Scrolling Headlines:

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

12 UMass students face possible arrests in connection to an alleged bad LSD trip -

May 14, 2016

UMass baseball falls in first-ever Division I matchup with UMass Lowell 7-3 -

May 11, 2016

UMass baseball gets shut out in nonconference matchup with UConn -

May 10, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Richmond, wins eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship -

May 9, 2016

UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning -

May 9, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse beats St. Joe’s, advance to Atlantic 10 championship game -

May 7, 2016

Lack of offense plagues UMass baseball in game two of doubleheader with Fordham -

May 1, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Davidson 12-5 on Senior Day -

May 1, 2016

Two arrested after report of aggravated robbery in Washington Hall last night -

May 1, 2016

Former UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe selected in fifth round of 2016 NFL Draft -

April 30, 2016

Ryan Moloney pitches seven scoreless innings as UMass baseball takes series opener from Fordham -

April 30, 2016

Youth making considerable impact as practices resume

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

Official practices began last Friday for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team, setting in motion a 30-practices-in-40-days schedule building up to the season opener against Boston College on Nov. 10.

For anyone alarmed that the return of basketball season snuck up this season – take a deep breath— there’s still plenty of time before it actually tips off. UMass is simply complying with a new NCAA rule that expanded practice schedules. Instead of jamming 30 practices into a four-week window, teams are now allowed 40 days to practice.

Coach Derek Kellogg thinks positively of the added practice time.

“It’s three days where I didn’t go as long as we maybe could’ve or should’ve,” he said when asked about the start of the new schedule. “I thought it was a good pace, we went a couple hours three straight days and the guys performed well.”

The official start of practices offered the first glimpse at some of the new talent displayed on the current roster. The Minutemen added four freshmen – Zach Coleman, Demetrius Dyson, Clyde Santee and Seth Berger – in addition to redshirt sophomore Derrick Gordon, who was sidelined last season after transferring from Western Kentucky.

For the four freshmen, continued adjustment to the speed of college play will come with additional practice time. So far, Kellogg’s satisfied with what he’s seen.

“What I’ve been impressed with thus far with them is they kind of have a good basketball IQ,” he said of their sense for the game.

While UMass enters the season with an established group of players in place, the young players will have an opportunity to make an impact as the Minutemen look to replace the production of both Terrell Vinson and Freddie Riley. Vinson, one of two players to start every game for UMass last year, averaged 12.3 points per game a season ago, while Riley was often regarded as the team’s strongest perimeter defender.

Remaining competitive throughout practice will go a long way in filling some of those minutes, especially for the younger players.

“The competition’s pretty good right now, (the freshmen) are pushing the older guys,” Kellogg said. “It’ll be interesting as things start to play out.”

Sampson Carter, one of three seniors on the roster, is embracing the style of competition in addition to his leadership role on the team.

“I think it’s good we have a lot of freshmen,” he said. “Having a lot of freshmen really motivates me to do everything the correct way, the right way, just to be a leader and show them how everything’s supposed to be done … they push me to go harder every day.”

Carter’s familiarity with the system also creates an easy avenue of leadership for younger players to visit.

“I’ve been here a while now and I climbed the steps so I know the steps by now,” Carter said, adding that leadership “comes natural” to him now.

Entering the season, the Minutemen will need significant contributions from veterans such as Carter or Raphiael Putney. But Kellogg notes that success can come in a variety of different ways.

“Don’t worry so much about things that don’t really matter, like scoring or making shots,” Kellogg said. “If (the veterans) do the little things of defending and rebounding and playing within the team, we’ll be a good basketball team and if we’re a good team, those guys will look good.”

With over a month of practice time remaining, Kellogg still has plenty of evaluation to do, especially with the younger players. But he also has a message to returning players in regards to the competition.

“I wouldn’t stay out too long if I was the older guys,” he said.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at mchiarel@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli

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