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

Morning Wood: Allow me to introduce the future of UMass hoops

The new fantastic four that will rip through the Atlantic 10
McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian

By now, most students on campus are well aware that the Massachusetts men’s basketball program is beginning a new era. Frank Martin’s epic arrival on campus has people talking, and with the departure of Matt McCall, people are wondering what’s next for the men’s team.

In dire need of a record like the women’s team, I think bringing in the right players and creating a culture that expects excellence needs to be done. The men’s program wants to build under the orchestration of Martin. My extensive yet average playing career, various volunteer hours  coaching youth basketball programs and my time as captain and player on intramural teams here on campus prove I am creditable to suggest the future of the program.

Well yes, I did lose a state championship, I won two sectional titles at the Curry Hicks Cage, so basically, I am Dr. J. I mean who disrespects Dr. J’s opinion on basketball and winning? Nobody, so trust mine. Plus, I interviewed him back in September, so again, I am a basketball god.

That said, allow me to introduce the future of the program: Freddy Hanna, Joey Aliberti, Colin McCarthy and Kevin Schuster.

These four men have proved to be masters of basketball and under my captainship, strived in the coed league of intramural. Yes, our record was poor, but their playstyle and mentality were not.

Hanna, a senior who plans to fail his final classes and use his COVID-19 grad year eligibility to play for the team instead of covering it is a hard-working guy. While yes, most will remember that wide open missed layup in game two, he made up for with defense on the next play. His speed makes any opponent with the ball nervous, and his humor rattles the most serious players. Hanna’s experience will help guide UMass toward victory.

Aliberti is currently dealing with some back pain after carrying the weight of being the most clutch player on the team. After a second half surge from the opposing team made us climb back into the winning spot with under five minutes to play, Aliberti stepped up with lethal 3-point shooting. Despite often being labeled as “a short king,” he channels that energy elsewhere and plays like he is 6-foot-5, making layups through contact and doing whatever he can to carry his team to victory.

After reading and editing articles all year long, it seems like there is a missing piece to the UMass bench and roster. Someone who is publicly and shamelessly kind to just about everyone, never saying no to helping others and defines the word dependable. That man and missing piece is Colin McCarthy. While his percentage from downtown is rather poor, the percentage of lives he has positively impacted are high. He is the player on the bench cheering for everyone. He made sure everyone got minutes and never forgot to say, “nice game,” despite a mercy rule loss. McCarthy will be the x factor off the court that leads to x factors on the court. His heart and work ethic will inspire others, changing the identity of the team immediately.

While Aliberti and Hanna provide quick offense, the new era for UMass will also value defense. Schuster is formally a soccer goalie, so his hands are always moving. With height and length along with speed, Schuster gets numerous touches per game and alters shots, something that will shake up even the most perfect offense. Anyone who knows basketball knows how much defense plays a role. Schuster can also shoot from outside and pass well and that versatility will bode well for Martin’s search for success.

I know basketball. I write about it, I’ve played it, I was voted “best captain vibe-wise” by my team. If UMass Twitter and Frank Martin want to improve the program, these four men can do just that. I vouch for them with zero hesitation.

Editor’s note: the closing paragraph is not satirical and should be taken seriously by any reader.

I’ve had the pleasure of having these four gentlemen on my “team,” this past year, and again, with zero hesitation, I emphasize their greatness. I could not have asked for a better group to work with. With the year coming to an end, Hanna graduating and others taking on new roles within the paper, I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to publish a story bragging about their greatness.

I’ve been the luckiest captain or coach this year, and I thank my team for being there for me every step of the way, defining what it means to support, work hard and achieve great things.

Coach Kesin can be found talking about basketball, Joe Burrow and much more near Peet’s Coffee in the ILC almost every day.

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