Longtime UMass journalist Marty Dobrow stopped by practice last weekend and spend some time with Derek Kellogg and a few of the student-athletes to discuss the state of UMass basketball.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
It is heady stuff for a program that has been in hoop hibernation for a decade and a half. As senior Sampson Carter ambled out of the locker room onto the court on Sunday, he admitted that the feeling was sweet, indeed.
"This is definitely where I wanted to be," he said. "I actually dreamed this and imagined this spot for a long time. To finally be here is a great feeling."
UMass hasn't exactly come from nowhere. Sixth-year head coach Derek Kellogg has built the program back to respectability in recent years (25 wins in 2011-12, 21 last year, both ending in the NIT). This year, though, the Minutemen felt primed for another level and have let it be known that nothing short of a return to the NCAA tournament would be acceptable. After preseason workouts, reputed to be especially intense this year, star senior point guard Chaz Williams said the team was ready to pounce. "It was like, 'Let us out of the cage, let us out of the cage!'" he said.
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