Gazette: Hoop Team Shows Lighter Side - UMass Athletics

Gazette: Hoop Team Shows Lighter Side

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Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette was at the first practice of the season last night at the Rec Center and filed a story.

Whether it is better than it was a year ago still has yet to be determined, but the University of Massachusetts appears to be starting the 2010-11 season as a much fitter basketball team.

For the second straight season, UMass eschewed the bells and whistles of Midnight Madness for a more traditional first practice. It was held at the campus' new recreation center so students could watch if they wanted to.

"We're looking better. Stronger. We're in way better shape than we were last season," junior big man Sean Carter said. "It's going to pay off in the long run for us."

UMass mens hoop shows lighter side

AMHERST - Whether it is better than it was a year ago still has yet to be determined, but the University of Massachusetts appears to be starting the 2010-11 season as a much fitter basketball team.

For the second straight season, UMass eschewed the bells and whistles of Midnight Madness for a more traditional first practice. It was held at the campus' new recreation center so students could watch if they wanted to.

"We're looking better. Stronger. We're in way better shape than we were last season," junior big man Sean Carter said. "It's going to pay off in the long run for us."

UMass coach Derek Kellogg said being in better shape is part of his overall demand to be tougher.

"I went back to our roots. I decided to do a lot of toughness things. Things to get them mentally tougher and get them in better shape. Hopefully it will pay some dividends," Kellogg said. "We're going to go twice on Sunday to get a better gauge on what kid of shape guys are in and how they're going to be when the going is a little rough."

Kellogg said the players are already auditioning for roles. "We're playing who deserves to play this year. We're playing guys who play like I want them to play, which is being tough and playing like men," he said. "Guys that do those things are going to be the one that get the most playing time."

URBAN RENEWAL - Among the most noticeable things from Friday's practice was a considerably slimmer Hashim "Big City" Bailey. The senior, who may have been bigger than his listed weight of 280 when he arrived at UMass, has dropped below 265 according to Kellogg.

NO CAPTAINS YET - Kellogg said the Minutemen had yet to name captains.

"There's a lot of things left for guys to earn on their own," Kellogg said. "Captains are one thing and playing time is another."

EXHIBITION UNDECIDED - Kellogg wasn't sure if the Minutemen will play an actual exhibition game against a Division II or III school, or play two closed door controlled scrimmages. UMass will play Harvard in one closed door scrimmage at a time and date to be determined.


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