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 lands St. Francis PA transfer Josh Cohen

Cohen ranks 10th in the nation in scoring
Kayla Wong / Daily Collegian

After losing much of its talent to the transfer portal, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team landed its first portal commit of the new offseason in Josh Cohen, a junior forward from Saint Francis (PA). Cohen announced his commitment on Thursday at noon on Twitter, also talking to the Daily Collegian about his decision.

“I really didn’t know this until two days ago,” Cohen said of his commitment. “I wanted to go on all these visits, I wanted to see the schools, but I had already seen the school I wanted to be at. It just became an easy decision.”

The original plan was for Cohen to hop on a flight Friday and visit Iowa’s campus and meet Hawkeyes coach Frank McCaffrey, but then Cohen changed his mind. Martin called him a few days ago, telling the potential transfer that he has his back regardless of where he commits.

“You want to go to war for a guy like that,” Cohen said.

Martin also visited Cohen’s home in Lincroft, New Jersey and immediately impressed the former St. Francis big and his family.

“[Martin] showed his true character,” Cohen said. “He wasn’t trying to be fake, he wasn’t trying to sell me on any B.S., he told me the reality and the state of his program. He told me a lot of things that I didn’t want to hear. There’s some things I need to work on and he came to my home and told me ‘these are the things you need to do.’ I like someone who’s not just going to tell me what I want to hear, but tell me what I need to hear, and that’s what coach Martin did.”

Cohen added that Martin wants him to work on defense, rebounding, playmaking in the post, implanting 3-pointers among other skills. Last season, Cohen was named the Northeast Conference Co-Player of the Year as he averaged 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

He ranked top-10 in the country in scoring and top-30 in field goal percentage at 58.5 percent, and second in the nation in points per game from the post, trailing only Purdue’s Zach Edey. The 6-foot-10-inch, 220-pound forward provides an interior scoring presence that UMass coach Frank Martin didn’t have in his first season at the helm.

Cohen had two 40-point games this season without attempting a 3-pointer. Despite the low level of competition he faced in the NEC, Cohen showed ability to score against strong competition when he dropped 30 points against Final Four participants Miami, as well as 18 points and 10 rebounds against Ohio State. As for Atlantic 10 foes, Cohen scored 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting at Saint Bonaventure in the first game of the season.

As a sophomore, he was named the NEC Most Improved Player after averaging 12.9 points and seven rebounds per game.

Cohen visited UMass and Penn State in March, and was scheduled to visit Florida and Iowa this weekend before making an early decision to play for the Minutemen.

Pedro Gray Soares can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @P_GraySoares.

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  • P

    Peter CohenApr 8, 2023 at 4:44 am

    Great Article Pedro. You are going to enjoy watching and covering Joshua. play the game of basketball.
    Regards, Peter

  • G

    Gary LewisApr 7, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    It apoears he wanted to stay closer to home. Iowa and Florida would have give him more exposure.