Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Sears wanted Yale to win and showed it emphatically

November 10, 2013 Columns No Comments

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Justin Sears wanted this one. In case any of his teammates didn’t believe him, he was pretty demonstrative about it, too.

Sears didn’t just carry and will Yale to a 93-77 win over Central Connecticut on Saturday by being all over the floor, whether it was scoring or rebounding, or even a big block in transition with under four minutes left. While he did all of that – 26 points on 10-17 shooting, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots – that wasn’t all. He implored his teammates to get him the ball, emphatically signaling for it and even looking at a teammate right after he scored.

He didn’t stop there, as head coach James Jones noted.

“Yeah, he didn’t like when I took him out for a bit, either, in the second half,” said the Yale mentor, who used that for a light moment later on that tells you about the player-coach relationship.

The sophomore can be that good. He could have played at a little higher level (though perhaps not the Big East or ACC), but he wanted the elite education he could get at an Ivy League school. And now that he is a sophomore, any deferring to upperclassmen that he did a year ago is clearly gone.

“Everyone on the team has times when they step up,” said Sears. “Today, I thought, was my time to step up when the team was down.”

Sears did a lot of his damage in the second half, posting a double-double in that frame alone with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He was often found near the basket even when a shot went, so it was clear he was hunting the ball, something Jones wanted him to do. As athletic as he is, he can get plenty of stickbacks if he’s in position, and he did just that.

As good as Sears can be, part of his continued growth will be knowing he doesn’t have to do everything, a point Jones both directly and subtly made after the game. The Bulldogs have good depth up front even though Jeremiah Kreisberg will miss the season with a back injury, as Brandon Sherrod has improved and Greg Kelley and Matt Townsend are good enough to start along with Sears.

On the perimeter, there’s talent but some questions, as Javier Duren (16 points, seven rebounds) and Armani Cotton (17 points on 4-5 shooting, six rebounds) had good games but neither is a true point guard. Duren is easily this team’s most important player, as the junior has a high ceiling but has been erratic as well. Thus far, he seems to be showing more of the former, and that’s what they’ll need.

“One of the great things about my team is that we have a lot of depth, and we don’t have to play everybody the entire half as much as they would like to play,” Jones said while looking at Sears and getting a smile out of him. “We can put some other guys in there to try to give them a little rest, and I thought that helped us.”

Sears trusts his teammates, but knows that has to manifest itself in many ways. It’s okay to want to win the game and do your part, and if defenses key on him he’ll be ready for what it means on his part.

“If someone doubles me, I’d rather see someone else score,” said the sophomore forward.

Yale had a size advantage on Central Connecticut, and took better advantage of it in the second half. They will probably have that on a number of teams they play this year, so what they did on Saturday is part of the formula for victory. Jones is also preaching to share the ball, and certainly this team will have to do that. They did that very well in the first half, where they had ten assists on 16 made field goals and shot 53.3 percent.

Yale won the game, which they wanted. Justin Sears certainly did, and delivered with his performance, and when the game was over he didn’t need to be quite as demonstrative about it. Indeed, he was simply happy with the win and ready for the next game.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017 by

We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

College Basketball Tonight – April 2, 2017

April 3, 2017 by

In our Final Four special edition, three head coaches join us to offer their insights on the Final Four, as well as their own programs.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 2, 2017

April 2, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the national semifinal contests and then look ahead to an intriguing matchup for the national championship that is ahead of us on Monday night.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout