On Monday, Ross Morin ’09 was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the second time in a month. Morin went 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line, compiling 11 points, a career-high seven rebounds and a block in 18 minutes off the bench.
Morin said he was happy to receive the honor, but he was also very deferential to his teammates and quick to emphasize the potential both he and his team have to build on the success they have already achieved.
“You’re never going to be happy with where you are,” Morin said. “There’s always room for improvement. The freshmen this year just have a good opportunity to learn from the guys who’ve been on the team. There’s a lot of people to look up to.”
Morin also won the honor on Dec. 12, following a 76-60 loss to Hartford on Dec. 8. Morin led all Bulldogs with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting and a 4-for-6 effort from the stripe, and he also had four rebounds.
While this recognition is a tremendous testament to Morin’s impressive individual play, it also reflects that the freshman class has already brought considerable tenacity and vitality to the squad.
Notably, all freshmen contributed valuable minutes in Yale’s most recent contest against Brown. In addition to Morin, Chris Andrews ’09 and Travis Pinick ’09 each put in 11 minutes off the bench. As a class, rookies shot 5-for-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
But the rookies’ most valuable contribution yet may be the depth they provide the Elis. Captain Josh Greenberg ’06 said he thinks that this year, Yale may even have the most depth in the league. Having as strong a second, and even third, team off the bench will give the Bulldogs confidence and the ability to compete with a lot of intensity. Other teams’ starters will be forced to play more minutes, getting worn out earlier, hopefully giving the Bulldogs an advantage towards the end of games.
“We know we have capable subs coming in, so we can play really hard and not worry about saving ourselves,” Caleb Holmes ’08 said. “We can wear the other team out.”
And unlike some other Ivy League teams, Yale doesn’t suffer from a significant dropoff in the quality of play with the substitution of reserves. The Elis will also continue to benefit from depth down low when and if they find themselves in foul trouble.
Holmes said the freshmen were all eager to learn and that they picked things up quickly. Greenberg said each freshman brought something unique and important to the team.
“They’re all good guys,” Greenberg said. “Andrews brings a winning attitude, that extra toughness. Travis is more athletically gifted, which allows him to do some things that some other guys on the team can’t really do. Ross is just really tough physically; he picks up stuff very quickly. You only have to tell him something once, and he does it right.”
The freshmen are growing more comfortable in their burgeoning individual roles. And they continue to improve. Although Yale is definitely a young team, already having such a talented team with tremendous potential bodes well for the Bulldogs in the future.
“The freshman class last year had a pretty good year,” Greenberg said. “But this class in general has gotten a little more time, been a little more vital to the team. I think they’ve definitely stepped up.”
But however many accolades may come to individuals on the squad, the team remains intensely focused on greater goals.
“We’d like to win the league,” Morin said. “That’s everybody’s ultimate goal. Coming in second, coming in third — it’s just not what we want.”