Yale men’s basketball manager Brooks Chupp ’19 will never have the chance to finish acrobatically on a fast break like his classmate Trey Phills ’19 or pull up from mid-range like Alex Copeland ’19.
Forwards and guards across the Bulldogs’ 18-man roster sacrifice hours for the program and their own improvement, driven by aspirations of on-court success that guide how they work through each drill, lift and long travel day. Yet at every step of the way, Chupp is there alongside them, dedicating the same amount of time, all in the service of helping the Elis excel.
“Brooks is a basketball junkie,” head coach James Jones said. “He will routinely talk to his father for hours after our games at length about how we played and what we’re doing. … He has a positive quirkiness to him that certainly helps the team. He has great energy about what he does and who he is, and he’s a great, great contributor and part of our program.”
Completing his second and final year as team manager, the senior from Indiana shadows the team and its small entourage of five coaches, trainer Brandon McDonald and Assistant Director of Sports Publicity Tim Bennett wherever they play, practice or stay. Though he does not feature on the court like his slightly taller friends, they all share a deep passion for the game. As the Bulldogs seek to secure a berth in the Ivy League Tournament and make a deeper postseason run, the basketball-obsessed senior manager continues to balance his commitment to the Elis with his role as music director of the Yale Russian Chorus.
Dressing in flashy blazers as opposed to suiting up in Yale’s Under Armour jerseys, Chupp moors the end of the bench for the Bulldogs. During games, he periodically collects statistics for the coaching staff at the scorers’ table. And as three other Ivy League contests take place simultaneously around the northeast on Friday or Saturday nights, Chupp constantly refreshes scores on his phone, filling in teammates and coaches about big Ancient Eight performances once the final buzzer sounds on Yale’s game.
After serving as the assistant manager under Jesse Opoku-Ampadu ’18 last year and only traveling to away games if Opoku-Ampadu was unable, Chupp does everything the team does this season, accompanying them on their farthest trips to Shanghai, Memphis, Miami and Duke.
When Yale traveled to Durham in early December, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski complimented guard Miye Oni ’20 as the two teams were shaking hands after a 91–58 Bulldog loss. Farther down the Yale line, he stopped when he came to Chupp.
“Coach K did tell me he liked the blazer I wore,” Chupp said. “He sort of dusted off my lapels, straightened them and said, ‘I like your jacket, son,’ and then walked right on by.”
For a diehard fan from Indiana — where “basketball’s like religion” as Chupp explained — the interaction was special. Yet hours later, when Yale found itself trapped in Durham, Chupp was not as thrilled. Winter Storm Diego had dumped inches of snow on southeastern states poorly equipped to handle it, forcing the senior to miss his other major extracurricular commitment, a concert the Yale Russian Chorus had scheduled the night after Yale’s game against No. 3 Duke.
Now conductor of the group, he joined the chorus his sophomore year after taking Russian to satisfy his language requirement. Forward Jameel Alausa ’21 said a lot of team members and coaches attended one of Chupp’s concerts early last fall to show their support for his commitments on campus outside of Yale basketball.
“When it comes to his job as a manager, his classes or the choir that he conducts, [Chupp’s] extremely hard working,” fellow manager RJ Kranz ’21 said. “One of my favorite parts of practice is when the two of us discuss different stats, teams and players in both college and the NBA. He always brings up interesting insights and stats that I hadn’t heard about. You can tell that he really loves the sport.”
Chupp, who used to manage his high school team in Indiana, entered Yale with the idea of managing at the collegiate level in the back of his mind. But he did not join the team until his junior year. Because of the academic rigor of an Ivy League institution, Chupp told the News he was worried about the time commitment managing a varsity basketball team might present. But in June after his sophomore year, he sent an email to assistant coach Justin Simon — the only coach he had recognized from attending several games — asking if there was any way he could help the team.
Growing up around an uncle who worked for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, Chupp had a sense of what one needed to assist a Division I basketball program. So when the coaching staff replied saying they would love some help, Chupp started his managerial duties the following October.
His weekly duties, which encompass a bit of everything, include running the clock and scoreboard during practices, keeping statistics on each player during intrasquad scrimmages, helping Coach Simon and others during drills and overseeing each player’s post-game meal order from Yorkside Pizza. Chupp has even explored some graphic design, throwing together a 2017 christmas card for Yale recruits with the help of Photoshop and Google.
“I thought I loved basketball, but seeing Brooks who doesn’t even play the sport, just how much passion he has for the game of basketball is pretty incredible to me,” Alausa said. “I thought you had to play it at a high level and put in so many hours to really love something, but he puts in hours in his own way of just doing his research and looking at stats, and his love for the game is pretty crazy for someone who doesn’t play it all the time competitively.”
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