Scrolling Headlines:

Berkeley professor researches high-poverty high school -

December 11, 2017

Rosenberg steps down as Senate President during husband’s controversy -

December 11, 2017

Students aim to bring smiles to kids’ faces at Baystate Children’s Hospital -

December 11, 2017

‘Growing Cannabis On the Farm’ event held at Hampshire College -

December 11, 2017

UMass women’s basketball defeats Saint Peter’s for third straight win -

December 11, 2017

Celebrity culture could be a part of the problem -

December 11, 2017

Mulligan’s defense, rebounding helps push Minutewomen past Saint Peters -

December 11, 2017

Gaudet’s power play goal clinches 2-1 victory over Union for UMass hockey -

December 11, 2017

The department of Judaic Studies makes a disappointing decision -

December 11, 2017

The merits of print journalism shouldn’t be overlooked -

December 11, 2017

‘Coco’ is a colorful movie with a refreshing culture -

December 11, 2017

Tips to help manage stress during finals -

December 11, 2017

UMass women’s basketball rolls over Fisher College 121-38 in a record setting affair -

December 10, 2017

Hailey Leidel catches fire, breaks program record for 3-pointer’s in 121-38 victory over Fisher College -

December 10, 2017

Hockey Notebook: Jake Gaudet beginning to find his rhythm with UMass hockey -

December 10, 2017

Pipkins’ scoring outburst leads UMass past Providence -

December 9, 2017

Second half run leads UMass men’s basketball over Providence -

December 9, 2017

Students vote ‘yes’ for Student Union renovations -

December 8, 2017

Editorial: Our shift to a primarily digital world -

December 7, 2017

Writer and Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King speaks at Amherst College -

December 7, 2017

Unique McLean will have the opportunity to play a large role for UMass basketball

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

In one of the first basketball games of the 2016 season, chants for Unique McLean to enter the game echoed down from an upper section of the Mullins Center. McLean wouldn’t enter that game, nor any game for the Massachusetts basketball team that season, as he redshirted the entire year.

Nearly a year later, McLean is ready to take the Mullins Center court. So ready, in fact, that he has a countdown app on his phone, counting down the days until he and the rest of the Minutemen take on UMass Lowell Nov. 10 to open up 2017-18.

Having sat out last year makes his debut next month that much more special.

“I’m excited to play now,” McLean said. “I got the countdown app on my phone, and I’m ready to play. I’m excited, I’m ready to step on the court and show everybody what I can do.”

Having sat out the entire season, McLean still was able to practice with the team and observe from the sideline. It was the first time in McLean’s career that he ever had to miss a substantial amount of time, but he found value in the experience.

“It was kind of hard sitting on the sideline and just watching but it’s also a good thing learning from the older guys, watching the games, seeing their mistakes and trying not to repeat those,” McLean said. “So it was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time because I want to get on the court. But overall, I think it’s going to be a good situation.”

McLean’s impact with the team will be almost immediate given how little depth the Minutemen have in the backcourt.

“I think he is going to get an unbelievable opportunity, all these guys are,” head coach Matt McCall said. “Him, Carl Pierre, Ray Miller, guys who haven’t played in a college game or in an enormous amount of a college game, those guys are all going to get an opportunity. And it’s really about what they do with that opportunity here going forward.”

After growing up in Brooklyn, McLean played a prep year at the MacDuffie School in Granby, Massachusetts, where he was a three-star recruit, according to ESPN. McCall believes his athleticism is a major key to his success.

“One of the things that stands out the most is just his athleticism,” McCall said. “We’ve really been trying to harp to him just about impacting the game on the defensive end of the floor. With his length, with his athleticism, he should always be in the right spot defensively. He should always be in right spot and put his focus on that. He’ll score as a byproduct of being in the right spot.”

Possible starting point guard Luwane Pipkins went through a similar situation, having to redshirt his freshman year.

“Sitting out is just a growing year to be honest,” Pipkins said. “Get stronger, get faster, get better as a player and as a person. And then when you get back, you just got to take all that work you’ve done in the postseason and just put it all into the season.”

Pipkins agreed that finally getting a chance to play was that much more special.

“To be honest, yeah, because you’re really excited to play college basketball,” he said. “It’s your first year playing college basketball. You want everyone to see you, you want your family to see you. So I mean, it’s pretty special for some people who sit out.”

As it stands now, still a month away from the start of the season, McCall will have to manage his backcourt with Pipkins, the freshman Pierre, McLean, senior C.J. Anderson and walk-on Rayshawn Miller. The career-ending heart condition diagnosis that Jaylen Brantley received yesterday has further limited McCall’s options at guard, especially in terms of experience.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at psanzo@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

Leave A Comment