Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

Kellogg leading UMass in right direction

When Derek Kellogg played for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team, the team was much different than it is today.

Games were nationally televised, the Mullins Center was packed and the state was in love with the team.

Today, the attendance at a game could easily be counted in a matter of minutes, the team is not a powerhouse in the world of college basketball and there is very little national recognition for the team. But with a little more than a year under his belt, Kellogg has taken numerous steps in the right direction.

Kellogg wants to see things return to the way they used to be, and he has made that clear since the day he was named the head coach of the Minutemen. He also shows this desire in what he has done in just over a year of being at the helm.

“People at UMass want a national program, they want a team that’s going to play against the best,” Kellogg said. “I want to recruit the best players and we want to get national exposure and the only way you do that is by playing a national schedule.”

First Kellogg has set up a schedule that gets UMass the national coverage it needs to become the team Kellogg wants. Last year, there was the opening game to ESPN’s Midnight Madness against Memphis and an upset by the Minutemen on ESPN2 against the 2007-08 national champions, Kansas. UMass even played a game in Springfield, Mass., against Dayton to help encourage different parts of the state to follow the team.

This year, the schedule is no easier as Kellogg has given his young team an even tougher challenge. The Minutemen will face off with either Florida or Michigan State at the end of November in the Legends Classic tournament, Memphis on ESPN2 in Boston at the TD Garden, Davidson, Central Florida and Baylor. UMass plays again in Springfield, Mass., against La Salle in January as well to help spread the team’s brand.

But Kellogg doesn’t stop there in his pursuit to return the Minutemen to prominence. He is not just trying to get national recognition and hope for a few upset wins to help put UMass on the map; he’s using the schedule as a recruiting tool, something he did very effectively this past year.

“The schedule is very difficult this year,” Kellogg said. “I’m trying to recruit the kids who want to play at that level and the only way you do that is scheduling those types of games.”

Kellogg brought in one of the top groups of freshman in the conference, if not in the country, proving his ability to recruit. He is also recruiting the players he wants that fit his system.

“I think we’re a little more versatile because I have more guys who can play the way that I want to play,” Kellogg said. “I think there’s some merit that these guys are guys that I recruited and spent a lot of time with.”

But Kellogg knows this is a process and UMass fans need to understand this too. You do not become a national powerhouse overnight or with one recruiting class. This is why many of UMass’ big games this year are on the road. Next year those teams will travel to Amherst, and the freshman that are still learning Kellogg’s system will be a year older with experience under their belts, and Kellogg will be hoping for more of the upsets like the team had against Kansas last year.

“It’s a schedule that I want to continue to have so that when we get older and more mature, we can compete with those guys on the road, in a hostile environment and on television,” Kellogg said.

Even more so, Kellogg knows this year may be tough especially at the beginning. The Minutemen are full of players who have yet to see time in a college basketball game, so there will be mistakes as the players get comfortable with the system. Kellogg just wants to see the players working hard.

“I’m going to have to put up with some turnovers in this offense early on because the guys are all new and we’re trying to have them play faster than they’ve ever played before,” Kellogg said. “But if they play hard, if they defend, if they go to the boards and if they have great attitudes, I’ll live with that. I’ll live with the consequences and the wins and losses.”

The fact that Kellogg is willing to put up with mistakes and losses proves another thing: Kellogg has faith in this team and the players he assembled. He knows that if his players are putting in the time and effort, as well as always playing their hardest, the wins will come. He wouldn’t put up with the mistakes and the losses if he thought otherwise.

There is a recipe that Kellogg is following, and right now he is gathering all of the ingredients. For UMass fans, they need to trust in what Kellogg is doing, and put up with the early losses just as Kellogg is doing, until all of the ingredients are mixed together and UMass has a basketball team that resembles those of Kellogg’s playing days.

It may not come this year, or even the next, but under Kellogg, UMass will be a team the school, as well as the state, will fall in love with again.

Jeffrey R. Larnard is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at jlarnard@student.umass.edu.

Leave A Comment