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Incoming freshmen will be key as Yale goes for Ivy League repeat

Harvard has been billed as having the strongest incoming class in the Ivy League. Can Yale's own group of freshmen step up?

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

We recently wrote about Harvard’s headline-making incoming freshman class. The future looks bright for the Crimson, and it would seem that they have a legitimate chance of reclaiming the Ivy League crown after Yale ended their five-year run atop the standings.

Maybe.

The road to a repeat for the Bulldogs won’t be an easy one, but their incoming class could have a say in shaping the Ivy race. Make no mistake: Yale is losing a ton to graduation, mainly Justin Sears, Brandon Sherrod and Nick Victor. Now, newcomers must step up to replace them.

Headlining Yale's 2020 class is is 6-7 combo forward Justin Bruner. Bruner chose Yale over high majors like Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee, and Yale head coach James Jones told the New Haven Register that the Bulldogs' high RPI as a reason why a higher-profile player would choose Yale over a perceived better basketball program. Jones believes that players are beginning to be more attracted to playing on stronger teams where they can compete, as opposed to weaker teams in more dominant conferences.

Bruner’s most glaring weakness may be his size. Despite his height, he weighs just 190 pounds, and would likely benefit from adding bulk. Bruner is a solid shooter, who can score from different spots on the floor, and with range. He enters Yale with an impressive high school resume, having been selected as a top five player in South Carolina during each of his four years of high school.

Joining Bruner are 6-6 guard Miye Oni, 6-2 guard Eric Monroe, and 6-8 forward Austin Williams. Oni committed to Yale last spring. His profile has since grown, thanks to solid performances at high-profile tournaments such as the Fab 48. Oni broke Shabazz Napier’s single-game scoring record at the National Prep School Invitational, and ranked in the Top 40 players from the New England region.

Monroe is billed as a sharpshooter, making 39 percent of his three-point attempts last season in high school. Monroe is also known as fundamentally sound with a high basketball IQ. He is a well-rounded player, and logged 14 points and seven assists per game during his high school career.

Williams will bring Yale much-needed size in the post with a little bit of offense as a 1,000-point scorer in high school.

Jones played a rotation of roughly eight players last season. With the losses of Sears, Sherrod and Victor, Yale has lost three of its five starting players, but with the depth from the Class of 2020 and the solid breakout seasons from role players such as Sam Downey and Blake Reynolds, Jones will not have to sacrifice depth. Bulldogs fans can breathe easier, since breakout star Makai Mason withdrew his name for consideration from the NBA Draft earlier this summer and will return to Yale for his junior season. Monroe will work to earn minutes in a backcourt of Mason and rising senior Anthony Dallier, while Williams will look to provide the physicality and size vacated by the loss of Brandon Sherrod.