Morgan, Kreisberg, Pritchard All Get Homecoming
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Jesse Pritchard still remembers his visit with Yale head coach James Jones during the recruiting process. Pritchard had one request. He hoped the Bulldogs could play a game close to his home in Ames, Iowa. That will become a reality on New Year's Day when Yale visits Iowa State. Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones' home court, is a five-minute bike ride from Pritchard's house.
"All of my close friends and family will be able to watch me play and cheer me on," said Pritchard, a junior. "To see all the people who have helped me achieve my dream of playing D1 basketball is unreal. I can't begin to describe what emotions I will feel when I jog onto that court and see my whole family supporting me. It will be a dream come true."
Jones has always made a concerted effort to schedule a game close to the hometown of his players. That has never been more evident than during the three-game trip the Bulldogs are about to embark on. Friday's game at Nevada is a homecoming for Reno, Nev., native Austin Morgan. Two days later, Yale visits Saint Mary's, whose campus is just a short distance from the home of Berkeley, Calif., native Jeremiah Kreisberg. The trip then concludes at Iowa State.
"It's a testament to Coach Jones and his commitment to his players," said Morgan, a senior who expects to have close to 70 family and friends in attendance at the Lawlor Events Center. "My family and I will always be grateful and appreciative of Coach Jones."
Morgan's family will host a team dinner the night before the game. In addition, his two brothers, who live in California, and his grandparents, who will fly in from Ohio, will be in attendance.
"It's really a great opportunity to play in front of many people who helped me to get where I am today," Morgan said. "I would like to say it's any other game, but this one does have special significance for my family and myself. It means a great deal to me."
Morgan was a big fan of the University of Nevada growing up, especially during the days of Kirk Snyder and Nick Fazekas.
"Reno is a fairly small town and UNR is the team most everyone roots for because everyone is in such close proximity to the campus," said Morgan, who graduated as Reno High School's all-time leading scorer with 2,046 career points.
Morgan, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.4 ppg., is quite familiar with the Lawlor Center. He has played there four times and his team won each time, including victories in the 2006 and 2008 state championship games.
Kreisberg, a two-time BCL East League Most Valuable Player at the Head-Royce School, attended basketball camp at Saint Mary's for many years when he was younger and followed the Gaels growing up.
"To play there in a college game will be very cool," he said Kreisberg. "Being able to play in front of my former coaches, friends, and family means a lot to me."
Kreisberg's family also is planning to host a team dinner.
Pritchard's family has plenty of ties to Iowa State. Both his mother and father are graduates of the school, and his father used to teach there.
"I remember watching Iowa State play as a kid and telling myself that I would one day play on that very court," he said. "I would go to maybe five games a year growing up, always with my best friend Miles Greenwald."
Pritchard earned all-conference recognition in each of his four year at Ames Senior High School. He helped lead Ames to the 2009 state championship and four conference titles.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity