2009-10 Minutemen roster breakdown
This year’s roster for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team barely resembles anything close to last year’s. On the 15-player roster, 10 of the players have never seen a minute of playing time at UMass.
Four of the returning players are expected to be in the rotation every game, which leaves UMass coach Derek Kellogg with several new faces and a young team that will require a lot of patience early on. However, the Minutemen have several players who can play multiple positions and have a lot of potential.
It’s just a matter of how long that potential takes to help UMass win games.
Here is a player-by-player breakdown of the roster at each position, in order of expected playing time.
Ricky Harris –
He was the Atlantic 10’s leading scorer last year and the clear leader of the Minutemen.
Harris also made the A-10 Preseason First Team after he averaged 18.2 points per game for the second year in a row. With such a young team, Harris will have a lot riding on his shoulders as he will be expected to produce and live up to being a team captain in his senior season.
“He is the face of UMass basketball,” Kellogg said. “He’s an unbelievable kid both on and off the court. He’s a great leader and really someone that you would want as a son and he can play so that adds so much value to him.”
In the ideal situation, Kellogg would like to see other players step up besides Harris, but with such an inexperienced team, finding someone who can take the load off the team leader might take some time.
Anthony Gurley –
Kellogg is the most impressed with Gurley’s improvement. He averaged 11.2 points per game, but shot a 39.3 field-goal percentage. Over the summer, he became a better ball handler and is in noticeably better shape.
If the Minutemen’s exhibition game against Dowling is any indication for the work he’s done over the offseason, he also became a better rebounder. Gurley finished with eight rebounds in 24 minutes.
“That’s very encouraging,” Kellogg said of Gurley’s rebounding. “Really, for awhile there, [center] Sean Carter was going in by himself going after every rebound.”
As a redshirt junior, he is one of the few veterans on the team, and will be asked to be another go-to player for UMass. Kellogg hopes that Gurley will draw from his experience playing for Wake Forest to help the Minutemen with their competitive schedule.
David Gibbs –
It won’t be easy, but if UMass hopes to have any sort of success this season, it will have to rely on the sophomore to make up for the absence of last year’s point guard, Chris Lowe.
Making the dribble-drive motion offense works requires having a great point guard. As a starter, Gibbs will be expected to do more after averaging 17.5 minutes per game his freshman year.
One thing he has working for him is his athleticism. He’s one of the fastest players on the team and has decent jumping ability.
Now he’ll have the chance to show what he learned playing behind Lowe.
Gary Correia –
If it wasn’t for his conversation with Kellogg during the offseason, Correia would’ve been part of the Boston University squad.
But as a backup point guard, his role will be to tutor Gibbs throughout the season in preparation for potentially becoming a coach when his playing days are over. Correia should get some major minutes as a tough defensive player and because of his experience.
He also will be relied upon to hit open jumpers late in games. Correia has a long history of being a timely shooter and Kellogg hopes to see more of that this year.
Freddie Riley –
The 6-foot-5 guard brings some much needed size as a guard for the Minutemen and comes from Hargrave Military Academy, which has produced several NBA draft picks.
He has the potential to be a big-time scorer in the future, but right now Kellogg is working with him on improving his shot selection and becoming a better defender.
In the game against the Golden Lions, Riley went 1-for-9 from 3-point range. Kellogg wouldn’t mind those kinds of nights as much if he played better defense.
Lex Mongo –
He walked on last year in his junior year after the Minutemen became depleted due to injuries. Prior to joining UMass, he played intramural basketball and played on the same high school team with Gurley.
Bud Gaffney –
If his name sounds familiar, it’s because his brother is Tony Gaffney. He transferred after playing for Division III Wheaton, but will sit out the 2009-10 season.
Terrell Vinson –
He was the biggest signing from last year and now has a good chance of starting as a freshman.
Kellogg describes him as hard-nosed and capable of playing multiple positions as nearly any of the five freshmen can. Vinson leads a position that is deep but not experienced with Matt Hill being the only returning UMass forward, but missed most of last year because of injuries.
Vinson was originally going to Loyola Marymount, but pulled out of his commitment late and signed with the Minutemen.
The freshman already had the attention of the A-10 when he made the Preseason Rookie Team. This year, he will get a chance to prove the hype as he will receive a lot of minutes early.
Javorn Farrell –
All of Farrell’s teammates describe him as one of the hardest working players on the Minutemen roster, which should equate into more playing time than he was going to have originally.
Kellogg sees him as the biggest surprise talent-wise with how much he’s improved before the regular season and it showed in the exhibition game against Dowling that he doesn’t mind stepping up when needed.
Kellogg doesn’t see him at any particular position, but he is a sound all-around player who shouldn’t have much trouble getting onto the court with his work ethic.
Sampson Carter –
Carter knew he wanted to play for UMass as soon as Kellogg accepted the head coaching job because of their connection from when he was young. But if he wants playing time this year, he’ll have to compete for one of the forward spots.
Like all the other freshmen, he plays multiple positions because of his ball-handling skills and is also long and athletic.
Raphiael Putney –
He’s an exciting scorer to watch with his athleticism and shooting ability, but he has yet to develop a body that can handle the aggressiveness at the college level.
As soon as he adds on some muscle, Kellogg believes he has the potential to be an ideal player for the dribble-drive offense.
Trey Lang –
Originally a freshman under former UMass coach Travis Ford, Lang never got much playing time in his first season with the Minutemen. He sat out the following season due to academic problems, but is back with the team as a walk-on, and should receive more minutes with a lack of depth down low.
Matt Hill –
After sitting out most of last year with a torn Achilles tendon and playing eight minutes his freshman year, Hill will finally get more playing time than his first two years combined.
Although he should get to play more minutes than he has in the past, it’s unlikely that he plays more than a few minutes per game.
Sean Carter –
He’s the best big man the Minutemen have and that means expectations will be high. Carter will need to get a large share of the rebounds as he is athletic and a defensive specialist.
Carter never received much playing time at his previous school (Oregon State), so he still has a bit of work to do before he can sustain playing over 30 minutes per game, but he’s getting close.
“[Carter] is a kid that has some great tools and potential and I think the more he plays and the more comfortable he gets and the better he gets in shape, he has a chance to be another guy we haven’t seen in awhile,” Kellogg said of his center’s potential.
He will likely rotate with Hashim Bailey or even Lang if Kellogg chooses to go with a smaller lineup in order to keep his centers fresh.
Hashim Bailey –
One of the biggest challenges “Big City” had coming to UMass as a transfer out of Memphis was getting down to a size that’s not so big. He did just that during his redshirt year and lost somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds.
Similar to Carter, the key to him being a big contributor for the Minutemen is to continue that conditioning and getting to the point where he can play several minutes at a time. In the beginning, Kellogg expects both of his big men to play in minute-and-a-half bursts to make sure they stay fresh.
He is currently the biggest body UMass has and takes up a lot of size down low.
Adam Miller can be reached at email@example.com.