Harris, Riley and Vinson named to Preseason Accolades
Senior guard Ricky Harris was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Team, while freshman guard Freddie Riley and freshman forward Terrell Vinson were both named to the preseason All-Rookie Team last Thursday, Oct. 22.
Harris, the A-10’s returning leading scorer, (18.2 points per game), is the Massachusetts men’s basketball teams only senior, and will takeover the leadership role this season.
“I think it’s just a testament of a kid who has worked hard to get better, and a kid who came out of high school not highly acclaimed like some other players, [but] did a great year of prep school and worked his butt off,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said.
“He didn’t have an unbelievable freshman year, so it goes to show that if you work hard and get better, and do what the coaches are asking, you can be successful.”
Harris was named to the A-10 Third Team last season after being named to the Preseason Second Team, leading the Minutemen in scoring while becoming the 40th player in UMass history with 1,000 career points.
With a large freshmen recruiting class including Riley and Vinson, Kellogg will look to Harris to help mentor his young players while being a vocal leader on the court.
“Being the only senior, he’s really the only guy who’s been through four years of what it takes to be a successful college athlete, and I need somebody to take on a leadership role, and he’s doing a good job.”
Riley and Vinson are both two highly touted recruits who could make an impact for the Minutemen early this season. However, Kellogg wants all of his young players to work hard and have great attitudes, regardless of how much time they see early on in their collegiate careers.
“These guys are probably a little ways away from being what we all expect them to be, and my job is to get them better, to have them just help the team. The perfect case scenario is when you have four seniors and you bring in a freshmen class that can just take their time, but these guys are going to be thrown into the fire and perform early.”
Vinson was named to the Baltimore Sun All-Metro team after leading Saint Frances Academy to Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association titles his senior year, while averaging 23 points per game and eight assists.
He was also ESPNU’s No. 46 rated player in the nation and eighth-ranked small forward last year.
Before doing a post-graduate year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, Riley had a strong career at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla. There, he averaged 16 points and eight rebounds as a senior and 20 points and six rebounds as a junior.
“When you’re trying to build and get things going, that first recruiting class has to be a five man class of high level kids that fit how you want to play, and I think I accomplished that with this group,” Kellogg said.
Former UMass forward Tony Gaffney was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers last weekend, after playing in seven preseason games with the defending world champions. Gaffney went undrafted in the NBA Draft, and this summer played for the Lakers in the NBA summer league. There, he averaged 3.8 points per game and 2.8 rebounds in four games. Gaffney impressed enough people and was invited to training camp, making the Lakers for the preseason. He averaged 3.0 points per game and 1.7 rebounds in 7.7 minutes. Gaffney was named the 2009 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year after ranking third in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) his senior year. Despite not making the team, Kellogg is extremely proud of his former player in what he has accomplished so far.
“He’s that type of guy that just brings energy and enthusiasm to the game, and I envision him in the next two, three, four, years, with more experience, playing in the NBA,” Kellogg said.
David Brinch can be reached at email@example.com.