December 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

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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