Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald authored an article in Friday's edition about the return of the Minutemen basketball program to the national landscape. He talks about how Chaz Williams met a fan at a mini golf course and Derrick Gordon's new nickname.
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.
Read the entire article by clicking the link below...
Longtime Springfield Republican writer and UMass follower Ron Chimelis (@ronchimelis) published a column on Derek Kellogg and how his program has turned the corner. He mentions that the patience has paid off for MinuteFan Nation and how fans need to remember that a quick fix isn't always an overnight process.
Read the entire article by clicking the link below...
UMass won its first road game of the season, 69-57, over a tough Eastern Michigan group on Tuesday night. The Minutemen played strong defense and got a balanced scoring night from across the roster. Once again, five players hit for double figures in scoring, while Cady Lalanne had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Raphiael Putney finished with a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds.
As the team makes its way to Ypsilanti, Mich. for Tuesday's game at Eastern Michigan, we've got a few of the stories that have been written over the last four days on the men's basketball team, including some more on the expectations that will come with being ranked in the Top 25. And when the polls come out, we'll be sure to update where the Minutemen stand this week.
Vin Parise (@VinParise) from CollegeBasketballTalk caught up with UMass head coach Derek Kellogg, who sits at 6-0 this season with a win in the Charleston Classic.
CBT: If I would have looked into a crystal ball in October and told you that UMass would be Top 25 before Thanksgiving; would you have believed it?
Kellogg: I knew we had some strong pieces in place and we would be better but I am a little surprised, in a very good way, that we are playing this well so early. I knew Chaz Williams would be our leader, but our other guys have been just as great.
CBT: When did it hit home that you guys could be a really good basketball team?
Kellogg: When we beat #19 New Mexico, I started to look at this group a little different. The way we had our press going and the way we played offensively - I felt we had the ability to play a high level of basketball. I'd love to be able to bottle that up now for the rest of the season.
Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) of CBS Sports.com spoke with Derek Kellogg on Monday about his time in Amherst as the head coach of the Minutemen and what's his six years have been like thus far.
Here's an excerpt from the article...
Which brings me to UMass.
Good luck telling UMass that rankings don't matter.
"It's been great," UMass coach Derek Kellogg told me late Monday, a few hours after the Minutemen officially entered the Associated Press poll for the first time in 15 years. "My phone -- text messages, emails, calls -- has been going all day. It's just been crazy."
So, yeah, the rankings matter.
But I'm not here to hammer that point again, at least not now, because I'd rather spend the rest of this column writing about UMass and Kellogg and how, sometimes, patience pays off.
That's the lesson here, right?
UMass hired Kellogg in 2008 to replace Travis Ford, and, honestly, it was a no-brainer move. Kellogg was a former UMass player who graduated from the school in 1995, and a hotshot assistant who had been working under his former coach, John Calipari, at Memphis. I'm not sure if anybody else was even considered, but, if so, it was a waste of time. Kellogg seemed like the right guy for a variety of reasons. He deserved the job and he got the job.
Then the process of rebuilding UMass began.
It hasn't been simple.
Click the link below to read the entire article...
UMass claimed the Charleston Classic title last night with a 62-56 win over Clemson. Cady Lalanne was a beast all week and earned Most Valuable Player honors after he posted two double-doubles and averaged 15.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. The Minutemen are off for a week until traveling to Eastern Michigan next Tuesday, Dec. 3.
UMass used a couple of big runs, including a game-ending 20-4 stretch over the final 7:54 to upset No. 19/20 New Mexico in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic. The Minutemen wore down the tired legs of the Lobos after they had played a very physical double-overtime game with UAB just 24 hours earlier. It was P.A.I.N. at its finest.
UMass is now 5-0 and will face 5-0 Clemson in the championship game on Sunday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
UMass outlasted a late rally from Nebraska to advance to the winner's side of the Charleston Classic. Gordon ended the game with 22 points and five rebounds as he showed the fans what his game is all about. He was just three shy of his career-high of 25 from his Western Kentucky days. The Minutemen also got solid scoring from the other four starters and Maxie Esho joined the group of six in double figures. Before we get to any of the previews for the game with New Mexico, here are some recaps and thoughts on yesterday's action.
Every weekday, Andy Katz and a group of college hoops experts from ESPN discuss the comings and goings of the hoops world. Wednesday's installment contains some thoughts on the Charleston Classic from Katz, Dana O'Neil and Myron Medcalf and how they think things could shake out for the Minutemen.
3. Which team -- New Mexico, UMass, Nebraska, Georgia, Clemson, Davidson, Temple or UAB -- has the most to gain in the Charleston Classic beginning Thursday?
Andy Katz: UMass. The Minutemen are off to a terrific start and wins over Nebraska and New Mexico to get to a final where they should be favored will land the Minutemen in the Top 25 and on their way toward building an NCAA tournament résumé.
Dana O'Neil: This is big for UMass. This is the year it's supposed to come together for Derek Kellogg's team, but the Minutemen need some good quality wins out of conference to prove their worth. Playing against this field allows it. Chaz Williams could turn some heads in Charleston.
Myron Medcalf: I think it's UMass because the Minutemen began the year with three wins, including a victory over SEC sleeper LSU. In the second round of the Charleston Classic, UMass might get a shot at New Mexico. A win over the Lobos would boost UMass' NCAA tourney résumé and push the program into the Top 25, assuming they win the tournament's championship too.
Chaz Williams and Cady Lalanne both posted double-doubles as a quartet of UMass players reached double figures in scoring. UMass fought through a tight first half to take an eight-point lead at the break. The Minutemen extended the margin to as many as 18 at one point before cling with a 16-point win.
UMass is now 3-0 for the third time in the last four seasons and has scored at least 85 points in all three games. The last time a UMass team opened a season with three games of 80 or more was the 1991-92 season. It is also just the fourth time that has happened in school history.
Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) posted his latest Triple Threat article and lists UMass among three teams that have impressed him early.
Here is the chunk on the Minutemen...
Derek Kellogg told me over the summer that this is the year he believes he can lead his alma mater back to the NCAA Tournament and he's certainly got them headed in that direction. The Minutemen had a tremendous second-half comeback against Boston College on Sunday and then beat a very talented LSU team Tuesday in Amherst. Chaz Williams looks like the best guard in the Atlantic 10 and big man Cady Lalanne has also emerged. Noticeably more svelte than he was a year ago, Lalanne is averaging 21 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks through UMass' first two games.
UMass put on a nice show in its second game of the season, defeating LSU 92-90 in front of more than 5,000 fans on Tuesday morning. The crowd was rockin' and so were the Minutemen, who debuted new gray jerseys for their second-consecutive ESPN Tip Off Marathon game.
The Massachusetts men's basketball team gave fans their first look at the 2013-14 edition in Tuesday night's exhitibion. As with most exhibitions, there were some bright spots and some not so bright spots. Sampson Carter's 20 points in 20 minutes was solid. Derrick Gordon showed off some of his fast break moves to the basket that fans have been waiting for since her transferred from Western Kentucky. Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho combined for 24 points, 16 rebounds and three dunks.
In regards to the tighter hand-checking and block/charge calls with the rules changes, there were 37 fouls and 49 free throws taken, so we didn't have one of the games that have been popping up around the country with 80 fouls and a matching number of freebies, so that was nice. I think most fans will agree that it was a good first game and the coaching staff has some things to work on before, and after, the season-opener with Boston College on Sunday. It is early and the team will improve as the season progresses.
The UMass basketball team will welcome Springfield-based American International to the Mullins Center for an exhibition game tonight, beginning at 7:00 p.m. This will mark the first chance for the Minutemen faithful to get a look at the 2013-14 squad before Sunday's official opener against Boston College in the Coaches vs. Cancer Boston Tip Off at the TD Garden.
The doors will open at 6:00 p.m. tonight. Please remember to make sure you include the bar code on the bottom portion of your season ticket. Mullins Militia members can get in at 5:45 p.m. via the South entrance when they show their current membership card.
There has been a decent amount of talk lately about the rules changes coming this season on the men's basketball front. UMass men's basketball beat writer from MassLive Dan Malone (@Daniel_Malone) spent some time discussing the rules with head coach Derek Kellogg. The most obvious changes fans and players will see are in the form of hand-checking and the always controversial block/charge calls. In an attempt to increase scoring and freedom of movement (that's a term the officials are using now), defending players will not be allowed to put hands or arm-bars on an offensive player. Additionally, once an offensive player has started his upward move to pass or shoot, a defensive player cannot draw a charge unless already set.
Below is a chunk of what he wrote...
AMHERST - College basketball fans who like high-scoring games look like they could be in for a treat this season.
New for 2013-14 is a set of defensive hand-checking rules put into effect by NCAA to do just that -- limit physical play, especially on the perimeter, and help generate more offense.
Specified tactics under the new rules that will draw automatic fouls from officials include putting two hands on an opponent, keeping one hand or forearm in extended contact with an opponent, jabbing at an opponent with an extended hand or forearm and using an arm bar to block an opponent from moving.
The rule changes, not surprisingly, have coaches across American divided, some supportive and others skeptical. While higher point totals would likely lead to increased interest and better, more exciting games, many coaches are concerned about the potential for trigger-happy referees sending their star players to the bench earlier in games with foul trouble.
"The best way to increase scoring and make the game better is to create situations to get more shots," Kansas coach Bill Self told ESPN. "More free throws doesn't make the game better."
Still, others are cautiously optimistic about the new rules.
"I think it's good for the game," Kentucky coach John Calipari told reporters in early October. "But we're all wondering whether they will make the same calls in January, February and March that they make in November and December. I think they are convinced they are."
University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg was somewhere in between.
Dan Malone spoke with Derek Kellogg about the ability to leave wins and losses in the rear-view mirror while focusing on the next game or task in front of you.
"Every season, whether it's a success or whatever it is, we quickly turn the page," Kellogg said. "For me it's always what's next. We look back to make sure any pitfalls don't happen again and any good stuff we try to replicate and duplicate. But, really, as soon as the game ends, guys are home for a while and we started working again for this season."
In case you missed it, on Friday CBS' collection of college basketball writers released another of their summertime updates, or Conference Catchups. Matt Norlander penned the Atlantic 10 edition and came up with the following nuggets on UMass.
In his team commentary in 140 characters or less...
Massachusetts: I think the Minutemen are set for a very big year. Derek Kellogg has made the team progressively better in the past five seasons. Now comes a league title.
Paul Gotham of the basketball site Pickin Splinters wrote a piece on the path the program has taken in four years under coach Derek Kellogg. He also touches on the progress junior guard Chaz Williams has made in two seasons, while making note that the 5-9 Brooklyn dynamo's potential is still climbing.
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg and senior forward Terrell Vinson spent Tuesday in Boston participating in the second Commonwealth of Massachusetts Men's Basketball Media Day. All six head coaches from the state's Division I program - Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Holy Cross, UMass and Northeastern - were in attendance.
Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk put out his list of ten men's basketball programs on the rise entering the 2012-13 season.
UMass: UMass basketball history is limited to, more or less, two people. Julius Erving played for the Minutemen from 1968-1971 before going on to become Dr. J. The other person is John Calipari, who took over a program in 1988 that had 10 straight losing seasons. In his fourth year, he led UMass to the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles, advancing to the NCAA tournament. He would accomplish that feat for five consecutive years, which culminated in his run to the 1996 Final Four, riding on the shoulders of Marcus Camby, before leaving the program. Bruiser Flint took over and led the Minutemen to two more NCAA tournaments, but they've only won one A-10 title -- the 2007 regular season -- since then. Outside of those seven consecutive NCAA tournaments, UMass has been to one. Ever. In 1962.
That could change this season, as Derek Kellogg has put together arguably the best team in Amherst since the late 90′s. The Minutemen return all but one member of their rotation from last season, including Chaz Williams, who is one of the most exciting and underrated point guards in the country. They also bring back Sampson Carter and Cady Lalanne, both of whom were injured for much of last season. The Atlantic 10 is going to be a rugged league this season, but UMass has the horses to make a run at a top four finish.
The Atlantic 10 held its annual men's basketball media day on Thursday at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The building is only a week old and looks outstanding. They were still set-up for Jay-Z as the part owner of the Brooklyn Nets was continuing his run of concerts to open the facility.
UMass was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, which was made up of all 16 coaches and a media member from each area in the A-10 membership, totaling 30 voters. Additionally, Chaz Williams was selected to the preseason first team.
Security was pretty tight so nobody was allowed inside the arena bowl but everywhere else the coaches and media went was very impressive. Here are some articles from UMass beat writers Harry Plumer and Matt Vautour, along with stories from around the league. I also posted a Storify link that summarizes as many tweets from media, coaches and administrators at the event as I could find.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has an update on basketball practice and some notebook items about the preseason. He has quotes from Chaz Williams and Freddie Riley about the excitement leading up to the season, along with info from coach Kellogg on scheduling and early games.
AMHERST -- Before his sophomore season, University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley was frustrated about everyone's lack of optimism surrounding the Minutemen. Preview magazines, newspaper articles and even fans had low expectations for the 2010-11 squad and Riley took it to heart.
Two years later, coming off the team's run to the National Invitation Tournament's semifinals, there's a positive vibe surrounding the Minutemen. The preview magazines that are already out and national websites are projecting UMass to finish among the top teams in the Atlantic 10 and perhaps reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. There's a buzz on campus among students greater than at any previous time.
National college basketball writer and television announcer Jon Rothstein offered up his thoughts on UMass as it prepares for the 2012-13 season. Leading off with a note on junior PG Chaz Williams' infectious energy that envelops the entire team.
Chaz Williams is a like a magnet. The undersized point guard has an infectious personality -- and it's easily noticeable if you're in the gym with him for even just a matter of moments. The 5-9 Williams was one of the best players in the Atlantic 10 a season ago and figures to be so again thanks to the biggest weapon he has -- his heart.
With the fall sports season hitting the midway point, that means hoops and hockey are ratcheting up workouts in anticipation of their seasons. Here are a few preseason articles from area writers on last week's men's basketball practice.
UMass beat writers Matt Vautour (Daily Hampshire Gazette) and
Harry Plumer (Springfield Republican) were in attendance at basketball practice
Tuesday at the Cage and filed a pair of reports on what they saw.
Don't forget, you can reserve your season tickets right now by calling the UMass Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.
** 5 Game Packs go on sale beginning Monday, Oct. 1. ** Single-game tickets will go on sale Monday, Oct. 15. ** Group tickets of 15 or more may be purchased through the UMass Group Sales Office for as low as $8/ticket by contacting Jason Blanchette at 413-577-0340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Brian Henry on August 28, 2012 4:41 PM
National sports publisher Athlon has put out a list of the top ten sleeper teams that it believes will return to the NCAA Tournament this season. Among the teams are coach Kellogg's Minutemen.
The Atlantic 10 is undergoing a changing of the guard of sorts. Butler and VCU are in, and Temple and Xavier are in stages of starting over. UMass could be poised to pounce. Thanks to the arrival of 5-9 point guard Chaz Williams from Hofstra, UMass had its first winning season under Derek Kellogg. The Minutemen's core players were sophomores and juniors last season, including forward Sampson Carter, who averaged 8.6 points and and 3.9 rebounds in an injury-shortened season.
Last night, head men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg was a guest on Inside College Basketball, aired nationally on SiriusXM Radio Channel 91. Here is a link to a clip from the show where the fifth-year coach talks about the journey at UMass since his return.
ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz recently completed his Summer Shootaround series where he and his associates breakdown the various conferences around the nation. The Atlantic 10 version hit cyberspace on Monday so here is the link.
Happy reading and remember fall sports will start reporting sooner than you think. Go Minutemen!!!
Yesterday we posted a video interview (see below) with head coach Derek Kellogg about
the work his program has done with sport psychologist Joe Carr. Today, UMass
beat writer Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has an in-depth story
about Dr. Carr's visit, dubbed "Brotherhood 2.0."
The Minutemen adopted the word a year ago when they met
with sports psychologist Joe Carr for preseason meetings that helped bond the
team and coaching staff together. On Tuesday, Riley and the rest of the UMass
players again met with Carr for "Brotherhood 2.0" sessions.
"Dr. Carr was a big part of the success we had last
year," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "It helped formulate our team,
and defined roles and the bonding of the brotherhood that we had."
"In July we have more time to implement the things we
want to implement and the new guys are getting a taste of how serious this is.
We want to do something special," he added. "It's been good for those
guys to get acclimated. It's been great to get to know them on a personal
level. It's a comforting kind of atmosphere where you know everyone in there is
there for you and part of your family."
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a piece on the excitement generated by UMass' NIT Semifinal run and the success in several other sports along with the transition of the football program to the Mid-American Conference.
"When you have the success that basketball has had and you see what the lacrosse programs are doing and some of our other teams combined with the momentum of our football transition, it's very positive," McCutcheon said. "You walk around (Madison Square Garden) and hear the things people are saying and it's gratifying."
After much anticipation, game day is finally here as UMass and Stanford will meet tonight at 7 PM in the NIT Semifinals in Madison Square Garden. Lots of great previews and features on the Minutemen who have been in the media spotlight due to the program's history with Madison Square Garden and a certain point guard who hails from Brooklyn.
After rallying back from a 17-point second-half deficit, UMass now has a date with Madison Square Garden. The Minutemen came-from-behind last night to defeat Drexel 72-70 in Philadelphia. Terrell Vinson scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half leading a Minutemen charge as UMass closed the half shooting nearly 71 percent from the floor.
UMass will face tonight's winner of the Stanford/Nevada quarterfinal game next Tuesday at 7 PM. The game will be televised live from New York City on ESPN2.
One more win and we are going to the World's Most Famous Arena but its going to be a tough game going into Drexel's Daskalakis Athletic Center where coach Bruiser Flint's team has won 18-consecutive at the DAC. Tip-off is at 7 pm on ESPN (Bob Wischusen and LaPhonso Ellis) and on all four affiliates of the UMass Radio Network (Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney). While you get amped up for the game here are some articles from various outlets in Mass and Philly.
One of the major themes heading into Tuesday night's NIT Quarterfinal meeting between UMass and Drexel will be the relationship between Derek Kellogg and Bruiser Flint. Flint, a former assistant and head coach at UMass, was one of the key members in recruiting Kellogg.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a feature piece on Terrell Vinson and his clutch performances in big games for the UMass basketball team.
Terrell Vinson's highlights aren't likely to end up on SportsCenter's top 10.
The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team has its share of breathtaking dunks and enough alley-oops to potentially be called Lob U. Chaz Williams has gotten well-deserved attention for his game-changing speed and program-changing leadership and Raphiael Putney's improved game and freakish athleticism have made him a fan favorite and a media star.
But with the game on the line, or in Saturday's case the season on the line, the Minutemen have looked to Vinson and more often than not, the junior has delivered.
Here are a few recaps from Massachusetts and Mississippi newspapers on Tuesday's big road win over Mississippi State in the NIT First Round. The UMass-Seton Hall second round game will be played at Walsh Gymnasium on the SHU campus but we are waiting on the NIT to assign a date and time. So while we wait, take a look at some of these stories and keep on cheering on the Minutemen.
The postseason is here and we've got you covered with all of the previews and analysis in preparation for tonight's NIT First Round game at Mississippi State. Tip-off is at 7 pm ET and the game can be seen on ESPN2, and heard on all four affiliates of the UMass Radio Network.
Here are some recaps following the tough 84-80 loss to St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals. UMass will learn its postseason fate Sunday night and be sure to check back with us for all of the important details.
Led by Jesse Morgan and Chaz Williams, UMass overcame a five-point halftime deficit using a 15-0 run to start the second half in its 77-71 win over top-seeded and No. 21 Temple on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Atlantic 10 Tournament Quarterfinals. UMass will play St. Bonaventure on Saturday at 1 PM. It will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
Seth Orensky of boston.sbnation.com has an article outlining the dificult road ahead for the Minutemen as they open the 2012 Atlantic 10 Tournament against Duquesne on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
A Rough Decade:Despite having a series of
talented and successful young coaches manning the bench in Amherst, the
Minutemen have had almost zero success in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The
Minutemen have won just two conference tournament games in the past 10 years
under Steve Lappas (1-4), Travis Ford (0-3) and fourth-year head coach Derek
Kellogg (1-3). Even in the two seasons UMass managed to advance out of the
first round, the Minutmen were quickly bounced in the quarterfinal round.
CBSSports.com senior writer Jeff Goodman was among the national writers in attendance at Tuesday's 80-73 win over Xavier and was more than impressed with how the Minutemen program has progressed during the tenure of head coach Derek Kellogg. He writes in his column about the importance of Chaz Williams to the UMass program.
Chaz Williams led four Minutemen in double figures with his outstanding 29-point, nine-assist effort in Tuesday's big win over Xavier. Next up is a tough road game at Dayton on Saturday night at 6 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network. So while the team rests up for that one, here are a few recaps and sidebars about last night's game.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview this morning of tonight's men's basketball game at Rhode Island with both teams coming off big wins. UMass beat Saint Louis last Saturday at the Mullins Center, while the Rams took down Dayton on the road.
In Andy Katz's blog on ESPN, he again noted that UMass was a team that impressed over the weekend with its win over Saint Louis to retain the No. 1 spot in the Atlantic 10.
Massachusetts: Derek Kellogg survived a difficult stretch at his alma mater and has come through to the top of the standings. The Minutemen, behind Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams, beat Saint Louis and won at Richmond this past week. UMass is in a three-way tie for first in the A-10 with La Salle and St. Bonaventure.
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireChaz Williams has helped UMass tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 conference.
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican has a story on UMass being able to bounce back this season from tough games. UMass has not lost back-to-back games this season and that, according to Chimelis, is a strong indication of UMass' growth over previous seasons.
Jesse Morgan scored 20 points and the UMass men's basketball team was able to pull away late in the second half for a 79-68 win at Richmond on Saturday. The win moved the Minutemen into a tie for 2nd in the Atlantic 10 standings. UMass will host Saint Louis at the Mullins Center on Saturday. The game will be Big Y Day with $6 general admission tickets available with a Big Y card.
Following the win on Saturday over Saint Joseph's to improve to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in the Atlantic 10, Andy Katz mentioned UMass in his weekly blog on ESPN.com.
Massachusetts:Derek Kellogg has an infusion of transfers and finally some maturity on this team. The Minutemen are atop the standings in the A-10 with Dayton and Xavier after dropping Charlotte and Saint Joseph's.
• What do we make of the Atlantic 10?
Is the league really good or really average? The jury is still out. Xavier lost to La Salle, which lost to Dayton, which lost to St. Bonaventure, which lost to Duquesne, which lost to Saint Joseph's, which lost to Charlotte, which lost to Saint Louis, which lost to Temple, which lost to Richmond.Who's on first? I don't know, third base? OK, actually it's a three-way tie atop the standings with UMass, Dayton and Xavier all at 3-1. The Musketeers, who have reeled off three in a row after their gigantic skid, seem to be finding their footing. But what to make of everyone else is the question for the league. Perennial tourney entrant Temple is all over the map. Saint Louis, which appeared to be making strides under Rick Majerus, has lost three of its last five. And UMass, winner of eight of nine, is finally turning things around under Derek Kellogg, but doesn't have much to hang a nonconference resume on.
UMass erased a 17-point deficit from the first half to improve to 10-0 at home with a 71-62 win over Saint Joseph's on Saturday. Chaz Williams led the way for the Minutemen with 22 points, while Raphiael Putney made national headlines for his highlight reel dunk that landed as the No. 8 Top Play of the Day on Sports Center.
UMass and Saint Joseph's meet today for the 60th installment of the series on the hardwood with some early implications in the Atlantic 10 standings. Both teams enter the game coming off Wednesday wins and stand at 2-1 in the league rankings.
Sandra Constantine of the Springfield Republican has a story on Derek Kellogg being featured as the keynote speaker to 400 high achieving high school students on Tuesday at Western New England University.
The students were taking part in the 10th annual MassMutual Academic Achiever Conference sponsored by MassMutual and Western New England University.
Kellogg, who grew up in Springfield and played basketball at UMass under famed coach John Calipari, outlined his odyssey from growing up in the Hungry Hill neighborhood to becoming head basketball coach at his alma mater.
He described his first college basketball coaching stint at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. It only paid $9,500 a year, but Kellogg said he worked 14 hours a day.
"It is not about the money. It is about the ability to do what you want to do," Kellogg said.
"You be the champions. You be the leaders. You push for it," the coach urged the students, telling them to disregard statistics and material on the Internet that discourages them from thinking they can be successful.
Thanks to clutch free throws down the stretch, the UMass men's basketball team was able to hold off Charlotte on Wednesday night to remain a perfect 9-0 this season in home games with an 85-75 win over the 49ers. The Minutemen return to action on Saturday (4 PM) against Saint Joseph's.
Andy Katz of ESPN listed 12 games to watch this weekend including UMass' game at La Salle on Sunday at Noon.
UMass at La Salle (2 ET): That's right -- UMass at La Salle. Dr. John Giannini has the 11-4 Explorers playing much better than expected; the same can be said for Derek Kellogg and his 12-3 Minutemen. La Salle has won nine of its last 10, and its victory over Xavier really gave this team credibility. Massachusetts has won six in a row and is looking for a key road win in the A-10.
A pair of double-double's by Terrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney combined with 20-points and nearly a triple-double from Chaz Williams paved the way as the UMass men's basketball team defeated Fordham last night in the Mullins Center in the Minutemen's Atlantic 10 opener.
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican looks at UMass' rise over the last few weeks in the RPI entering this week at 79th among 344 Division I Teams. That places the UMass basketball team sixth overall in the Atlantic 10.
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican looks at UMass' second half adjustments in games this year which have helped the Minutemen put together a four-game win streak heading into Friday's meeting with Central Connecticut (Mullins Center, 7 PM).
A great night at the Mullins Center on Thursday as UMass defeated Davidson to reach a 10-3 record and remain perfect in home games this year at 6-0. Maxie Esho had a career-high 12 points, while Jesse Morgan led the Minutemen with 14. In all, five UMass players scored in double-figures.
UMass overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to pull out an 82-78 win over Siena on Friday night in the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at the Mass Mutual Center. Freddie Riley continued his streak of hot shooting draining six three-pointers for 20 points, while Chaz Williams tied his career-high with 22 points (20 in the second half).