Updates On The End Of The Basketball Season - UMass Athletics

Updates On The End Of The Basketball Season

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Here are a few stories on the end of the men's basketball season. UMass wraps up 2010-11 with a 15-15 record and will not participate in postseason play.

• Daily Hampshire Gazette: Minutemen end hoop season, focus on next year

Minutemen end hoop season, focus on next year

AMHERST - On his radio show Monday, University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg said he expected the Minutemen would play in one of the two lesser postseason tournaments if invited. Athletic director John McCutcheon made a similar statement in a phone interview.

But after Tuesday's 28-point pounding by Dayton in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the prospect of continuing the 2010-11 men's basketball season seemed less appealing to all-involved. The school decided that it wouldn't accept any postseason invitations.

"I thought it was in our best interest to call it a season and start preparing for next year," Kellogg said. "I don't think this is the right time to head into a postseason tournament."

McCutcheon agreed, citing injuries to a handful of UMass players as a factor.

"There was no guarantee that an invitation was forthcoming. We're just going to inform them that if we were under consideration we were removing ourselves from consideration," he said. "Usually when you do these things, if you're healthy and you think you're going to get some valuable learning experiences from it, it makes sense to pursue it. Given the health of some of our players and where we are right now, we don't think it's going to provide that opportunity."

The players head to spring break next week. When they return, Kellogg hopes to begin preparing for next year quickly during offseason workouts.

"There's a lot of things we need to improve on. The biggest thing is player development. That's No. 1, both on the floor and in the weight room. That starts immediately," he said. "They have to develop not only themselves, but to get other guys better off of how you play. We didn't have enough of that. That's something that's going to be stressed."

The four-game losing streak ended a season that started promisingly. The Minutemen won their first seven games and five of their first seven conference games.

But while Kellogg was pleased with the steps his team took defensively this season, there were offensive questions throughout. Beyond Anthony Gurley, the Minutemen never found another consistent scorer. Terrell Vinson and Freddie Riley, who were both promising as freshmen, both struggled all season as sophomores.

Still there was optimism as recently as Feb. 23 after back-to-back wins over Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's. Freshmen Jesse Morgan and Raphiael Putney both had begun playing well, breathing life into the team. But that was followed by a loss at La Salle that started the team's backslide.

Not playing in the postseason ends the careers of three UMass seniors - reserve big man Hashim "Big City" Bailey, starting point guard Gary Correia and Gurley - and possibly a fourth - Matt Hill, a redshirt junior big man. Hill, who recently became a father, hasn't determined whether he'll be back next year or not.

"I'm going to meet with him over the next couple weeks to sort that out," Kellogg said.

Gurley capped his three years in a Minuteman uniform with one of the best scoring seasons in school history with 530 points, which give him 1,301 in his career. His point production won't be easy to replace.

"I think the other guys will see this as a challenge and an opportunity to step up," Kellogg said. "I think we got a little stagnant and standing around watching Anthony."

The Minutemen will add at least five new players next season. Sophomore Chaz Williams, who transferred from Hofstra, figures to step in right away at point guard as Correia's departure, and the midseason dismissal of Daryl Traynham, leave Williams as the only true point guard in the program. Incoming freshman Jordan Laguerre will also be part of the backcourt mix.

Freshman big man Cady Lalane, who sat out this year as an academic nonqualifier, will join the frontcourt, as will freshmen Maxie Esho and Andrew McCarthy, who redshirted this season.

Williams is 5-foot-9, but is quicker and more athletic than Correia. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.2 assists per game at Hofstra and is a big part of the impetus to play faster.

"I think he's going to be a good play-maker for us," Kellogg said. "With the guys we'll have and our point guard being a little bit faster and smaller, we can't play in the half court as much. I think it will be more balanced especially if we can push the ball and get some things in transition."

Kellogg said he hoped to add another point guard during the spring signing period to replace Traynham.

He planned on creating a tougher schedule as well. "I'd like to give ourselves a schedule where if we played well, we'd have an RPI that would give us a chance at an NCAA or an NIT bid," Kellogg said.

There figures to be more pressure next season on Kellogg, who'll begin his fourth season without a year above .500 on his resume. McCutcheon fired Steve Lappas after four seasons, although McCutcheon has a larger investment in Kellogg, whom he hired, than Lappas, whom he inherited.

End of rumors: UMass AD John McCutcheon says that basketball coach Derek Kellogg will be back in 2011-12

Published: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 10:29 AM     Updated: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 2:27 PM
Ron Chimelis, The Republican By Ron Chimelis, The Republican 
Umass vs Dayton in Men's College BasketballDerek Kellogg has a record of 39-53 in his 3 seasons a head coach at UMass.

AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts men's basketball program is ailing, but coach Derek Kellogg will be given a chance to turn things around.

In the wake of an Atlantic 10 tournament loss that had the mood of a wake, UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said Wednesday that Kellogg will be back for the 2011-12 season.

"No,'' McCutcheon said when asked if Kellogg's job was in jeopardy.

"He has three years remaining on his (six-year) contract. We will do what we always do, sit down and look at the situation and try to build on the positives.''

McCutcheon said Kellogg would make any decisions regarding his assistants, but they are expected to be scrutinized, and changes are possible.

Tuesday's 78-50 loss to Dayton was the worst ever suffered by UMass in the Atlantic 10 tournament. It was also the team's second most lopsided loss at the Mullins Center, which opened in 1993.

The worst Mullins defeat was an 84-52 drubbing by Temple in 2001. That came in the final season of Bruiser Flint, who was in attendance at UMass Tuesday, lending moral support to Kellogg, his friend and a former UMass player.

Flint's 2000-01 team, like Kellogg's squad, finished 15-15. There are other similarities, but also differences.

In 2001, UMass appeared in contention for an NIT bid. Conflicting reports of whether the NIT lost interest, or was discouraged by UMass officials to select the Minutemen, remain a source of debate to this day.

Flint spent five years at UMass, reaching the NCAA tournament in his first two seasons. Unlike this year's UMass team, the 2001 Minutemen made some noise in the Atlantic 10 tournament, reaching the final and coming one game from earning an NCAA berth that would have saved Flint's job.

Before losing its last four games, Kellogg's 2011-12 UMass team seemed poised to play in the fourth annual College Basketball Invitational. That event is open to teams not selected for the NCAA or NIT fields.

A home game at Curry Hicks Cage was being considered. As recently as Monday, UMass officials considered the CBI a viable way to give a predominantly young team more experience.

But Tuesday's trouncing, the poor finish to the season and plummeting attendance have all but squashed that plan, even if UMass is invited.

McCutcheon said Tuesday he was rethinking the CBI. He clearly had doubts it would be worthwhile. 

Even Kellogg acknowledged that playing more games was probably less beneficial than letting players focus on their classes while the program reorganized.

"We had some things transpire this year. We didn't play exactly as I'd wanted,'' Kellogg said with understatement after Tuesday's game.

In a season of several brutal performances, the game Kellogg called a turning point was actually one of his team's best efforts in defeat - last week's 73-67 overtime loss to Temple.

"That was the game to flip the script a little. If we win that game, maybe we play better at Fordham,'' he said.

With UMass trying to protect a lead with a minute left in regulation, a turnover foiled a 2-on-0 fast break that could have cemented the victory.

"That play goes through my mind 150 times every night,'' Kellogg said.

To a dissatisfied fan base, though, the team's problems are deeper than one game or one play. They have lit up the message boards and blog sites, and many have also stopped showing up.

UMass averaged 3,300 fans a home, an all-time Mullins Center low, where capacity is 9,493.

That ranked 11th in the Atlantic 10. The crowd Tuesday was 2,264, even including a strong turnout of students, who were admitted for free.

Kellogg is 39-53 in three seasons. His second season finished 12-20, the school's first 20-loss season since 1983.

This season produced only the sixth non-losing season for UMass in the last 13 years. That weighs in Kellogg's favor, as well as the cost required in buying out his contract.

According to a report in The Republican and MassLive.com last month, drawn from data released by the Massachusetts Office of the Comptroller, Kellogg made $498,215 last year.

Most of that comes from incentives and other clauses, such as pay for media shows and appearances. The base from which a buyout would be calculated was about $215,000, according to previous published reports.

The exact cost of a buyout was not immediately available Wednesday.

When Kellogg was hired in 2008, the university appeared more concerned with making sure he didn't walk away by choice, as predecessor Travis Ford had done.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette in 2008, Kellogg would owe UMass $500,000 if he left by choice before completing his fourth year in 2012, and incrementally less if he left at later dates but before the 2014 completion of the deal.

McCutcheon initially said this week that Kellogg had two years remaining on his contract. Later Wednesday, the athletic director confirmed he had been mistaken on the length of the deal and that three years remained on a contract that runs through April of 2014.

Even when he thought there were only two years left, which would have reduced any buyout cost, McCutcheon said Kellogg's job was not in jeopardy.

Kellogg's three-year record compares to Steve Lappas' 34-53 mark after three years from 2001-04, after he replaced Flint.

Lappas was brought back at a pay cut in 2004-05. After the Minutemen went 16-12, he was dismissed.

Kellogg is the fourth UMass coach since John Calipari left in 1996. All of Calipari's successors have worked under the burden of expectations created by the Calipari years, though the burden on Flint was greatest.

The 2008 hiring of Kellogg was a popular move that brought a Springfield native, Cathedral High School graduate and former UMass captain back to his alma mater.

Kellogg replaced Ford, whose three years at UMass resulted in a 62-36 record, two NIT bids and a 2008 run to the NIT final. When Ford left for Oklahoma State, the choice of Kellogg seemed to satisfy fans who were stung by Ford's abrupt, unexpected departure.

Until recent weeks, Kellogg's job security did not seem in doubt, even as questions were raised by fans about his recruiting, playing rotation and staff.

The 2010-11 Minutemen got off to a 7-0 start, their best since Calipari's 1996 Final Four team. But UMass was 8-15 after Dec. 3, losing eight games by more than 15 points.

That did not include a three-point defeat at Saint Joseph's, which broke a nine-game losing streak, or a 77-73 loss at Fordham Saturday.

The Fordham game might have been the most damaging of all. The Rams had lost 41 conference games in a row.

UMass loses seniors Gary Correia, Anthony Gurley and Hashim Bailey. Redshirt junior Matt Hill will also earn his degree this spring and may not return for his final eligible season.

The most glaring loss is Gurley, a guard who averaged 18.7 points. No other UMass player averaged as many as nine, leading to questions about whether next year will be even worse, especially on offense.

Correia was the starting point guard. Kellogg is hoping Chaz Williams, who sat out this year after transferring from Hofstra, can fill that role.

UMass will also add highly regarded forward Cady Lalanne, a former high school star from Florida, who sat out this season as a freshman and will become academically eligible next year.

Other potential scorers are guards Jesse Morgan, who became eligible in December, and Freddie Riley, who had sporadic playing time but led UMass with 15 points against Dayton.

Both are shooting guards. Kellogg's playing rotation left questions of whether there was adequate playing time for both, though Gurley's departure could change that equation.

During the season, Kellogg also lost two potential pieces to the future. Freshman point guard Daryl Traynham was suspended after 10 games for violating team rules, and left school.

Forward Luke Cothron, a top-50 recruit who had initially been headed to Auburn, came to UMass as an academic non-qualifier. He stayed only a few months, transferred to the University of New Orleans, then soon left that school as well.

An offensive offense to blame for UMass basketball struggles

Published: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 6:50 PM     Updated: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 7:38 PM

If you're unhappy with the 15-15 performance of the UMass men's basketball team, I'm sure coach Derek Kellogg is sick to his stomach about it.

Tuesday's 78-50 loss to Dayton in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament wasn't so much shocking as it was disappointing. After all, the Minutemen just lost to Fordham at Rose Hill Gym, the first conference win for the Rams after 41 straight league losses.

No, it was more about how UMass lost to Dayton at the Mullins Center, scoring a season-low 50 points and suffering its worst loss in A-10 tournament history as the players misfired from the field and the floor. Being a poor 3-point shooting team didn't stop the Minutemen from hoisting up15 ill-advised 3-pointers in the first half alone.

That game and this season the culprit has been the offense of the Minutemen. UMass shot 28 percent from the floor and 20 percent on 3-pointers, a performance that did not go undetected by the fans.

Unfortunately, the struggles shooting and scoring have been nothing new for the Minutemen this season. While their national rank in defensive categories is respectable, it is atrocious on the offensive end.

Before the Dayton game, UMass ranked 298 out of 336 teams in Division I in field goal percentage. It was 280th in 3-point field goal percentage and 291st in assists and 228 in scoring offense, a rank that will drop even further after scoring nearly 17 points below its average in the loss to Dayton.

UMass has a broken offense, and if Kellogg wants to be on the sidelines after next season, he'll need to fix it.

Minutemen's season comes to a merciful end

  • March 9th, 2011 12:19 pm ET

The opening round Atlantic 10 men's basketball game at the Mullins Center last night was a matchup of two teams that once had high expectations and were now playing out the string. On the strength of a 7-0 start to the season expectations were high for the UMass Minutemen (15-15) in third season of the Derek Kellogg regime. As the defending NIT champs, the Dayton Flyers (20-12) entered this season expecting to make the next step and be a major player in the A-10. Following a 78-50 drubbing the Minutemen's season will end on a down note while the Flyers will be rewarded with a matchup with top seeded Xavier on Friday.

The Minutemen, who never saw a lead in the game, were hampered by some extremely cold shooting that showed up in every possible way on the stat sheet. For the game the Minutemen shot a paltry 28.1% (18-64) that included a 20.7% (6-29) effort in the first half. The low shooting percentage was not helped by a 1-15 effort from behind the arc in the first half and only improved to 4-15 in the second half. The frigid shooting also affected the Minutemen at the free throw line where they were a pitiful eight of 19, including two for 10 in the first half.

The Flyers had four players finish the game in double digits in points while 12 of the 14 players who saw action scored. Luke Fabrizius led the way with 13 points and Josh Parker tallied 11, both off the bench. Juwan Staten and Chris Wright both contributed 10 points.

Freddie Riley appeared to be the only UMass shooter who had eaten his Wheaties as he led all scorers with 15 points including four three pointers in only 17 minutes. Anthony Gurley joined Riley in double digits with 10 points in what will almost undoubtedly be his final collegiate game.

UMass Athletics.com post game notes:

  • UMass is now 30-30 all-time in Atlantic 10 Tournament games.
  • UMass is now 5-4 in home Atlantic 10 Tournament games with a 3-2 mark at the Mullins Center. This game was the first since the 2003 First Round.
  • Anthony Gurley scored 10 points and now has 1,331 in his UMass career and 1,530 overall with 199 points at Wake Forest.
  • Gurley hit double-figures for the 27th time in 30 games this season, with 10 in all in the first half. He was injured early in the second half and didn't return.
  • Freddie Riley scored in double-figures for the seventh time this season and 18th in his career with 15.
  • Hashim Bailey drew two charges to give him six on the season.
  • Raphiael Putney drew his third charge of the season.
  • Terrell Vinson drew his fourth charge of the season to give UMass four for the game.
  • Luke Fabrizius made the first 4-point play against UMass this season. The last was by Duquesne's Eric Evans in 2009.

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