Notebook: Ty Flowers to have increased role for UMass men’s basketball amidst injuries to Baldwin and Jarreau

By Philip Sanzo

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team is riding a three-game win streak and coming off another impressive victory against Harvard. With injuries to DeJon Jarreau and Chris Baldwin, freshman forward Ty Flowers could see more time on floor in the near future.

Time for Flowers to step up

Though UMass coach Derek Kellogg does not believe freshman forward Chris Baldwin’s broken nose will force him to miss any time, the protective facemask that he will be wearing could restrict him while playing. This combined with the loss of Jarreau opens the door for Ty Flowers to be the next Minuteman to step up.

“I just think Ty Flowers is going to have to step into a role at some point here,” Kellogg said. “He is kind of the next guy I’m waiting for to get into the flow of it and kind of realize what it takes at this level all the time. And when that happens we’ll have a little bit more flexibility with Seth [Berger] and things like that.”

Flowers’ contribution to the Minutemen (4-1) this season has primarily been in the form of 3-pointers. Of his 22 field goal attempts, 17 have come from beyond the 3-point line. Working on driving to the basket has been a point of Flowers’ in practice.

“That’s something I’m trying to do,” Flowers said. “But for me to do that, I need to be in the stage of the game to do that. I need to keep running back and forth.”

Consistently good performances will earn Flowers more minutes. As of now he is averaging a little over nine minutes a game.

“It is a little different, not playing as much as you’re supposed to be playing but you got to adjust to that, you got to get there,” Flowers said. “It is a process, I’m just waiting for my time whenever it comes.”

Kellogg said that he is conscious of giving Flowers playing time, but will need to see consistent improvement in order to play him more minutes.

“I mean, I want him just to be able to be on the floor and kind of make us go on a little bit of a run so I can keep him out there,” Kellogg said. “He’s gone in a few times and it’s just kind of sat there. I think he’s just got to get a little more confidence in what we’re doing and as a coach I’ll get more confidence in him and then I think his minutes will continue to improve.”

Injury Update

It was announced last week that the freshman point guard Jarreau would miss at least four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot. Jarreau had started in all of UMass’ four games up until his injury and had already put up a 25-point game and hit a game winning shot against Temple. Things were looking up for the freshman, to say the least.

Jarreau was averaging 12 points and had collected a team leading 24 assists. The injury has opened up a starting spot for junior transfer Zach Lewis. Against Harvard, the Minutemen’s first game without Jarreau this season, Lewis scored 10 points.

The injury has forced Luwane Pipkins to focus primarily on running the offense.

“I think it is just a little bit of a learning curve from each guy,” Kellogg said. “A guy like Luwane who maybe now can come into the game and worry about defending the point guard and scoring the ball early now has the responsibility of handling the basketball and still doing those things.”

Baldwin suffered a broken nose when a Crimson player palmed him in the face Saturday. Baldwin plans on playing through the broken nose and according to coach Derek Kellogg, may not even miss a game. He will be donning the facemask during games that will protect his nose as it heals.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.