2012-2013 Overall Rank: #58
Conference Rank: #5 Atlantic 10
Massachusetts Team Page
Coach Derek Kellogg made huge strides at Massachusetts last season. After a few years of mediocrity, at best, the Minutemen finished the 2011-2012 campaign with 25 wins and a nice run through the NIT. The emergence of point guard Chaz Williams really turned Umass into a serious A-10 contender. Williams spent his freshman campaign at Hofstra before dominating in Amherst. As a sophomore last season Williams averaged 16.9 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals. He is only 5-9, but Williams can score from anywhere on the floor and he obviously does a great job of getting his teammates involved as well. Now that he is an upperclassman and has a year of experience at Umass, Williams will be ready to take this team over even more.
2011-12 Record: 25-12, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Derek Kellogg
Coach Record: 64-65 at Massachusetts, 64-65 overall
The loss of 6-9 forward Sean Carter will be the biggest issue the Minutemen need to deal with this season. Carter was the traditional big man who would stay in the paint, do a little scoring and grab some rebounds. He was not the most creative or dominating interior scorer, but Carter was strong on the glass and led the squad with 6.5 rebounds per game. Much of his scoring would come from offensive rebounds. Carter was also a decent defender. Andrew McCarthy barely played as a freshman, but the 7-1 center could have at least provided some size off of the bench eventually.
Coach Kellogg wanted to add some depth in the frontcourt to help replace Carter and he got it with Tyler Bergantino and Izzy Freeman. Bergantino has a little more girth to his frame and could battle in the paint right away. Freeman is a seven-footer, but he needs to add some strength before he will be able to do too much. Even if Bergantino and Freeman are not ready to play this year, the Minutemen have plenty of returning talent ready to pick up the slack. Trey Davis, a 6-0 guard, rounds out this recruiting class and, like the big guys, he will have plenty of time to ease his way into college life.
Who to Watch:
Sampson Carter only played in 11 games last season before suffering a hip injury. A year earlier he averaged 7.0 points and 4.3 rebounds. What better way to replace Sean Carter than with Sampson Carter? Sampson Carter is not the great rebounder that Sean Carter has been, but he is a better scorer and can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with relative consistency. The rebounding slack will need to be picked up by Terrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney. Vinson is a dynamic small forward who can score around the basket with ease. At 6-7, Vinson has great size for a small forward in the A-10 and many teams will have a very tough time defending him. Putney is a mere 185 pounds and is really more of a small forward than a power forward. However, due to his 6-9 size and ability to block shots, he will spend most of his time at the four spot. Putney has developed into a very good all-around player who connected on 1.5 three-pointers per game last season and added 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Putney is an upperclassman now and could take on a bigger leadership role. Even for a big small forward he could stand to add a few pounds, but Umass does not want him to lose any of his athleticism and hops in the process. Cady Lalanne can add some much needed size in the paint. At 6-9 and 250 pounds, the sophomore can take up a lot of space in the paint. Lalanne showed flashes during his freshman campaign and Umass will need him to at least provide size off of the bench. Maxie Esho is yet another sophomore who had a decent freshman season and can play at either forward spot.
Williams will be the leader of the backcourt, and the entire team for that matter, but the Minutemen have a few options to help him out in the backcourt. Jesse Morgan figures to return to the starting lineup after averaging 9.9 points per game as a sophomore. Morgan is a pretty good shooter, but he can also use his 6-5 frame to attack the basket. Javorn Farrell is another big shooting guard. He is not the most consistent shooter, but he is a good scorer around the basket and a very good passer who can handle the ball when needed. Freddie Riley will usually come in off of the bench and the 6-5 senior can provide a quick burst of offense with his long range shooting ability. This Umass team has been together for quite some time. There have been some losses over the last couple of years, but the core of this group has been here through the bad times and the good. Having four seniors on the roster is not a lot, but it is more than there have been for a while now and it is getting to be the time for Umass to make a serious run at the NCAA Tournament. But the A-10 is tough and this team could be even better in 2013-2014.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Chaz Williams, Junior, Guard, 16.9 points per game
Jesse Morgan, Junior, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Terrell Vinson, Senior, Forward, 9.9 points per game
Raphiael Putney, Junior, Forward, 10.1 points per game
Sampson Carter, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game