3 Ronell Blizzard
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A valuable player for the Minutemen a year ago off the bench, senior forward Ronell Blizzard will push for more playing time along the frontline in his senior season...one of four, fifth-year seniors on UMass’ 2001-2002 roster, and one of five players who stand 6-8 or taller...averaged 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds on UMass’ four-game tour of Greece, while shooting a team-high 56.3 percent from the field...“Ronell is very athletic, probably the most athletic player on our team,” UMass coach Steve Lappas said. “He’s versatile, because he can do a couple of things for the team.”
As a Junior in 2000-2001
The left-handed Blizzard saw action in all 30 games, and drew a pair of starts...averaged 1.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game...scored five points in UMass’ first seven games of the season (0.7 ppg), but netted 44 points (1.9 ppg) over his last 23 outings...tallied a career-high-tying nine points in UMass’ victory at Boston University...also established career bests for rebounds (14), blocked shots (seven) and minutes played (25) vs. the Terriers...his seven rejections against BU were the most by a UMass player since Marcus Camby’s seven-block effort in a second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Stanford, March 16, 1996, and equalled the ninth-highest single-game total in school history...Minutemen were 3-0 when he scored five or more points (wins at Boston U., Xavier and Temple)...had seven points in UMass’ upset win at Xavier; six in its first-ever victory at Temple’s Liacouras Center...ranked third on the team and 11th in the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots (27, 0.90 bpg)...his season block total of 27 was 10 more than he recorded in his first two seasons combined...had six multiple-block games, and played 10 or more minutes 14 times...led the Minutemen in blocks five times...shared team’s Most Improved Player Award with teammate Micah Brand.
As a Sophomore in 1999-2000
Appeared in 28 games with four starts…averaged 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 7.5 minutes of work per outing…was fourth on the team in blocked shots with 13…hit 61.1 percent of his field goals against Atlantic 10 foes…tallied career-high nine points at Rhode Island…nailed first career three-pointer at No. 7 Connecticut to cut the Huskies lead to three with 8:46 left to go in the game…had five or more points five times…had four multiple-block games…played 10 or more minutes nine times, including a then-career-high 24 minutes vs. American-Puerto Rico.
As a Freshman in 1998-1999
Sat out 1997-1998 season as a medical redshirt due to chronic feet problems, but saw action in 10 games off the bench as a redshirt freshman in 1998-1999…averaged 1.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest…set then-career-highs with six points and six rebounds at Marshall, in a season-high 17 minutes of action…matched his season highs with six points and six rebounds against Boston College…blocked two shots against Niagara in his first collegiate game...contributed five or more points twice, had two playing stints of 10 or more minutes and one multiple-block game.
Played for coach Joe Frascatore at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Conn., as a senior…led his team to a 21-3 record and the Connecticut state Class M title…a USA Today honorable mention All-America choice…earned Connecticut state tournament Most Valuable Player honors…averaged 16.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per game during his senior year…preseason Street & Smith’s high honorable mention All-American in 1996-1997…played for coach Bill Casson at Cheshire (Conn.) Academy in his freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns…finished his four-year high school career with 963 points...signed with UMass in the spring of 1997 after considering Cincinnati, Arizona, New Mexico and Cleveland State.
Born Feb. 22, 1978, in Waterbury, Conn., Ronell will celebrate his 24th birthday the day before UMass hosts Fordham (Feb. 23), and is the son of Vanessa Blizzard…BDIC major, with an emphasis on teaching and coaching through education.