Lininger Is First 2015 Ivy Commit

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Eli Lininger, a 6’6” wing in Eugene, Oregon, has committed to play basketball at Yale.  He is the first high school junior to commit to an Ivy League basketball program this year.

Lininger was weighing offers from Air Force, Albany and Portland.  He had drawn interest from over 20 colleges in six conferences.  In the end, though, he couldn’t imagine a better fit than Yale.

“At first I wasn’t sure that I should commit so early in my junior year.  But I was really impressed when I took an unofficial visit to Yale last week.  The coaches and players at Yale made me feel at home, and I knew that there was no better opportunity to continue my athletic and academic interests than at Yale.”

“It really is a dream come true to be getting an Ivy League education while playing basketball for a great coach and a great program. I’m excited to be following my dad’s footsteps to New Haven.”

Lininger averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds this past winter at South Eugene High School, which competes in Oregon’s highest classification.  Oregon coaches voted him to the all-state second team.  He was the only sophomore to earn this honor in 2013.

During the spring and summer, Lininger played AAU ball with Team FAST, based in Portland, Oregon.  FAST ranked as high as #9 in the U.S. among 16-and-under teams at one point this year, according to Indihoops.com. 

“Even though we’re from a smaller state, my AAU team played against some of the nation’s top teams at the Nike Peach Jam and other national tournaments.  I like the fact that Yale takes on national powers like Florida and UConn as well as Ivy League schools.

“The Ivy League has improved a great deal over the last decade. In the last several years, Ivy League teams have really competed against national powers and in the NCAA tournament. The conference is improving, and Coach Jones always seems to have Yale in the top half of the league.  I’m excited about playing the teams on Yale’s schedule.”

Academics were a factor in Lininger’s decision.  “I looked at a lot of schools with strong academics, but Yale stood out as the best combination of educational and athletic opportunities. The school is one of the most prestigious in the world, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to spend my college days in New Haven”

Having picked a college at the start of his junior year, Lininger can devote all his attention to developing his skills and preparing for the college game.  “I have a lot to work on, and I’m glad that I can focus on getting ready for a particular program.  The recruiting process can be pretty time consuming, and I’m happy I’m going to be able to put all my energy into becoming the best student, athlete, and person I can be.”

South Eugene High School will play a tough schedule this year.  “We’re in a December tournament with both Whitney Young High School, which is Jahlil Okafor’s team, and Bishop Gorman High School, which has Steven Zimmerman and Chase Jeter.  So we might end up playing against the top recruits in 2014 and 2015 all in one tournament.  That will be a great test for our high school team.”

Lininger plans to go straight to Yale after he graduates from high school, rather than spending an additional year at a prep school.  “I can’t wait,” he said.  

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