Javorn Farrell fouls out in 10 minutes, yet impresses Derek Kellogg
It’s not often that a player fouls out after 10 minutes of playing time. It’s even more unusual when that player receives praise despite fouling out so quickly.
But when that player impresses the coach with his work ethic and has a productive game in those 10 minutes, the five fouls aren’t too big of a deal.
Forward Javorn Farrell received a bulk of the credit from his teammates and Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg for helping it pull off the 80-78 win over Dowling on Saturday night.
The freshman finished with eight points, five rebounds and two steals in the 10 minutes he got off the bench. It’s a kind of stat line that draws praise from any aspect of the game.
“I don’t often see people come in for 10 minutes and get five fouls,” guard Ricky Harris said of Farrell’s effort. “He made the best of his opportunity and we applaud him for that and we know that when the season starts, he’s going to be out there on the court during thick and thin.”
Redshirt sophomore Sean Carter sees Farrell as someone who can help the team on the rebounding effort. Carter finished the game with a game-high of 12 rebounds and was the only one along with Farrell to average a rebound every two minutes they played.
“He figured out how you get on the court. He started rebounding,” Carter said.
Kellogg sees the 6-foot-5 Farrell’s skill set as so diverse that it’s hard to pin him to any specific position. He believes that he has more of an all-around game, but there isn’t anything he naturally does really well and his size makes it difficult to play him at any one position.
But what Farrell lacks in natural ability, he makes up with in work ethic. Kellogg wasn’t surprised by the effort on Saturday night because of how hard he works in practice.
“He’s played like that in practice,” Kellogg said. “If you go back to any of the things I’ve said all along, he’s the one guy that’s driven practice every day by how hard he goes.”
Overall, Kellogg was impressed by Farrell’s maturity throughout the game and went as far as saying that he played like an upperclassman.
Part of it could be Farrell’s approach to the game.
“I wasn’t nervous, surprisingly,” he said. “Everyone says a freshman should be nervous but it felt like a normal high school game.”
Harris put Farrell’s comfort during the game in perspective when he compared his debut with the freshman’s.
“[During] my freshman year, in the first exhibition game, I was nervous as hell,” Harris said.
As relaxed as Farrell was on Saturday night, Kellogg still believes he still has a long way to go. It’s not just that he fouled out of the game so quickly; he also committed two quick turnovers early in the game.
But mistakes like that are normal for freshmen and as someone who has coached some of the top freshmen in the nation during his tenure at Memphis, Kellogg knows that he will have be patient with the progress of his five freshmen.
All the UMass coach cares about is that they show a strong desire to learn, and get better based on their work ethic on the court. That’s why Kellogg doesn’t mind waiting as long as it takes for Farrell to develop into someone UMass feels comfortable relying on regularly.
Adam Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.