Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass basketball prepares for exhibition game against AIC

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg has a few ideas in mind of what his starting five may look like, but he’s not completely sure just yet.

It may not be indicative of what it will look like in the team’s season opener on Nov. 13 against Harvard, but this Saturday, he’ll have to reveal at least one of his ideas as the Minutemen host American International College in an exhibition game at the Mullins Center.

UMass returns four starters from a season ago, but having lost center Sean Carter to graduation in May, the starting five will look a bit different when the team takes the floor this season.

“In my head, it wavers every day of who I want to put in there,” Kellogg said. “Do I want to go big and play one of the bigger guys or go small and start Maxie (Esho) at the five? So, I’m not so sure where we’re at yet but the next couple of days will tell.”

Figuring out how to manage the departure of Carter is just one of the many storylines and decisions facing Kellogg and the Minutemen.

UMass will feature three freshmen this year – guard Trey Davis and big men Tyler Bergantino and Izzy Freeman – who will likely receive a lot of playing time. Kellogg anticipates to give them a quality amount of minutes this Saturday against AIC, but he’s been particularly impressed with Bergantino in the preseason.

“He’s done a nice job so far in practice,” Kellogg said. “He’s starting to really buy in and get better and he’s really figuring out how a big guy needs to play for us and what I expect out of him.”

Saturday will be the first chance for fans to watch point guard Chaz Williams this season, who was tabbed as an Atlantic 10 first team selection and among the early candidates for A-10 Player of the Year. While he’s excited to see the younger players play, Kellogg is especially looking forward to seeing Williams get back to his 2011-12 form.

“I want to see Chaz play a lot of minutes and get him back to playing with that speed and fire he has, and really let him go out there and explore the game,” Kellogg said.

AIC, located in Springfield, has a Division II basketball program and is a member of the Northeast-10 Conference. Notable alumni include retired Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun and former NBA guard Mario Elie.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Mullins Center. Tickets are $10 per person for the general public and free for students.

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @steve_hewitt.

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  • W

    willNov 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I disagree umasshoopsfan, a lot of the older people who are here (our current senior class) are not ideal players. They simply don’t match up best with the current style and are holdovers from the failed dribble drive days. I expect Freddy Riley will basically run the bench all season unless there is a game where what they need in the last minutes is to Jack up BS threes and pray.

    The incoming class are all for the most part better players than the people leaving this year. We may love them but when you have 2 star recruit forward/center and a new 7 ft tall center and Cady off injury, Vinson and Ferrell are basically gonna ride bench. It is like with Davis now as sub point you wont see Riley in at sg and Morgan at point.

    We all like some of these guys but the team is at a literal different level now with at least 3 players that will definitely make the NBA (Williams, Putney, and Bergantino) Think about it this way in 95 Calaperi wouldn’t have dropped in Riley… ever, we are back on the path to the top, which means recruits that are just better than the seniors.

  • J

    jim pierottiNov 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Unless one is present at DK’s practices (and i know q little bit about it-i was there at Coach Cals teams from 88-90) then we do not know how freshman are performing at this stage of the season. Maybe the frosh wont play meaningful minutes. Maybe they will. We dont know. Who knows at this point.

  • U

    UMassHoopsFanNov 1, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I kind of disagree. I doubt the frosh will see meaningful minutes this year, since there are 9 returnees who will all play. I suspect that none of the rookies will see more than 8 minutes a night and that’s a good thing. It means there’s veteran depth and will allow the young guys not to be thrown into anything too soon.