Yale Lands Two Commitments
Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite will both be joining the Yale basketball program next year. Mangano is completing his senior year at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, Connecticut while Willhite is currently a post-graduate student at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
The commitments are significant for the Bulldogs because both players were heavily pursued this summer, especially Mangano. After a series of tremendous performances in the month of July, Mangano’s recruiting status elevated to the point where he had opportunities to play at virtually any school in the Ivy League as well as numerous scholarship offers, including two from schools in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Three major factors in Mangano’s decision making process are said to have been academics, a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, and proximity to home. The academic importance was obvious as Mangano ruled out some of those Atlantic 10 schools early in the process while still considering schools like Lehigh. In fact, as we reported last week his final five were Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Lehigh, and Northeastern.
Ultimately the decision appears to have come down to the three Ivy League schools as Yale, Pennsylvania, and Princeton all received unofficial visits in recent weeks. With the academic status of each school being exceptional that criteria may have been a wash. As far as providing a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, Pennsylvania’s dominance in recent years couldn’t have been ignored. However, Princeton appears to be headed back towards to top of the Ivy League after consecutive down years, while Yale has been a consistent staple in the conference’s top three since Head Coach James Jones took over the program. What may have been the deciding factor in the Bulldogs’ push for Mangano was the fact that he lives less than 15 minutes from campus. When you consider the academic reputation of a place like Yale University, the opportunity to help the program finally get over the hump and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament, and the fact that he will have an opportunity to play in front of his friends and family for the next four years, it isn’t hard to realize whey Mangano decided to offer a verbal commitment to the school.
Another interesting note from these two commitments is a new trend that has players committing to Ivy League schools earlier and earlier. It used to be that Ivy League schools very rarely received verbal commitments this early in the academic year. But as players from New England have shown, that no longer appears to be the case. Mangano and Willhite join Patrick Saunders from New Hampton (Princeton) as local players who have already committed to schools in the Ivy League.