A Look At The 1990s Players Expected For Sunday's Celebration
Feb. 2, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -- The most exciting of the 100 Seasons of UMass Basketball Celebrations will take place on Sunday as the Minutemen host Saint Joseph's at 3 p.m. At least 20 players from the decade of the 1990s will be on hand for the halftime ceremony. From the 1996 Final Four team the following players will be on hand: Ross Burns, Charlton Clarke, Ted Cottrell, Dana Dingle, Rigo Nunez, Edgar Padilla, Giddell Padilla and Tyrone Weeks.
Compiled By Michael Shelton
Craig Berry - 1992-93 through 1993-94 - # 11 - Berry, a 6 foot 1 inch walk-on from Cambridge, saw action in 15 games over his two year UMass career, scoring 23 points.
Ronell Blizzard - 1998-99 through 2001-02 - # 25 (Fr.) / # 3 (So. / Jr. / Sr.) - A 6 foot 8 inch forward from Waterbury, CT, Blizzard played in 92 games for the Minutemen. A native of Waterbury, CT, Blizzard's most memorable game came early in the 2000-01 season when he exploded for career highs in points (9), rebounds (14) and blocks (7) against Boston University.
Donta Bright - 1993-94 through 1995-96 - # 4 - The most heralded recruit in UMass basketball history, the 6 foot 6 inch forward was a consensus all-American coming out of Dunbar High in Baltimore. Following a one-year layoff, Bright displayed the form that had made him a prep star as he scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in just his fifth collegiate game, an 84 to 83 road win over Oklahoma. A third-team all Atlantic-10 selection as a junior, Bright saved his best for last, averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while helping lead the Minutemen to the Final Four. A co-captain of the 1995-96 squad along with fellow bookend forward Dana Dingle, Bright earned first-team all A-10 honors as a senior and finished his UMass career with 1,229 points.
Ross Burns - 1995-96 through 1998-99 # 10 (Fr./So.) / # 12 (Jr./Sr.) - Burns, a 6 foot 3 inch guard from Greenfield, played for four seasons for the Minutemen, including the Final Four season of 1995-96.
Charlton Clarke - 1995-96 through 1998-99 - # 5 (Fr.) / # 3 (So./Jr./Sr.) - A 6 foot 3 inch guard from St. Raymond's in the Bronx, Clarke's collegiate career began inauspiciously as he broke his foot in the first minute of his first game, an injury that forced him to miss a large part of his freshman season. After scoring just 32 points as a freshman, Clarke scored more than 10 times that many as a sophomore, averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists. With the departure of Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso following the 1996-97 season, Clarke took over the roll of lead guard with aplomb, averaging 12.6 points and a team-high 3.6 assists per game. Clarke, who valiantly played much of his senior season with a painful stress factor in his foot, finished his career with 1,041 points and 350 assists, becoming just the second player in UMass history and one of only three ever to achieve this feat.
Ted Cottrell - 1992-93 through 1995-96 - # 40 - A 6 foot 9 inch forward from Annapolis, Maryland, Cottrell played 72 games in his four seasons at UMass. Cottrell's finest individual effort came when he scored 10 points versus Boston University in the 1992-93 season.
Darryl Denson - 1998-99 through 1999-2000 - # 11 - A 6 foot guard from Springfield, Denson spent two seasons with the Minutemen as a walk-on.
Dana Dingle - 1992-93 through 1995-96 - # 3 - Dingle, a 6 foot 7 inch forward from St. Raymond's in the Bronx, played in a school-record 137 games during his career, starting 107. A scoring and rebounding threat who seemed to have a penchant towards finding the "must-have" rebound, loose ball or put-back, Dingle's best year came during the Final Four season of 1995-96, when he averaged career highs in points (10.1) and rebounds (7.4) per game, numbers that helped earn him third-team all-Atlantic 10 honors.
Francois Firmin - 1990-91 through 1991-92 - # 5 - A 6 foot walk-on guard from Dorchester, Firmin saw action in 15 games during his two years at UMass.
Jason Germain - 1993-94 through 1994-95 - # 5 - Germain, a 6 foot 1 inch guard from South Hadley, played in 22 games in his two seasons with the Minutemen, including 15 during his senior season.
Rafer Giles - 1987-88 through 1990-91 - # 10 - One of the all-time great three-point shooters in UMass history, it didn't take the 6 foot 2 inch guard long to win the hearts of Minutemen fans as he tied the UMass single-game record for three-pointers as he drained 8 long-range jumpers in just his third collegiate game, versus the hated Temple Owls no less. Giles for three would be a commonplace sight for UMass fans over his four seasons and when he graduated, the Richmond, Virginia native had connected on 221 treys, more than anyone in UMass history, while scoring 1,163 points.
Will Herndon - 1989-90 through 1991-92 - # 34 - One of the most beloved players in program history, Herndon was an explosive, ultra-athletic player whose play suggested someone much taller than 6 foot 3 inches; someone whose rim-rattling dunks changed games on and off the court. Indeed, the decibel levels emanating from the energized Cage crowd seemed to rise almost equally as high as some of Herndon's high-flying, gravity defying alley-oop slams. A transfer from Richmond, the Pittsburgh native came onto the scene by reaching double-figures in six of his first seven games. Herndon averaged 15.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while earning third-team A-10 honors in his initial season at UMass. The holder of the top two single-season records for field goal percentage, including an eye-popping .720 during the 1991-92 season, Herndon is the all-time program leader in field goal percentage and left UMass having scored 1,148 career points.
Derek Kellogg - 1991-92 through 1994-95 - # 14 - The future and current coach of the Minutemen, the 6 foot 2 inch Springfield native grabbed hold of the starting point guard reins his sophomore season and didn't let go until graduation, leading team in assists in each of his final three seasons. As a sophomore, Kellogg dished out 162 assists (5.0 per game) against just 55 turnovers. It was also during the 1992-93 season that Kellogg had his best single-game statistical effort, posting career highs in points (19) and assists (11) while leading UMass to a 75 to 62 win over St. Bonaventure. A third-team all-Atlantic 10 selection following a senior season in which he led UMass to the Elite Eight, Kellogg finished his collegiate career with 453 assists, which is currently fifth all-time in school history.
Lari Ketner - 1996-97 through 1998-99 - # 4 - A 6 foot 10 inch center from Philadelphia, Ketner came in with high expectations and big shoes to fill as he was occupying the spot left vacant by Marcus Camby. Ketner didn't disappoint, earning A-10 All-Rookie Team honors behind 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He also blocked 73 shots in his rookie season, a feat previously bettered only by Harper Williams and Camby. Ketner exploded as a junior, securing first-team all A-10 honors while scoring a team-high 15.2 points per game, including games of 33 points (versus Dayton) and 34 (versus St. Joseph's). After averaging 10.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game as a senior, Ketner was drafted in the second round of the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.
Chris Kirkland - 1996-97 through 1999-2000 - # 22 - A reserve during his first two seasons in Amherst, the 6 foot 6 inch forward broke through in his junior season, starting 22 games and averaging 10.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. But it was really the final six games of the 1998-99 season, when Kirkland averaged 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, which really had UMass fans abuzz. A co-captain as a senior, Kirkland scored more points in his final season (490) than in his first three seasons combined and earned third-team all A-10 honors.
Andy Maclay - 1995-96 through 1998-99 - # 14 - A 6 foot 4 inch walk-on guard who saw action in 33 games during his four years with the basketball team, Maclay also served as the punter for the football team that won the 1998 I-AA national championship.
Jim McCoy - 1988-89 through 1991-92 - # 20 - The all-time scoring leader in UMass history with 2,374 points, the 6 foot 4 inch Pittsburgh native began scoring and never stopped. Coach John Calipari's first recruit after being hired by UMass, McCoy was a scoring machine, setting a school record as he became the first-ever freshman in UMass history to surpass 500 points (555), an achievement that helped earn him the A-10 Freshman of the Year award. McCoy became just the second player in UMass history to surpass the 1,000 point plateau in only two seasons, joining Julius Erving, and as a sophomore became the first-ever UMass player to be named first-team All Atlantic 10. The all-time leading scorer in program history after only three seasons, McCoy earned first-team all Atlantic 10 honors in both his junior and senior seasons as well.
Rigoberto Nuñez - 1992-93 through 1995-96 - # 23 (Fr.) / # 44 (So. / Jr. / Sr.) - A 6 foot 7 inch forward from Lawrence, Nuñez began his UMass career as a walk-on. By his senior season, Nuñez had become a scholarship player who would finish his career with 96 points and 111 rebounds over 96 career games. In one memorable contest versus Holy Cross during the 1993-94 season, Nuñez pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes.
Tommy Pace - 1989-90 through 1991-92 - # 35 - A 6 foot 6 inch forward from Denver, Pace quickly showed the form that made him a top 70 high school recruit, averaging 5.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game over his first three games at UMass. After seeing action in 30 games as a freshman, knee problems limited Pace to 11 games over the remainder of his UMass career.
Edgar Padilla - 1993-94 through 1996-97 - # 12 - A staple of the mid-90's teams, the 6 foot 2 inch point guard's 135 games played is the second most in UMass history, bested only by Dana Dingle's 137. A native of Puerto Rico (via Springfield), Padilla quickly displayed the leadership and skills that would help him develop into one of the top point guards in the nation, distributing 88 assists as a freshman. After averaging 7.1 points and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore, the starting point guard role was passed from Derek Kellogg to Padilla, and Edgar more than lived up to the role, setting school records for the most assists (247) and steals (108) in a single season, while guiding the Minutemen to the Final Four. When Padilla's senior season had ended, he ranked second all-time in program history in assists (597) and had shattered the school record for most steals in a career with 249, over 100 more than the previous record-holder, Mike Williams.
Giddell Padilla - 1992-93; 1995-96 - # 5 (So.) / # 11 (Sr.) - The older brother of Edgar, Giddell saw action during the 1992-93 season and was a reserve on the 1995-96 squad. Giddell's signature moment as a Minuteman came in the most significant game in UMass history, in the Final Four versus Kentucky, when he saw prolonged action and played like a seasoned veteran.
Kennard Robinson - 1990-91 through 1992-93 - # 42 - A 6 foot 10 inch center, Robinson played in 82 games over three seasons, starting 15, including 11 as a senior. Robinson scored 109 points and pulled down 116 rebounds over his career.
John Tate - 1987-88 through 1990-91 - # 42 (Fr) / # 44 (So./ Jr. / Sr.) - A 6 foot 8 inch forward from Pittsburgh, Tate played in 109 games in his UMass career, breaking into the starting lineup as a sophomore, when he averaged 11.0 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. It was during this sophomore campaign that Tate had his single-game career-high, scoring 24 points while shooting a perfect 10 for 10 from the charity stripe against Holy Cross. A strong rebounder, Tate pulled in a team-high 168 caroms (5.4 per game) as a junior and 192 (5.8 per game) as a senior, including a single-game career-high 14 versus Vermont.
Tyrone Weeks - 1994-95 through 1997-98 - # 34 - A 6 foot 7 inch wide-body from Philadelphia, Weeks was a success story on and off the court. The sixth man on the Final Four team, Weeks averaged 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game during the 1995-96 campaign. When, in 1996-97, he moved into a starting role, Weeks excelled, averaging 12.6 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game. A two-time captain, Weeks career was extended when he took advantage of a newly instituted NCAA rule that allowed partial qualifiers to gain an additional year of eligibility provided they graduate in four years. One of the first to qualify under the new rule, Weeks averaged 10.1 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game as a senior and finished his UMass career with 1,013 points and 858 rebounds.
Mike Williams - 1991-92 through 1994-95 - # 10 - A pure shooter with ice water in his veins, if you were to take a poll of UMass fans, Williams would very likely be chosen as the player you'd most want to take the last shot in a pressure situation. While he frequently could be found among the leading scorers in the box score and went on to score 1,122 points in his career, it was his penchant for continuously making dramatic, nearly unfathomable last-second shots for which Williams is most remembered. Williams first displayed his uncanny ability for dramatics during his sophomore season when he hit a 3-pointer with just under two seconds remaining to break a 78-all tie against Rutgers. It was after this game that John Calipari coined the catchphrase that became synonymous with UMass basketball, stating "The phrase we're using for the rest of the year is `Refuse to Lose'". Later that season, Williams hit a 3-pointer with under one second remaining to give UMass a 68 to 65 victory over George Washington. It was Williams who hit not one, but two clutch 3-pointers in the statement-making win over # 1 ranked North Carolina early in the 1993-94 season; the first of which tied the game and sent it to overtime, the second a back-breaking 3-pointer that put the nail in the Tar Heels coffin. When UMass defeated Temple in the infamous game in which Owls coach John Chaney attacked coach Calipari in the post-game press conference, it was Williams who had hit the game-winning basket over the Owls. When UMass faced the Owls in the nationally anticipated follow-up later in the season, somehow, as improbable as it seems, it was Williams who drained a shot from far beyond the 3-point arc to propel UMass to a 51 to 50 win, UMass's first ever at McGonigle Hall.