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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

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Kellogg puts Harris in control of the dribble-drive offense

mhoopsEWhen former Memphis coach John Calipari introduced the dribble-drive motion offense to his basketball team before the 2005-06 season, he had the benefit of having two point guards who possessed solid ball-handling ability and a knack for scoring.

Darius Washington, Calipari’s first point guard to run the new offense, averaged 14.4 points per game in his two years with the Tigers and earned All-Conference USA team honors his sophomore year.

The next point guard to take over was Derrick Rose, who wound up becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft after averaging 14.9 points per game with Memphis.

Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg brought the offense along with Vance Walberg, who created the dribble-drive when he took over before the 2008-09 season. Kellogg hoped that his point guard, Chris Lowe, could become a prolific scorer in the offense similar to Washington and Rose.

Lowe’s scoring average went up from 11.8 points per game to 12.4, but he also averaged four turnovers a game compared to his junior year when he averaged 2.9, and the Minutemen finished 10th in the Atlantic 10.

This year, sophomore David Gibbs got the nod as the starting point guard for UMass (3-4), but he struggled in the offense under Walberg’s system, averaging 2.9 points and 2.9 assists per game.

Kellogg tried using junior Gary Correia at that position by giving him more minutes, but he also struggled under the offense.

Over Thanksgiving break, Kellogg figured he’d shake the lineup around a little bit by playing the Minutemen’s leading scorer, Ricky Harris, as point guard in order to have his biggest threat bringing the ball up like he had at Memphis.

Kellogg made the move mostly because he thought Harris would be more comfortable as an experienced player compared to Gibbs.

“I just felt like putting a senior back there with the ball brought stability to the team and Gibbs was playing well, but I need him to get more comfortable with that position,” Kellogg said.

The only concern Kellogg had about making the move was that his scoring might go down and because UMass relies so much on Harris to make the offense work, the switch might do more harm than good.

So far, Kellogg likes what he sees. Harris is still one of the leading scorers on a consistent basis, and he has an understanding of how to play within the offense.

“It’s nice to have a point guard who can put the ball in the basket as well as distributing it,” Kellogg said. “I just think that Ricky is our most mature player. He is our only senior, and to give your older guys the ball is really the way to go.”

On Wednesday night against Quinnipiac, Harris (six assists) nearly tied his career-high in assists (seven on Jan. 30, 2008 against Duquesne), and also scored 19 points. That effort was enough to convince Kellogg that Harris is best suited for the position.

“All in all, I think he might’ve been the best or second best player in that game,” Kellogg said.

The transition hasn’t been perfect. Against Rutgers and Michigan State, Harris combined for 11 turnovers, but Kellogg believes as he becomes used to his new position, that number isn’t going to be so high.       

In an ideal situation, Gibbs will go back to point guard either sometime this year or next year once he becomes acclimated with running the dribble-drive offense and gains experience. But for now, Kellogg believes that Gibbs will improve the most as a point guard either by playing shooting guard or sitting behind Harris.

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

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