Kellogg introduces Minutemen at Super Sunday
By the end of Super Sunday, Derek Kellogg wanted fans to become familiar with a team that has more fresh faces than veterans. The Massachusetts men’s basketball coach used every chance possible to make sure that happened.
After the entire team was introduced, the Minutemen went into layup lines as Kellogg went into details about each one of his players. He commented on his expectations or explained a little bit about their backgrounds.
Kellogg stressed that he felt UMass wasn’t only going to be a good basketball team, but also a team who would make the surrounding community proud.
“When you see them on campus and when you see them on the community, they really are a great bunch of guys,” Kellogg said during his opening speech.
The afternoon also featured a dunk contest, which ended when freshman Raphiael Putney landed a dunk over a hunched over Javorn Farrell to beat out guard Freddie Riley.
Unlike Midnight Madness from previous years, the Minutemen held a competitive 20 minute scrimmage as Kellogg instructed his players on the microphone and at the same time tried to interact with the fans.
Kellogg made jokes about his players making mistakes, but also praised their work ethic and willingness to improve.
“What I know is I have is a great bunch of [players] who are working hard and really they’re trying to do anything I ask them to do, which is all you can ask of a team,” Kellogg said. “Now I have got to continue to push them and get them better.”
As much as he is encouraged about his team for the upcoming year, he knows that even a closed scrimmage yesterday against Boston University was more of an indicator than he’s had so far of how good UMass will be.
Out of 15 players currently on the roster, eight of them have never put on a uniform for the Minutemen. Another one (Trey Lang) hasn’t played a Division I college basketball game since the 2007-08 season.
“I really don’t know how good we are yet,” Kellogg said. “We haven’t been able to play against anyone besides ourselves.”
The first time the 2009-10 Minutemen step on the court will be on Saturday against Dowling, although they don’t start the regular season until Friday Nov. 13 against Central Florida.
Adam Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.