ALBANY — At this point, freshman August Mahoney is still adjusting to the college game.
Once he does, Yale men’s basketball head coach James Jones expects the Saratoga Springs native and Albany Academy graduate to become one of his program’s top players.
“He is learning college basketball right now, but he’s one of those young men that really works hard and wants to be really good,” Jones said after his team’s 61-52 win Wednesday against UAlbany at SEFCU Arena. “At some point . . . he will be a leading scorer [in] our basketball program because of how he is offensively, and how deadly he is [shooting the basketball], and he’s also able to take you off the bounce and make plays.”
In his first college game in the Capital Region, Mahoney only played five minutes and missed both shots he took in his team’s win. On the season, Mahoney has averaged 10.2 minutes and 2.4 points per game for Yale, and has appeared in every game during the team’s 7-3 start.
At Albany Academy, Mahoney played for head coach Brian Fruscio, whose son Nick Fruscio is a senior walk-on for UAlbany. Mahoney was selected as last season’s boys’ basketball Class A Player of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association after a senior season in which he averaged 24.2 points per game and helped lead Albany Academy to a New York Federation Tournament of Champions title. He made eight 3-pointers and scored 24 points when Albany Academy beat Frederick Douglass Academy in the final of the federation tournament, from which he came away with MVP honors.
Jones said he watched several of Mahoney’s high school games in person. Each time, Jones said, Mahoney showed off his incredible shooting touch.
“I believe every single game I saw him play, he made at least eight 3s — and that’s just kind of crazy,” Jones said. “That’s just a crazy number, to make eight in a game.”
Mahoney found one aspect to his trip to play at UAlbany kind of crazy, as well.
“It was a little weird staying in a hotel 30 minutes from my house,” said Mahoney, who said he had more than 20 family members and friends in attendance at Wednesday’s game.
Mahoney said he expected to experience some growing pains in moving from the high school game to the college one, but he’s eager to keep working on his game.
“Over the season, I’ve definitely hit some bumps, but I expected that going into the year. It’s college basketball,” Mahoney said. “It’s quicker, faster, strong kids. So I’ve just got to take my hits, and keep my head up and keep moving forward throughout the season.”
While he didn’t score any points against UAlbany, Mahoney had a rebound and an assist in his five minutes. Jones said he knows Mahoney’s production will increase as the freshman gains experience.
“I’m looking forward to coaching him over the next four years,” Jones said.