Gazette Story On Kellogg Heading to Final Four - UMass Athletics

Gazette Story On Kellogg Heading to Final Four

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This weekend, University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg hopes to be both a fan and a student.

Like almost every Division I head and assistant men's basketball coach, Kellogg is headed to Houston today for the Final Four. In addition to staging the sport's semifinals and championship game, the weekend features meetings, clinics and social gatherings run by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. 

Read Matt Vautour's full story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette: Kellogg to mix business with pleasure at Final Four

Kellogg to mix business with pleasure at Final Four

This weekend, University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg hopes to be both a fan and a student.

Like almost every Division I head and assistant men's basketball coach, Kellogg is headed to Houston today for the Final Four. In addition to staging the sport's semifinals and championship game, the weekend features meetings, clinics and social gatherings run by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

While he's looking forward to supporting his friend and mentor John Calipari, who'll lead Kentucky against Connecticut Saturday in the national semifinals, Kellogg is hoping to pick the brains of other coaches for ways to improve his program.

He has plans to speak to longtime George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, whom he worked under for one season. Kellogg also wants to seek out new Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, who was hired away from Missouri earlier this week. Anderson's teams at Alabama-Birmingham and Missouri have played an up-tempo approach similar to what Kellogg hopes to adopt at UMass next season.

"More than any other year I'm going to spend more time with coaches talking about how they do things, whether it's individual work or style of play," Kellogg said. "I'm going to seek out Mike Anderson. (His style) intrigues me. You have to be willing to give up some things to play that way. I definitely want to pick up the pace."

Kellogg was in New Jersey last weekend to watch and root for Kentucky and Calipari. While he'll be rooting for the Wildcats again in Houston, he said he's been inspired by the runs made by Butler and Virginia Commonwealth.

"It gives hope. Watching these teams do what they've done is invigorating for a young coach or any coach at a program that's not in a big six conference," he said. "There's some really, really good teams out there who don't get credit. If they get it rolling and make some shots I think the gap shrinks. The 3-point shot has made it more competitive.

"Sunday night as soon as I got back from Jersey, I immediately wanted to get back in the gym with my guys and start working," Kellogg added. "I don't think anybody is that far away from success."

While many coaches are gone before Monday's championship game, Kellogg planned to stay if Kentucky was in the title game.

"It's interesting to follow his games from afar because I've been on the sidelines with him and played" for him, Kellogg said. "I have a good feel for the buttons he's trying to push."

Like many national experts, he lauded his old boss' coaching performance this year.

"I'm not sure how many people expected them to be in the Final Four," Kellogg said. "That makes it that much more special. It gives more credence to how good he really is. They've really bought in to what he needs them to do to be successful. If this isn't his best coaching job, it's close to the best. He's taken a lot of guys who were role players and hadn't played a ton and integrated a lot of first year guys. But if you watch them play, they're all on the same page. That's what we're all trying to accomplish."


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