Stories On Atlantic 10 Basketball Media Day - UMass Athletics

Stories On Atlantic 10 Basketball Media Day

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Here are various stories on the UMass basketball team and Atlantic 10 Basketball Media Day held at Chelsea Piers and CBS College Sports studios in New York City.

  • Springfield Republican
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette
  • Boston Globe
  • They're No. 11! UMass men's basketball team knows it has a lot to prove

    Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 6:46 PM     Updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 6:52 PM
    Ron Chimelis, The Republican Ron Chimelis, The Republican 
    12-21-09-vinson.JPGUMass sophomore forward Terrell Vinson is among many Minutemen with promise, hoping to exceed the expectations of preseason media voters who chose them 11th in the Atlantic 10.

    NEW YORK - Of the 14 men's basketball teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference, all but one has at least one player on either the preseason all-league, all-defense or all-rookie teams.

    Hint: the exception collects its mail in the 413 area code.

    "Maybe we can do it collectivelly and surprise some pople,'' said University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg, whose team was picked to finish 11th.

    "I'd say where we were picked is somewhat fair. We have a few things to prove.''

    The results were announced Thursday at CBS College Studios in Manhattan, where the A-10's preseason media day was held.

    Three-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Temple was named the league favorite, claiming 19 of 26 first first-place votes.

    Xavier and Richmond, who each took three first-place votes, were second and third, respectively.

    Dayton had the other No. 1 pick and was fourth overall. At No. 11, UMass was ranked ahead of Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure and Fordham.

    UMass is coming off a 12-20 season, and lost high scorer Ricky Harris from that team to graduation.

    The Minutemen have three seniors. They will rely heavily on five sophomores, four of which saw action last year.

    Only UMass and Saint Joseph's were left off the three All-Atlantic 10 teams entirely.

    "Maybe they'll add a fourth team someday,'' Kellogg said.

    Saint Joseph's placed Langston Galloway on the all-rookie team. UMass was shut out there as well.

    Kellogg was not only unsurprised by his team's low placement, but unruffled.

    "I know we'll be better defensively and in rebounding. It's fun, watching our young guys grow, but there are also growing pains,'' he said.

    "That's frustrating at times, and patience is hard for me, because I've been successful as a player and a coach at every level. But I am learning to be patient, and these kids are the type I want to be around, the type I want to represent UMass.''

    Kellogg thinks Terrell Vinson, in particular, is poised to be an impact player. The sophomore forward averaged 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds last year.

    "I think Terrell will step up this year. And with all our guys, the propensity to work is 10 to 15 times higher than last year,'' Kellogg said.

    "They are starting to get to where their willingness to learn is where it should be. If they keep it up, success should follow.''

    Temple placed senior forward Lavoy Allen on the all-league first team, and junior guard Juan Fernandez on the second team. No other team had two players among the top 10.

    Saint Louis was picked sixth in the A-10 poll. The votes were taken by Billikens point guard Kwamain Mitchell and center Willie Reed were dismissed from the team in early October, and are no longer enrolled at the school.

    Minutemen low in A-10 preseason hoop poll

    NEW YORK - Media days haven't been especially happy events for the University of Massachusetts athletic department in 2010-11. Like the football and hockey teams, the men's basketball team was picked near the bottom of its league's preseason poll.

    The Minutemen were picked 11 out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 poll that was released Thursday. The Minutemen were the only program not to have a player on any of the league's three preseason all-conference, all-defensive or all-rookie teams.

    "I'd say where we're picked in the league is somewhat fair because of the inexperience we still have and the amount of really good teams that are in this league," said UMass coach Derek Kellogg, who hoped his players would be motivated to prove themselves better than the ranking. "We have some things to prove with no guys making any of the teams. I think the kids will read this and find it on their own. If they don't, I'll make sure they do."

    Temple was picked to win the league with 19 of the 26 first place votes. No. 2 Xavier and No. 3 Richmond each had three first place votes while No. 4 Dayton had the other. Rhode Island was picked fifth.

    The poll was compromised slightly as some voters (league coaches and selected media) submitted their ballots before it was announced that Saint Louis had dismissed Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed, who were arguably the team's two best returning players. Billiken coach Rick Majerus wasn't present at media day. The school sent word that the coach had a "health issue" that prevented him from attending.

    The Billikens were picked No. 6 in the poll followed by Charlotte, Duquesne, La Salle and George Washington.

    No. 12 Saint Joseph's, No. 13 St. Bonaventure and No. 14 Fordham rounded out the poll.

    After two years of having an online video media day, the league returned to a live event at CBS College Sports Television Network studios at Chelsea Piers.

    CHAZ WILLIAMS FAN - New Fordham coach Tom Pecora was at Hofstra before moving to the Bronx. While leading the Pride he coached Minuteman point guard Chaz Williams, who is sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules. He predicted good things for his former guard.

    "He's a tough little player. I wasn't thrilled to see I was going to have to coach against him," Pecora said. "He's a great little competitor. He's going to make them better in practice this year. When he takes the floor next year, he's a dynamo. He brings instant energy. He shoots the ball really well and is a great on the ball defender. UMass got a good one. If you're going to play at this level at his size (5-foot-9) you have to be a pit bull. He's that."

    RECRUITING CHANGES - Coaches spent almost as much time talking about the proposed elimination of the July evaluation period as they did about their teams. The move, which was recommended by conference commissioners, would eliminate the big July AAU tournaments where Division I coaches flock to watch the nation's top high school players. Without that period, coaches will only be able to evaluate prospects during high school games, often against substandard weaker competition. Evaluating during the season would pull coaches away from their teams.

    "I like the July recruiting period. It's an opportunity to see a lot of kids in a couple settings, where you're not going to a hundred different places," said Kellogg, who said that evaluating players during high school games meant traveling and more time away from his team during the season. "We're not in a metropolitan area which makes it hard. I'd have to miss team stuff and it makes it harder to stay on the guys academically because it's a day trip or a two day trip whenever we go recruiting."

    Pecora said a rule change would favor more established schools.

    "The biggest schools in the country are pushing it. They don't need those periods. They select their players, not recruit them. They can get those kids to take unofficial visits on their campus any time they want.," he said. "Especially when you take over a new job, you need these periods. I think it could be devastating. Limiting (the July) period is one thing. Eliminating it is another. I'm really against that."

    The goal of the potential change is to lessen the influence of AAU coaches, but Richmond coach Chris Mooney said it would have the opposite affect. "We'd be more dependent on them because we'd need their input and evaluation because we wouldn't be able to see the players ourselves," said Mooney, who said it would be financially burdensome as well. "Now we'd have to go see all these kids at different times."

    LASME CUT - Former Minuteman Stephane Lasme was cut by the Boston Celtics after Wednesday night's preseason game as Von Wafer beat the forward out for the team's final roster spot. Lasme, a Gabon native who married an American woman, needs to remain in the United States this season for immigration reasons. Lasme is expected to join the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.

    MISCELLANEOUS - New Mexico State, who UMass plays on Nov. 20 in the Tipoff Classic in Springfield, will be without one of its top returning players. Wendell McKines, a 6-foot-6 forward who was a preseason all Western Athletic Conference selection, will miss 10-12 weeks with a broken foot.

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