Men's Basketball

Derek Kellogg's Weekly A-10 Teleconference

Jan. 18, 2010

AMHERST, Mass. - On Monday, UMass head coach Derek Kellogg participated in the weekly Atlantic 10 men's basketball teleconference. The Minutemen's head man talked about the two tough road losses last week, previewed the St. Bonaventure game on Wednesday at home, and the emergence of one of his freshmen as a top scoring threat.

Below is Coach Kellogg's complete transcript.

On the games at Richmond and Temple:
I thought, especially the Richmond games, were really good basketball games. I thought Richmond did a nice job in overtime of making some plays. Our guys fought really hard and competed. We really gave ourselves a shot to win it. We just didn't get that last shot we needed to put the game away. I think their maturity and playing at home might have helped them in overtime.

We played at Temple on Saturday, a legitimate top 25 team that really has a good idea of how it wants to play. They do a very good job of playing together as a team and not hurting themselves. They have very good players and Coach does a fantastic job with those guys. They shot the ball as good as I have seen them shoot it in a couple years. They didn't miss many free throws and had a good indication of what they wanted to do. They jumped out to a pretty good lead in the first half. Our guys competed and fought back and made a game of it a few times, but their experience and senior guards really took over, especially Brooks who ended up with 29. They shot 56 percent from three and got to the free throw line a bunch and made just about made every one of their free throws. They played like an NCAA Tournament team. They played like one of, if not the best team in our league. We are trying to continue to improve and get better and hopefully at some point soon get to that level.

On Freddie Riley's 20-point performance against Richmond:
His confidence is definitely at a high right now. He continues to develop every day. By no means is he a complete ball player quite yet. He still has a long way to go. He is a good kid that works hard. He had a nice little stretch there where he got some open threes. When takes good shots and is open, there is a very good chance that they are going to go in. I am happy with his development, as I am with pretty much all of my freshmen. I am actually feeling pretty good about where our team is at this point. I think the next step is to win some games and take this thing to the next level.



On what positives he took away from the road trip:
Normally you could say since we played La Salle, Richmond, and Temple all in a three-game stretch, especially the last two on the road, you would say two NCAA Tournament teams on the road that you played very well against. On a normal year in a normal league, I would say I feel really good, but with how well everyone else is playing, it's not like you have any breaks. My goal with this team is continue to get them better. Teams at times when you lose two or three in a row can get fragile, especially with young teams. My job is to make sure they are in the right frame of mind and keep them positive and rolling in the right direction. Like I said, I feel pretty good about our team. We are really starting to establish how I want to play. I think we have a bunch of kids that are working hard and are going to continue to get better. I don't the sky is the limit, but we have room to grow and get better. I think that will equate to some victories, hopefully in the near future.

On if, as a young team, they are staying positive:
Absolutely. When you have good kids that are good character kids, that came from good backgrounds and good schools, even though they aren't used to losing, they can handle adversity. I keep having to explain to them that our league is one of the top five leagues in the country and every night is going to be a battle and a war. It's the little things that make a difference in how the outcome of the game is going to be determined and we're just going to continue to work on those things every day until they become positives for us. That may take a day, may take a week, may take two or three weeks but at some point soon we're going to get better at it.

On what he expects from St. Bonaventure on Wednesday:
Well, they're a very good club, a club that beat us up there last year and played a phenomenal second half. I think they scored every time they had the ball for the first nine possessions of the second half. Their two-guard obviously shoots it from anywhere and can fill it up with anybody in the league. Their big guy might be the best big guy if not very close in the league and their other guys are all very good players. Hall really hurt us last year. They're a team that is kind of in transition like us but they're on the move with some very good young guys and the coach has done a great job with them up there. Like I said I don't think any game in this league is ever going to be easy and this is a team that I think has some postseason capabilities after watching them on tape and seeing their record and how they're improving. It's great for our league that we have so many good quality teams with great records and I'm playing these teams and I've played other teams that are supposedly NCAA Tournament teams and I think the teams in our league are just as good if not better.


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