Republican: Anything Is Possible For UMass Hoops - UMass Athletics

Republican: Anything Is Possible For UMass Hoops

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In the Springfield Republican, Ron Chimelis has a column in Sunday's paper about the 2010-11 season for Derek Kellogg and his Minutemen.

It won't be just a men's basketball season, it will be an adventure.

"I've got to be crystal clear with these guys about what I expect,'' Kellogg said. "We're not very physical, but we use our length well. We'll be better on defense this year, and better at rebounding.''

The season begins Friday night against Rider at the Mullins Center. This will be one of four November games under the umbrella of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, which will resume the following week in Springfield.

UMass approaches a basketball season where anything is possible

Published: Saturday, November 06, 2010, 1:00 PM     Updated: Saturday, November 06, 2010, 1:06 PM
Ron Chimelis, The Republican Ron Chimelis, The Republican 
UMass Men's Basketball vs BrandeisSophomore Sampson Carter, shown throwing down a dunk in the second half against Brandeis Thursday, is one of many young players who will help shape the University of Massachusetts basketball team. The Minutemen open at home against Rider Friday.

AMHERST - It won't be just a men's basketball season, it will be an adventure.

"I've got to be crystal clear with these guys about what I expect,'' University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg said.
"We're not very physical, but we use our length well. We'll be better on defense this year, and better at rebounding.''

The season begins Friday night against Rider at the Mullins Center. This will be one of four November games under the umbrella of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, which will resume the following week in Springfield.

The early games could help sort out a lineup that is promising but unproven, potentially deep and versatile, but young.

The Minutemen have gone through a scrimmage at Harvard and a preseason game against Brandeis, a Division III team.

After Thursday's 83-60 win over Brandeis, the players agreed it represented a step forward from the Oct. 31 trip to Harvard.

But neither workout clearly defined roles for the 12 scholarship players, who add a member when guard Jesse Morgan beomes eligible in the second semester.

The lineup could build around 6-foot-7 sophomore Terrell Vinson, who had 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals against Brandeis.

Senior guard Anthony Gurley, who scored 13 points Thursday, will provide scoring and experience.

With Kellogg reluctant to rush his freshmen, forward Maxie Esho and point guard Daryl Traynham will probably see action, but not necessarily prominent roles, at first.

Traynham made a case Thursday, leading UMass with 15 points. Numbers in a preseason game against a Division III team are not usually bottom-line reasons to parcel out playing time, though.

Traynham figures to share time at the point with Gary Correia, a senior. Describing himself as a distributor first, Traynham still had more 3-point baskets (2) than asissts (1).

UMass shot 10-for-19 from 3-point range against Brandeis. Even that number was enigmatic.

The Minutemen''s top 3-point threat is Freddie Riley, a sophomore guard who went 1-for-7 on 3-pointers Thursday. The rest of the team was a combined 9-for-12.

If Kellogg's vision of better rebounding bears fruit, he will need good minutes from Vinson, 6-9 junior Sean Carter and 6-10 senior Hashim "Big City'' Bailey.

"Terrell can score a little bit in the post. City is our best low-post defender,'' Kelllogg said.

UMass has been without sophomore Javorn Farrell, who can play either guard spot or small forward. Hobbled by an ankle problem, Farrell hopes to be ready for the Rider game, but a lack of practice time may inhibit him. 

Forwards Sampson Carter, Raphiael Putney and Esho have shown good signs. The forwards also include Matt Hill, a 6-7 junior who is healthy after a history of serious knee problems.

Ready or not, here comes the opener. Kellogg is optimistic.

"We've been doing some good things, and some not-so-good, but I really like the upside with this team. I think these guys will develop into good UMass basketball players,'' he said.

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