006
Jon Teitel chats with Columbia head coach Joe Jones as part of an interview series with all eight Ivy League coaches.


1. What are your team’s goals for this season?

A: As always, we hope to win the Ivy title.


2. What facet of the game is most important to your team’s success this season?

A: I think we need to concentrate on limiting our turnovers and playing better defense.


3. Who do you think will be your team’s most improved player this season?

A: Guard Mack Montgomery: he has had a great summer, and is maturing very well.


4. Which non-conference opponent do you think will be your biggest challenge this year?

A: I don’t know if there is any opponent tougher than Duke, so starting our season out in Durham will probably be our hardest game of the year.


5. After being named All-Ivy 2nd-team as a sophomore, how high is the ceiling for John Baumann?

A: John is just starting to tap into his abilities, and I see nothing but great things in his future.


6. Which of your 5 incoming freshmen (Patrick Foley, Kevin Bulger, Wesley Matthews, Michael Gately, and Niko Scott) do you expect to make the biggest impact this season?

A: Since the backcourt is where we need the most improvement, I think the best chance for an immediate impact is with our 3 freshman guards: Scott, Foley, and Bulger.


7. In light of the play of former player Dragutin Kravic (from Serbia) and current player Ben Nwachukwu (from Nigeria), do you think it is crucial to continue to specifically recruit foreign-born players, or do you just try to get the guys who can best help your team win?

A: I just try to get the best available players, no matter where they live.


8. 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: I think Penn is clearly the favorite, despite losing Eric Osmundson and David Whitehurst, and Princeton brings back everyone except Scott Greenman.  However, I think that some of the other schools can make a run at them.


9. With zero seniors on your team this season, do you feel your team is ready to contend for an Ivy title right now, or are you gearing towards next year when you return your entire roster?

A: Despite being very young, I believe in my players and don’t want to put any limitations on them.  The ones who have been here a couple of years know what to expect, and we want to win right now.


10. After working for Jay Wright at Hofstra and Villanova, is the success he had last year any surprise to you?

A: Not at all: Jay has got the whole package.  He is bright, hard-working, a good coach and a great person.


11. What are the best and worst parts about coaching against your brother (Yale coach James Jones)?

A: The best part is that I get to see him, and a lot of our family/friends show up for the games.  The obvious worst part is that one of us has to lose, but another hard part is recruiting against him.


12. Who do you consider to be the favorite for Ivy Player of the Year?

A: Penn’s Ibby Jaaber, with my guy John Baumann having an outside shot at it.