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Bulldogs Shine In Professional Ranks

Bulldogs Shine In Professional Ranks

Seven Former Yale Stars Enjoy Successful Seasons

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – During their time in New Haven, the seven former Bulldogs currently playing professional basketball won numerous individual accolades and helped Yale earn national recognition for its success on the court. Now, Greg Mangano '12, Javier Duren '15, Armani Cotton '15, Justin Sears '16, Brandon Sherrod '16, Nick Victor '16 and Khaliq Ghani '16 are thriving on the international stage.

The veteran of the group is Mangano, who spent most of the year with the Sendai 89ers in Japan. In 26 games, he averaged 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds. Mangano, a two-time first team All-Ivy selection who led the Ivy League in rebounding and blocked shots as both a junior and senior, completed his fifth season as a professional.

Two members of the Class of 2015 had strong seasons. Duren finished his first season with BC Nokia in Finland where he averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He shot 40 percent from three-point range and 83.6 percent from the free throw line. In his first year of professional ball in 2016, Duren led Holland's Eredivisie League in scoring. Cotton completed his first season as a pro with the Leuven Bears of Belgium's Scooore League. He played in 35 games and shot 46 percent from the field.

Four of the seniors on the 2015-16 team that led the Bulldogs to the first NCAA Tournament victory in school continued their careers. Sears, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Yale, averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds with a Giessen 46ers squad that competes in the one of the top professional leagues in all of Europe. Sears shot 54.8 percent from the field. Sherrod helped Roseto in Italy's Serie A2 league advance to the quarterfinals of the playoffs. In 34 games, Sherrod led the team in rebounding (8.2 rpg.) and shot 60.1 percent from the field. In addition, he averaged 12.8 points. In March, he earned Serie A2 Player of the Week honors.

That award for Sherrod came two months after Victor was named the player of the week for Gimle BBK in Norway. Victor had an outstanding rookie season, averaging a double-double (17.1 ppg., 10.0 rpg.) in 22 games. He shot 58.6 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the free throw line. Ghani signed with the Loimaa Bisons in Finland in February after spending a semester at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he played with his younger brother as a graduate student.

There is a long list of players that have earned professional opportunities during James Jones' tenure as the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 head coach at Yale. Edwin Draughan '05 enjoyed a long and very successful career, playing mostly in Switzerland. In addition, Ted Smith '00 (England), Matt Minoff '04 (Israel), Paul Vitelli '04 (Italy), Dominick Martin '06 (Spain), Matt Kyle '08 (Portugal), Caleb Holmes '08 (Iceland), Ross Morin '09 (Switzerland), Paul Nelson '10 (Romania, Slovakia), Eric Flato '08 (England), Sam Martin '14 (England) Reggie Willhite '12 (Germany) and Jeremiah Kreisberg '14 (Israel) have all played overseas. In addition, Alex Zampier '10 (NBA D-League), Travis Pinick '09 (NBA D-League) and Neil Yanke '01 (tryout with Los Angeles Lakers) had opportunities in the United States.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity