FEATURE: Republican On Bailey & Carter
Nov. 5, 2009
AMHERST - Like Mark Twain once said of stories about his own death, reports of Hashim "Big City" Bailey's weight have been greatly exaggerated, he says.
"I'm down to 265 pounds. When I came here last year, I was 300," the University of Massachusetts men's basketball center said.
"Maybe I'm Little City now."
Owner of a deep, resonant voice that would have been perfect for old-time radio, Bailey laughed.
He is not sensitive about his weight, only proud of being fit.
"I feel I'm in way better shape now. I'm looking for a big year," Bailey said.
UMass lists Bailey at 275. Whatever the scales say, the 6-foot-10 junior remains a very large, needed presence on a team that hasn't had much low-post muscle since Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme graduated in 2007.
Bailey and fellow transfer Sean Carter will provide most of the size for a team that plays its only preseason game Saturday night against Dowling College at the Mullins Center.
Bailey transferred last year from Memphis. Carter, a 6-9, 225-pound sophomore, came from Oregon State.
Neither is proven as a scorer. Bailey is especially unknown, having scored only 14 points over two seasons.
For both big men, though, it's defense and rebounding that will come first for a team whose interior game last year was led by active, wiry forward Tony Gaffney.
Even with Gaffney averaging 10.2 rebounds as a senior, UMass was outrebounded by 3.7 per game.
For that to change, Bailey and Carter must come up big.
"There are some similarities between them," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said.
"They are not traditional dribble-drive offense players, but both are traditional defensive stoppers, though in different ways.
"Sean can trap, ball-screen, block shots and run the floor. Hashim is more about taking charges and beating up the other team a bit in the paint."
According to Bailey, the nickname "Big City" (or more commonly these days, simply "City") came about not just because of his size, but his presence in the paint.
When he's playing well, the low post is his turf, his city. There, he expects to rebound, patrol the interior and score on putbacks and other chippies.
The biggest question is stamina, not just because of his size but because he has played only 39 minutes over a three-year span.
As a backup to All-American talent at Memphis, Bailey played in 14 games over two years. Then, as a transfer, he sat out last season.
"Memphis was a good experience, playing behind guys who wound up going to the NBA," Bailey said.
He is no mystery to Kellogg, a Memphis assistant when "City" was there.
Carter averaged 3.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocked shots per game at Oregon State in 2007-08.
He, too, sat out as a transfer last year.
"They both have a long way to go, but Sean's minutes can probably be in the 20s, and Hashim has really improved," Kellogg said.
"This is the best shape I've been in in a long time," said Carter, who played 447 minutes and had nine starts as an Oregon State freshman in 2007-08.
"My weight and my strength are up. I got a lot out of taking last year off; now I've just got to work on my game," Carter said.
"They expect (himself and Bailey) to finish (scoring chances) in the paint, rebound and go up strong.
"This is my third year of college, and I was here all last year. I feel I'm more experienced now."
"I'd like for each of them to play about 30 minutes per game," Kellogg said.
"They're working extremely hard. They're getting there."
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