The Coronavirus has stopped the world of sports. However, there are some aspects that are continuing, whether it is the NFL Draft or free agency. For college basketball, the transfer portal was thrust into the spotlight as more athletes than ever are testing its waters.
Many players will transfer to better their situation, whether a new school will lead to more playing time or more national exposure. I was fortunate to land an interview with one of the transfer portal’s most prized possessions, Yale forward Jordan Bruner.
Bruner averaged 10.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.8 APG for a Yale team that went 23-7 and had punched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
He was also a vital piece of the Yale team that went to the tournament the year prior and almost upset LSU. He exited the transfer portal and signed with Alabama, who with help from Bruner, other transfers, and the 17th ranked recruiting class, will look to contend for a SEC title and punch their ticket to the big dance.
1. What did you initially think of the Ivy League being the first to cancel the tournament and give Yale the title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament? What are your thoughts on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected sports?
Bruner: It just was what it was. It was something we couldn’t control. We were the best team in the league, so it made sense for us to get the bid but it was just out of our hands. But I mean, it’s crazy, but the world is bigger than sports. People’s family members are dying so it’s just tough.
2. What ultimately led you to leave Yale?
Bruner: Ivy League rule says no redshirting.
3. What are the main differences and responsibilities of an athlete at an Ivy League school vs other schools? How much of a role do athletics play on a campus such as Yale’s?
Bruner: I don’t know. I’ve never been to another school. But I don’t think it plays much of a role. It’s not really heavily valued.
4. You played a huge role on a Yale team that almost defeated 3rd seeded LSU in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Did the experience live up to your expectations and how did that postseason experience help the team this year?
Bruner: It was cool. I didn’t really have any expectations. We were pretty banged up so we were just trying to go out and compete and keep our season going. But it was good in terms of younger guys seeing what it would take for us to get back there.
5. Finally, what led you to choose Alabama and what do you hope to accomplish next season?
Bruner: I was just comfortable with the decision. Coach Oats did a good job of showing his vision, and I had a good feeling about it. I go into every game expecting to win, so that’s exactly what I’m expecting to do.
I would like to thank Jordan for doing the interview. I can’t wait to see what he does next season at Bama!
Photo: Yale Athletics