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 Travis Ford
Live Chat With Coach Travis Ford

New UMass basketball coach Travis Ford wants to chat with you! Ford will be available for a live chat this Thursday, June 16 at 11 a.m. ET You can start sending your questions in now. Ford has been out and about the community meeting and interacting with many fans. He was two more Meet-N-Greets scheduled for June 22 in Boston and June 23 in Worcester. Send your questions in now and check back on Thursday, June 16 at 11 a.m. to read his answers.

Moderator: Good morning and welcome to the Travis Ford Chat. Coach is ready to answer your questions so fire away!

Tom - Greenfield: Coach, Welcome to UMass.& the Pioneer Valley.I have two questions. 1.Tell us about the transfer from Pitt.- Dante Milligan - What type of player is he, how is he doing, and has he fully recovered from his injury at Pitt? 2. Have you considered scheduling Holy Cross or Providence ? They seem like good regional competition. Thanks and good luck.
Coach Ford: This is a great question. Since I have arrived here at UMass. Dante has been injured with a thumb injury so I have not had to opportunity to see him play. This is an injury that will not keep him out much longer but from all the things I have heard he is a very good basketball player. As far as scheduling is concerned we are looking at many possibilities in the future. I inherited many games that were already in place, BC, UConn, Gonzaga, Florida State and Davidson, etc... Thanks for the question Tom.

Max Telluride, CO: does umass have a great schedule on tap for the upcoming year, i hope u can bring such powerhouses as kentucky, Unc etc. to come play in amherst and bring a little bit of excitement
Coach Ford: Besides the games I just mentioned, we will be playing in the ECAC Holiday Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This is a very prestigious tournament hosted by St. John's and will take place Dec. 27 and 28. We also have Boston University coming to the Mullins Center as well as Hartford for the opener on Nov. 18 and we are still working on several other games. Thanks Max!

Dan (Roxbury): Coach, this team seems to have a lot of talent, but if there is one thing that we seem to be shallow on in terms of depth is point guard. We lost Anothony Anderson to graduation, and he ran this team. Mo Maxwell and Art Bowers really arent point guards. Does that mean that the point guard we recruited out of Mt Vernon is gonna be thrown in as a starter right away? What will the pg rotation be like? Good luck coach, i'll be rooting for you all season in the student section.
Coach Ford: The point position was a serious concern when I took over this job. We were very fortunate to sign a great high school point guard in Chris Lowe. He obviously will have the chance to play a lot of minutes as a freshman. You can look at recent recruit Brandon Thomas to play some point guard at 6-6 as well. But also as you mentioned Maurice Maxwell and Art Bowers are not true point guards but we will take a look to see if they can give us some minutes at the point guard position.

Roy Lettieri (San Francisco, Ca.): Coach,First of all welcome to UMass and thank you for giving UMass fans and alums across the country an opportunity to converse with you.My question-what are your specific goals for the team both academically and on the court this year.Thank you for your response.
Coach Ford: Roy, I am not a coach who sets a lot of long terms goals in terms of how many wins we expect. Obviously we want to set expectations of winning the Atlantic 10 and making the NCAA Tournament. My goals, overall are to make sure every night out our players are prepared for their opponents and work extremly hard each night out and be consistent. We will have certain game goals, in terms of how many points we want to score, holding opponents to a low field goal percentage, rebound margin, challenge shot margin, assists, turnovers, etc... Those are the goals we focus on rather than long-term goals, we like to take it game-by-game. As far as academics are concerned, we take the highest priority to make sure players perform on the court as well as off the court. We are in the process of receiving second semester grades. All of our returning players are here in summer school.

JC (edgartown): how are you gonna use big deli this year and will he see more minutes
Coach Ford: JC, Deli is working extremely hard every day to lose weight and get into good shape. He is someone who can have a great career at UMass. I like his skill level around the basket. He has great hands. He is someone we will rely on a lot. The things he must work on are his defense and conditioning.

Adam (New York): Coach Ford, do you have plans to visit the many alumni in the NYC/NJ area anytime soon? I think that is an untapped base that needs to be reawakened.
Coach Ford: Adam, I agree with you there is a strong UMass contingent in the New York City area. I have been contacted by many fans from the area and we are planning to hold an alumni event very soon, sometime in August. Hopefully the ECAC Holiday Classic at MSG in December will bring out many of the local alumni. We need all the support because New York is an area that we are recruiting very hard.

Daniel (Springfield, MA): As I'm sure you know, UMass has one of the best sports management programs in the country. Do you plan to utilize the sports management students in promoting the basketball team? I just want to let you know that you are doing a great job so far and I can't wait for the season to begin!!!
Coach Ford: Daniel, I do understand the prestige of the Sport Management program at UMass. I was fortunate to speak at the Sport Management Club in April. It was a good opportunity for me to hear many of the concerns and ways that they can help the program. I look forward to working with the Sport Management program for ideas and suggestions as well as help in promoting the team.

Belchertown, MA: Is there any truth to the rumour that Jeff Salovski quit the team?
Coach Ford: This is an interesting question because I heard that rumor. This is 100 percent false. Whoever posted this needs to stick to their day job because journalism is not something they are very good at. Deli has been working hard every day and is doing a great job and its unfortunate that someone would start a rumor that is so untrue.

Eric (Boston): As far as recruiting is concerned is it a priority to keep local talent? The prep schools in the Northeast seem to be a great opportunity for Division I talent. Do you have any connections there and are you trying to add possibly more?
Coach Ford: Eric, I agree with you that we are very fortunate to have some great prep schools in the area. We are actively recruiting the local schools very hard. I have talked to just about every prep school in the Northeast. I look forard to spending a lot of time in the gyms and getting to know the coaches better.

Walter - Portland, ME: Coach, now that you have had a chance to see most of your returning players, is there anyone who has been really ahead of where you might have expected them to be?
Coach Ford: Walter, all of the players are working hard. I have been impressed with Jeff Viggiano, Stephane Lasme and Deli. This is not take away from any of the other players but these three have been impressing me day-to-day with their work ethic.

Michael DeMattia- Norwood: Coach; The previous regime ran the motion offense. What was most maddening to many fans, myself included, was coming out of time outs with the game on the line; UM never ran plays to specifically attack our oppenents weaknesses. All we did in time outs it seems was critique our execution of the motion offense. My question is "Do you plan to set plays in your offensive playbook this year?" Thanks Coach. Go UMass and Beat BC!!!
Coach Ford: Michael, Within our offensive playbook we will have close to 50 set plays. I think its important to have quick hitters with specific options to get certains guys the ball at certain times. Our offense is a bit complicated so I am anxious to see how quickly our players pick it up.

Kevin (Fall River): Among other challenges, it seems like getting fans to come to UMass games is a major problem. What plans do you have to get folks to return to the Mullins Center?
Coach Ford: Kevin, One of the biggest goals that have is get the Mullins Center packed again. I want the Mullins Center to be the place, the place to be in the winter time with a loud crowds, great excitement. I have tried to get out accross the state to meet as many people and alumni to generate excitement. It is also important to get the student body back involved and get them back in the Mullins Center. The students and fans acn make such a different at these games. We will play a style of basketball that everyone will enjoy watching. We look forward to getting big crowds at the Mullins Center again!
Coach Ford: Thanks to all the fans for the great questions. I appreciate the support. Sorry I could not answer all of them. I look forward to meeting many of you if I have not met you already. We will be doing these chat sessions periodically so keep the questions coming. Thanks again for the support and I look forward to seeing a packed Mullins Center! Go UMass!

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