Gazette Looks At Hoops Point Guards - UMass Athletics

Gazette Looks At Hoops Point Guards

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Freshman point guard Daryl Traynham was a stride-and-a-half ahead of his three teammates, in a full-speed run up and down the court.

But that wasn't enough for University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg.

"Sprint Dah-RULL!" the Minuteman coach growled loudly.

The rookie extended his lead to a full two strides before crossing the baseline.

As Kellogg turned away from the court, he smiled a bit. He's trying to make the 5-foot-9 guard faster, but more than that he's trying to teach Traynham the difference between working hard in high school and doing so in college.

Read the full story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Matt Vautour also has a blog entry on some other news related to the point guard spot: More Point Guard Thoughts.

UMass freshman point guard Daryl Traynham getting up to speed

Photo: Climbing the curve
JERREY ROBERTS
UMass guard Daryl Traynham has a ways to go to get into college shape, according to coach Derek Kellogg.

AMHERST -- Freshman point guard Daryl Traynham was a stride-and-a-half ahead of his three teammates, in a full-speed run up and down the court.

But that wasn't enough for University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg.

"Sprint Dah-RULL!" the Minuteman coach growled loudly.

The rookie extended his lead to a full two strides before crossing the baseline.

As Kellogg turned away from the court, he smiled a bit. He's trying to make the 5-foot-9 guard faster, but more than that he's trying to teach Traynham the difference between working hard in high school and doing so in college.

"Daryl's been good, but he's not anywhere near where he needs to be. He's not in any sort of college basketball shape yet and still has the high school mentality of how hard you have to play," Kellogg said. "There are some habits we're going to break him of. If he can get rid of the high school stuff, he has a chance to be a good player for us. With all young kids, everything is a challenge and a learning curve. He's gotten better every day he's been here, but he's still a work in progress."

Traynham is getting the message so far.

"It's a big transition from high school to college," he said. "You just have to work harder, basically. That's the main thing."

Getting the chance to work harder was a relief for Traynham, After attending multiple high schools and finishing his last class this summer, it took the NCAA well into September to officially clear him to play.

"I'm just thankful to be cleared to play college basketball. It was a blessing from God. I was praying on the situation and God just came through," Traynham said. "I'm just focusing on my books and basketball. Those are my main focuses in life right now."

Point guard has been a difficult position the first two seasons for Kellogg, who played the position himself. Senior Chris Lowe, who Kellogg inherited his first year, was inconsistent making the transition from former coach Travis Ford's wide-open system to Kellogg's dribble-drive motion in 2008-09.

Last year, Connecticut transfer Doug Wiggins was dismissed for off-court problems and never played a game. Combo guard David Gibbs struggled to grasp the position, suffered an injury and eventually transferred. Then-junior Gary Correia had not proved himself capable of playing starter's minutes, forcing Kellogg to move natural shooting guard Ricky Harris to the position. Even wing Javorn Farrell was used at the point.

Kellogg signed a pair of point guards for this season: former Hofstra guard Chaz Williams, who'll sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules, and Traynham. A year from now Williams could challenge Traynham for minutes. Williams was a rising star for Hofstra in the Colonial Athletic Association last year, averaging 9.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists as a freshman. He scored in double figures 16 times and had at least 20 points three times. But this year Williams will help Traynham get better.

"I'm hoping Chaz can have kind of a big brother role because he's been through it as a freshman last year. He's been through the trials and tribulations of what it takes to be successful and blend in to a team and play at the level that can help us win," Kellogg said. "Chaz plays at the speed I want us to play, and with toughness. Hopefully, Darryl can learn from him. Chaz has a great way about him, not only with Daryl. He's pretty mature for a guy who has only been around college basketball for one year. Hopefully, he helps us as much by not playing as he will when he plays next year."

Williams is a natural mentor for Traynham. Not only do they share a position, but a body type as well. Both are listed at 5-foot-9 and rely heavily on quickness.

"I'm trying to help him through the things I went through last year. I'm going to try to point him in the direction I didn't go through. My season could have been easier. I'm trying to make his job easier," Williams said. "I'm trying to show him when to attack, how to read the defense and being ready at all times. I understand what it's like to be in college. I'm used to this atmosphere. I've only been in college a year. It's not much, but a year is enough."

Correia, a senior who'll share point guard minutes with Traynham, has coaching aspirations after college. He also has taken an interest in Traynham's progress.

"Anything I can do to help learn the offense, and the speed of the game," he said. "I'm just trying to teach him along. Since he's small there's a lot of things he can get away with."

In practice he can't get away with much.

"They ask for a lot. This is what I wanted, but it's not as easy as I thought. It's a tough task, but I know I'm going to get through it," Traynham said. "They try to teach me the ropes of being a freshman and how tough it is. They expect me to play a lot so they're trying to get me ready. I know I can complete the task, but sometimes I let them down in the running and stuff like that. They just keep telling me to push through it. That's why they keep pushing me, because everyone has been a freshman before."

The Minutemen begin full practice next Friday in preparation for their Nov. 12 opener against Rider. Traynham is ready to be pushed even further.

"I can't wait until Oct. 15 and we start," he said.


More point guard thoughts

When I started to write the Daryl Traynham story that was in today's Gazette, I planned on making it a point guard story. But from the interviews I did, what came out was really more of a "Developing Daryl" story about how everyone, even the guys that are or will be competing with him for minutes were invested in helping Traynham get better. 

But there was some good stuff that came out of the interview that didn't make the story. 

Gary Correia said he has the natural motivation to finish his career on a high note and its as healthy as he's been. 

"I had a taste of success my freshman year and we went through the
transition the last two years, now as a senior I want to finish at the
highest level possible.

It's a first time I went into the summer healthy so I could know
exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I spent a lot of
time running. I dropped some pounds in the summer time. I'm heading in
the right direction."

Kellogg said this is the best Correia has looked:

"Gary
is in the best shape he's been in since he's been here and is as
focused.  That's been good. He's starting to be a guy you can count on
in all aspects. He's done a good job of showing some leaderhsip for our
young guys."

After lacking consistency at point guard his first two seasons, Kellogg appreciated the added depth at the position. 

The most important position in college is the guard spot and
definitely the point guard position. To have a lot of guys who have
played it and guys who are learning it is promising this year and the
future.
 

This was my first time interviewing Chaz Williams in person. He came off like a pretty mature kid. Kellogg liked him as not only a mentor for Traynham, but as somebody that could help look out for the other players who are sitting out this season, when the Minutemen are on the road.

Kellogg: "It'd be nice to have a guy whose been around to be back on campus with the guys that aren't traveling and aren't playing."

Williams wants to be a leader:

I feel like its my role to point these guys in the right direction. I'm trying to take a role as a leader. 

He's enjoying his UMass experience so far.

"It's been a great experience. I'm adjusting well. I'm trying to make my teammates better in practice every day and get myself better for next year. My teammates are great. I love every last one of them. They're trying to makemy transition as easy as possible."

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