Willhite Elected 2011-12 Yale Men’s Basketball Captain

Reggie Willhite (David Silverman/dspics.com)
Reggie Willhite (David Silverman/dspics.com)

Five Other Players Honored At Team Banquet

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Reggie Willhite, who had career-highs in points (9.4 ppg.), rebounds (4.4 rpg.), assists (68) and steals (40) this year as a junior, has been elected captain of the 2011-12 Yale men's basketball team. The announcement came at Wednesday night's post-season banquet following a team vote.

"It's a great honor to be elected captain," Willhite said. "It is humbling to know some of the other outstanding individuals that have also been the captain of this team, and I hope that I will be able to fill the shoes well. I look forward to doing all that I can to help lead our team to success and make next year a memorable and special year."

Willhite, who also won the team's most improved player award, started all 28 games and finished third in the Ivy League in steals (1.4 per game) and seventh in field goal percentage (.448). His 28 steals in Ivy games were the most in the league. He posted his first career double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in the home win over Dartmouth, and was 8-of-11 from the field en route to scoring 19 points in the win at Brown. In addition, he scored a career-high 21 points in Yale's double overtime victory at Columbia.

"Reggie has tremendous leadership qualities," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head coach of Men's Basketball. "I am confident he will do an outstanding job guiding our program through next season."

Willhite will be one of four seniors on next year's roster, joining Rhett Anderson, Brian Katz and Greg Mangano.

"The only safety and comfort that I have being elected captain is knowing how great our senior class is," Willhite said. "I agree with Coach Jones 100 percent when he says that the title captain is just a name, and that it will come down to the leadership of our senior class as a whole to get things done next year. It is not a matter of the captain and the other seniors as two separate parts, but rather, the senior class as a collective leading unit to help drive the team."

Five other players were honored with team awards at the banquet. Mangano, who led the Ivy League in rebounding (10.0 ppg.) and blocked shots (85) and was second in scoring (16.3 ppg.), was the recipient of the Dutch Arnold Award as the most valuable player and the George McReynolds Award as the team's top defensive player. Mangano, who was ninth in the nation in blocked shots (3.0 per game) and 24th in rebounding (10.0 rpg.), was the first Ivy player since Harvard's Kyle Snowden in 1995-96 to average a double-double for the season. His 85 blocks were a Yale record and the third most in a season in Ivy history.

Senior Porter Braswell received the Stan Smith Senior Award and the Eggie Miles Award as the top free throw shooter. Braswell started the last 59 games of his career. This year, he was third on the team in scoring (10.9 ppg.) and shot .804 from the foul line, which was ninth in the league. Braswell was at his best from the line when it mattered most, shooting .833 (45 of 54) in the final five minutes of Yale's victories. In the victory at Boston College, he made six free throws in the final minutes to seal the win.

The Richard Derby Academic Award was presented to senior Alfonso Costa, who will be attending Oxford University in England in the fall to earn a Master's Degree in Comparative Politics.

Sophomore Austin Morgan received the Josh Hill Award, which is presented for hard work and dedication to the Yale Basketball program. Morgan, who led the team by far in taking charges, averaged 12.6 points and had a team-high 54 three-pointers.

Freshman Jeremiah Kreisberg was the recipient of the John C. Cobb Award as Yale's rookie of the year. Kreisberg started 18 games and averaged 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. He was a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week selection.

The Bulldogs finished with 15 wins, their most since the 2005-06 season. One of the most impressive victories came at Boston College in November. The Eagles went on to finish with a 20-12 overall record and tied for fourth in the ACC. Yale was 8-6 in Ivy play, including a 70-69 win over league co-champion Harvard. The Bulldogs have now finished fourth or better in league play in each of the last 11 years.

Yale is tentatively scheduled to open the 2011-12 season on Nov. 12 against Central Connecticut in the Connecticut 6 Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

"There are a number of things that we as a team are pushing to get better at on and off of the court," Willhite said. "I believe that much of what must be done to gain success is going to take place in the off season. Our summer workout regiments are excellent this year and the individual strides that we make over the summer will help dramatically when we regroup in the fall. Team chemistry is also going to be a large contributor to success next season. We have a very close team and it is my hope that we are able to remain that way. It will be that much easier for us to devote our efforts to whatever strategy/game plan our coaches have for us next year if we are close enough to keep one another in check as well as pick each other up."

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity