Scrolling Headlines:

Amherst residents rally against Dakota pipeline in water ceremony outside TD Bank -

December 6, 2016

Laura Reed discusses nuclear disarmament under Obama Administration -

December 6, 2016

SGA President announces opening of vice president position -

December 6, 2016

Four UMass divers qualify for NCAA Tournament at Bucknell Invitational this weekend -

December 6, 2016

Top 25 Basketball Notebook: UCLA pulls off major upset over Kentucky -

December 6, 2016

College football playoff seeds came out Sunday; Alabama gets top seed -

December 6, 2016

UMass club hockey comes out of travel weekend 1-1-1 -

December 6, 2016

Notebook: UMass men’s basketball guard Luwane Pipkins among nation’s best in steals -

December 6, 2016

Listen when you argue to truly understand -

December 6, 2016

Letter to the Editor: local veterans on Hampshire flag burning -

December 6, 2016

Standing Rock’s message could save America -

December 6, 2016

What people’s email signoffs say about them -

December 6, 2016

Union Square Holiday Market adds to festivities in NYC -

December 6, 2016

Veterans Advocacy Services cancels event celebrating Hampshire College flag victory -

December 5, 2016

UMass women’s basketball team can’t recover from sluggish start in 65-55 loss to George Mason -

December 5, 2016

‘Loving’ is simple, honest and a rare beauty -

December 5, 2016

Trump’s victory is unsurprising in racist America -

December 5, 2016

Capitalism must be fixed, not replaced -

December 5, 2016

Three-point shooting sinks UMass women’s basketball in loss to George Mason -

December 5, 2016

Use words to describe, not diminish -

December 5, 2016

UMass men’s basketball getting production throughout the roster

The No. 22 Massachusetts men’s basketball team doesn’t quite fit the new mold that is becoming men’s Division I college basketball.

The Minutemen don’t boast a lineup filled with superstar freshmen or potential NBA lottery picks. Instead, they are doing things the old fashioned way, with an experienced lineup that doesn’t rely on just one player to lead the way.

And maybe that is exactly why this year’s team is off to one of the best starts in program history and nationally ranked for the first time in 15 years.

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

“I think that (experience) brings you closer, makes you like a close-knit team,” junior Cady Lalanne said. “We all know each other’s game and have good chemistry with each other. What’s their go-to move. What they are like. Where they like the ball.”

One could argue that Chaz Williams was a one-man offensive show at times for UMass last season. But this year is different. Instead of Williams trying to do it all by himself, it’s up in the air every game as to who will lead the Minutemen in scoring. Through eight games, every starter has led the team in scoring at least once, with every starter averaging in double-digit points per game.

“I would say there’s a combination of a lot of things,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “A lot of guys have improved. We’ve had some different guys inserted into the lineup that have changed the complexion of the team, whether it’s Trey (Davis), Derrick Gordon, or a guy like Sampson (Carter) is playing good basketball.”

Every game, someone new steps up. Whether it’s Lalanne leading the charge with rebounds, Davis coming off the bench to hit crucial 3-pointers, or Maxie Esho upping the team’s energy by playing aggressive defense, the Minutemen have players that do the little things that don’t show up in the box score.

“Everybody is just ready,” Williams said. “Coach instilled in us to be ready at all times and I think our guys are doing that. We got that type of team that any given night, it can be any guy going off for 30 (points).”

While every player has had a hand in helping UMass get off to a perfect 8-0 start, Kellogg and the other players have been quick to defer all praise to Williams, the team’s leader.

“I think Chaz is doing a very, very good job of getting everybody involved with distributing the basketball and picking his spots to score,” Kellogg said.

That unselfish play was on full display Saturday, when Williams finished with a career-high in points (32) and assists (15) in the Minutemen’s 105-96 win over Bringham Young. Following the game, Williams said the assists total is what impressed him most and that he has always taken more pride in distributing the basketball rather than scoring it.

That mindset has made the team better so far this season and it’s made Williams a more efficient player through the first month of the season.

“I know any given play, I can give it to my teammates and they can do the same thing that I can do just as well,” Williams said. “It’s just all about having confidence in my teammates and just playing basketball.”

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @P_Strohecker.

Leave A Comment