Men's Basketball

 
Derek Kellogg Featured On College Chalktalk

Kellogg: UMass basketball is here and on the way back to where it should be on the national college basketball landscape.

Kellogg: UMass basketball is here and on the way back to where it should be on the national college basketball landscape.

Oct. 11, 2010

UMass head coach Derek Kellogg is a subject of the lead item on College Chalktalk as part of the website's 'Five Questions' series. Kellogg talks about the impact of the newcomers for the coming season and the excitement surrounding the upcoming year. "UMass basketball is here and on the way back to where it should be on the national college basketball landscape. Come watch the games and you'll see the excitement on the floor and in the crowd. Optimism is high, not only from the guys we have here but the guys we have coming. Get on board now."

Here is the full story:

College Chalktalk: Derek, can you briefly describe your newcomers and what you expect each to bring to the program?

Derek Kellogg: Well, one good thing is that we didn't have a lot of turnover this past year. As you know, we lost Ricky Harris who was obviously an integral part of what we did, and David Gibbs also transferred out. It's the first time since I've been here that we have a pretty good core group returning. As far as the newcomers, we have...

Daryl Traynham, a freshman point guard. A Washington, D.C., product, I'm expecting him to bring some good pop off the bench, speed in transition, and toughness on the defensive end of the floor. With freshmen, you never know how fast they come along, so we're in a wait-and-see approach... but at some point during the season we hope he can be a floor general for us.

We also have Maxie Esho, a 6-foot-7 forward. Maxie is more of a guy off the bench and he will be in a learning phase because of his size, strength, and weight right now.

 

 

Both are guys who, at the end of the day, will be good players at UMass, are going to be tough, and will compete at a high level.

Raphiael Putney, a redshirt freshman, will be suiting up too. I expect that he'll be a good player for us at some point. He's another guy who has some weight issues, but he's shown a propensity to work hard and do some good things out there.

Jesse Morgan, a transfer from Seton Hall, is with the program and is expected to be eligible after the first semester. I saw Jessie play in high school many years ago and I thought he could become a good college player. The toughest part about him is that he's not going to be able to do anything with the team until he becomes eligible. So, what kind of shape he's in, how long it takes him to get acclimated, and how he'll fit in with the guys at that point are all questions that will be answered down the road. So I don't want to put a lot of pressure on him but I do feel that down the road he has a chance to be a very good player at UMass.

CCT: Last season, there was much talk entering the season about Terrell Vinson - and he certainly performed - but Freddie Riley had a major impact as well. What has impressed you about Freddie and what do you expect from him this season?

DK: Freddie has made that jump - as many talk about - from being a freshman to a sophomore in terms of maturation. His work ethic and value for the game have been raised. I'm expecting his leadership and toughness to continue improving and for him to do all the little things that go into being a winner and playing championship basketball. By seeing a lot of minutes last season, it pushed his learning curve a little quicker than most, and that can only help moving forward.

CCT: Your squad finished fourth in the league in scoring offense last season but only 13th in field goal percentage. What needs to be done to improve in this area?

DK: It's early yet, but I think we'll have a more balanced attack this season. We relied so heavily on Ricky to do a lot on the offensive end; probably too much in terms of having much of the offense run through him. We will also 100% unequivocally be better and tougher defensively, we're going to continue to rebound, and we will take better shots on the offensive end.

Slowly but surely, these guys are starting to understand my philosophy, they are starting to take a piece of me with them out onto the floor. We're more mature, tougher... and we're beginning to understand that you can't win until you invest in yourself and the program, and the guys are starting to pay the price to the level I expect and anticipate.

CCT: Your team won the league's rebounding title last season. Certainly, the missed shots we just spoke about impacted that stat, but is your team also successful in that area because of the dribble-drive motion system? Or is rebounding heavily stressed from a player development perspective? Both?

DK: Both. I thought we did a better job last season on the defensive boards in particular, on limiting teams to one shot... and on staying in better position. And offensively, because you do get the defense to move and be put in different positions, that enabled us to grab more offensive boards than most teams. But I expect us to make more shots this year too.

CCT: We've asked a similar question to a couple of the other coaches around the league, but if a UMass alum asked you for the reasons to be optimistic about this team, how would you answer?

DK: We're comin. UMass basketball is here and on the way back to where it should be on the national college basketball landscape. Come watch the games and you'll see the excitement on the floor and in the crowd. Optimism is high, not only from the guys we have here but the guys we have coming. Get on board now. Let's make the Mullins Center one of the toughest places in the country to play. If UMass fans want to have a high-major, big-time program, we have to fill the seats. We need support from all UMass alums. And I'm challenging people in this area and alums to come support this team.

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