Derek Kellogg Speaks At Atlantic 10 Media Day
Oct. 28, 2008
Amherst, Mass. - Head Coach Derek Kellogg's General Comments
Everything is going very well. The students on campus have been very responsive and supportive of this program. We are excited to gets going. We are having some good practices right now. The players are competing with each other at a high intensity level. The senior leadership has been very good. I am just excited to get into a situation where we can compete against other high level NCAA teams.
Coach Kellogg on style of play
We are looking to play an exciting style both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. We will be attacking. On the offensive end, we are looking to push the tempo and play dribble-drive offense that was made famous by the Memphis team last year. Defensively we want to do the same thing. We want to be on the attack and play a fun, fast-paced style that the fans want to see and the players want to play in.
Coach Kellogg on response to UMass basketball
It has been great. Everywhere you go, people are excited about the program and where it's heading and where they believe it can be. It has been a great homecoming for me, thus far. Everyone is pretty optimistic up until the first loss and then the reality sets it. But overall, the feeling is pretty good and state-wide people are pumped up about UMass basketball, as well as the university in general--where it's heading and things going on around campus. It is a great time to be in the western Massachusetts area, in front of UMass, and part of the UMass basketball family.
Coach Kellogg on ability of players to fit fast-paced game
We have some pretty athletic players that can get up and down the floor. You never know until we start playing the game what will work and what we have to get better at. But I do believe that we have guys that can get up and down the floor, press, trap, and make things happen. We have a senior point guard, Chris Lowe that can put the ball in his hands and make some things happen. I am excited to see those guys play the style that I am trying to coach.
Coach Kellogg on Chris Lowe
I expect Chris Lowe to be exactly what he has been predicted--a first team All-Conference player. That is a guy that can put a team on his shoulders and lead. He leads everyday at practice and he will lead every time we step on that floor, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. We are getting to know each other better everyday in practice and as we spend more time together. Once I can get him on the same page, mentally, that I am on, and we are together hand-in-hand through everything, I think we have a chance to be a pretty good basketball club.
Coach Kellogg on mentor John Calipari
Obviously, spending so much time with Coach Calipari as a player and a coach, I have learned a lot of different things--not only about coaching basketball, but about how to treat people and about life in general. He has been instrumental in my growth from a young man to a grown man as well as from an assistant coach to a head coach. He has done an unbelievable job of helping me become prepared for this day. We are going to do a lot of things that I learned at Memphis, but you have to have your own personality as a coach and take what works for you and what fits into your system. A lot of things we did at Memphis, that obviously gave them success will work nicely here at UMass.
Coach Kellogg on key players
As a whole, I love our senior leadership. Some guys did not play as many minutes as they could have last year, such as Luke Bonner, who is a seven-foot kid who is starting to play a little more like a seven-footer. He is getting in there and mixing it up a little. He has a great three-point shot and has brought great leadership both on and off the court. I love coaching Tony Gaffney, who is a do-everything guy who plays the style of basketball we want to play. Ricky Harris, who averaged 18 points a game last year, will obviously continue to be a scorer, but also, on the defensive end has become one of the best defenders in the league. Two of the new guys, Anthony Gurley, who transferred from Wake Forest, is a pleasure to be around and David Gibbs, a highly rated freshman who has come in and done some nice things in practice. Tyrell Lynch has been good in practice. Gary Correia has been a pleasant surprise, bringing it everyday on both ends of the floor. I am excited about these guys. I think they are competing everyday and when the ball is tossed up and the lights go on, then you will know who the players are.
Coach Kellogg on new post players
Hopefully the new guys can contribute right away because we are a little light up front. Tyrell Lynch is a bigger kid, 6'8'', 255 pounds. At this point, I need him to be a little lighter so he can be a little quicker and more athletic, but I am expecting some pretty big things out of him this year. We need him to be a force inside, dominating on the boards and play some unbelievable defense and give us a post presence. Travon Wilcher is taking a little bit more time, but he is an unbelievable athlete that comes with a great attitude everyday. He is an ambassador and a role model. I love coaching both of those guys, and the sooner they can come along and give us something, the better I think our team will be.
Coach Kellogg on Memphis game
Anytime you can go back, and play on national television, and get your program on the national scene, you have to do it, especially if you are going to get a return game at the Boston Garden next year. We are excited about the game. I am not sure if our guys know what they are in for, going down into a hostile environment with 20,000 people in that type of setting with a team that has enough talent to be an elite eight team, or beyond, you never know what can happen at that point. I am excited to see our guys compete and play at that level, but I am just not certain what is in store for us when we get down there.
Coach Kellogg on NIT run last season
I do not know what the implications for this year will be. I do know that this will prepare us for tournament basketball, with those guys now have the feeling that they can win in a tournament and compete. I am trying to set my own tone, and trying to teach the guys that the defensive end of the floor is of the utmost importance. We have to be able to lock teams down in tournament play. That is how you will advance. We are going to play fast and get up and down on offense, but right now we are trying to build a base and get the guys thinking the right way so that we can potentially make a run in any tournament, whether it be the Atlantic 10 tournament, the NIT tournament, or the NCAA.
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