Instead of Midnight Madness, Kellogg introduces Super Sunday

By Adam Miller

Derek Kellogg didn’t see the point of showcasing a Massachusetts men’s basketball team that in his mind, wasn’t ready to play for the public.

However, there was no way that he was going to miss an opportunity for the fans to be introduced to the Minutemen, especially when there are seven new players on the roster (five freshmen, two transfers). That’s why instead of holding Midnight Madness, UMass’ coach decided to cancel it in favor of Super Sunday on Nov. 1.

The event will be similar to Midnight Madness in many ways with the fan interaction and the dunk contest, but will also be closer to a practice than in the past.

“I wanted the guys to be put out in front of the public,” Kellogg said. “But at the same token, I wanted it when I thought they were ready for it.”

Super Sunday comes six days before the Minutemen’s first exhibition game against Dowling and on a day when the New England Patriots have a bye week. Kellogg hopes the combination of the two will not only show his team at its best, but will also be convenient for the fans with no professional teams from Massachusetts playing at that time.

“Now this is a good time after we put in a couple weeks of work where we at least look like a team,” Kellogg said of why he preferred the Nov. 1 date.

UMass will have a closed practice for an hour before the public is allowed in. At around 3 p.m., Kellogg will introduce the team and run a short practice.

The introductions will include a little bit of information on each player. With so many new players, Kellogg knows just seeing who is on the team will go a long way.

“I don’t think a lot of people know who these guys even are,” Kellogg said.

In addition, UMass will hold an autograph session and will use the event as an opportunity to sell season tickets. Kellogg is hoping to increase the amount of fans who come to home games this year, although the section with the most importance to him is the student section.

Kellogg believes that fan support is critical to the Minutemen’s success.

“I think if we had a little better support last year, we would’ve had two, three, four maybe even five more wins,” Kellogg said. “I think it’s funny that when you have a better student section, your team plays better.”

Part of getting that fan support is playing against teams that fans want to watch. This year, Kellogg scheduled games against several big name opponents including Memphis, Baylor and either Florida or Michigan State depending on the Minutemen’s performance during the Legends Classic.

UMass will also play in every area of the Commonwealth – Boston, Springfield, Worcester – this season in order to maximize its exposure.

The season starts Nov. 13 when the Minutemen travel to take on Central Florida.

Adam Miller can be reached at [email protected]