Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:57 am

UMass' pint-sized point guard brings relevance

Chaz Williams is probably shorter than Gary Parrish. (Goodman's phone)

By Jeff Goodman

We'll have a column today on Xavier, but UMass certainly worthy of praise as the Minutemen stand one victory shy of a 20-win campaign: 

AMHERST, Mass. - Derek Kellogg had never laid eyes on Chaz Williams before. The UMass head coach and his staff did their due diligence, talked to plenty of CAA coaches who spoke glowingly of the Hofstra transfer and his toughness and ability to play far larger than his diminutive stature. 

Then the UMass coach and former point guard got his first look at Williams when he came to Amherst on a visit. 


"I thought his height was questionable," Kellogg said. 

"But he walked with a swagger," Kellogg added. "And I just figured this kid has to be able to play." 

Williams is listed at 5-foot-9, but Kellogg was already forewarned that his newest recruiting target wasn't a legit 5-9. Then he walked in the door. 

"I think he's probably 5-foot-5," Kellogg said of the Brooklyn native. 

"He's killing me," Williams said of Kellogg claiming he's 5-foot-5. 

All joking aside on Williams' stature, this kid can play. He's exactly what Kellogg has needed since he replaced Travis Ford at UMass: a legitimate floor leader. 

Admittedly, I saw Williams on his most impressive 40 minutes (he actually logged 38) as a Minuteman point guard. He was clearly the best guard on a court that also featured fellow New Yorkers Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, going for 29 points and dishing out nine assists. 

"He did everything for us tonight," Kellogg said. "He made shots, made free throws and defended," Kellogg said. 

That hasn't always been the case, but when Williams plays this way he changes this UMass team and makes them a viable contender for a Top four spot in the A-10. The Minutemen won their 19th game last night against Xavier and improved to 8-5 in league play, which puts them in a three-way tie with the Musketeers and Saint Joseph's for third place. 

"This was as big as any win we've gotten since I've been back," Kellogg admitted after the 80-73 win. "Xavier has been the benchmark of the league -- and for us to do it with what was on the line."

Kellogg hasn't gotten UMass basketball back to what it was in the days when John Calipari was running things, but the fan support has grown as the wins have piled up and as Kellogg has altered his style of play, opting to press and run with added frequency. 

Xavier came into last night's game having won the past six in the series, but Williams and his teammates snapped that streak and while the program's point guard hasn't had to endure what most of his teammates have over the past few years, he was primed on the importance of this victory. 

"They gave me an understanding of everything," Williams said. "Guys told me how Xavier has left a bad taste in their mouth over the last few years, but this year we're turning things around and making people realize that UMass basketball is back." 

Back by Calipari standards?  No, but that'll never happen again. That's just plain unrealistic. 

However, UMass has become relevant in the A-10 again. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:16 pm

Travis Ford with a 2nd historic recruiting class

By Jeff Goodman

I wasn't certain that Travis Ford could match the recruiting class he assembled while at UMass back in 2007. Ford received nine commitments in that group - four transferred, two never arrived, two were seldom-used role guys and one wound up being a solid contributor. 

Now Ford has gone 0-for-7 with his 2009 class at Oklahoma State. 

That's two complete classes and virtually nothing to show for it. No wonder why Derek Kellogg is still trying to get things going at UMass and why Ford's team is struggling and just 7-6 this season. 

With point guards Reger Dowell and Fred Gulley both deciding to transfer, there isn't a single member of Ford's recruiting haul that resides in Stillwater. Six of the seven have left via transfer - and the prize of the class never made it academically. 

Here's the complete rundown: 

Reger Dowell: Started three of the first 11 games and averaged 5.5 points in 19.2 minutes per game. Recently opted to transfer. 

Fred Gulley: The Arkansas native started 14 games as a freshman and suffered a shoulder injury last season. He had started five games this season and was averaging 4.0 points in 18.4 minutes when he decided to leave. 

Ray Penn: Yet another point guard who didn't make it. Penn started 15 games his freshman season, but was kicked off the team last year after starting 10 games and averaging 5.9 points. He reportedly transferred to Texas Southern, but isn't on the roster. 

Roger Franklin: Was a heralded recruit who barely played (averaged 1.7 points last season) and transferred to North Texas. He received a waiver to play immediately due to an illness in the family. He's averaging 7.3 points and 4.5 boards for the Mean Green so far this season. 

Jarred Shaw: The 6-foot-11 Texan played sparingly in 26 games over  two seasons before transferring to Utah State. He's sitting out this year. 

Torin Walker: The 6-foot-11 Georgia native played 10 games as a freshman before transferring to Middle Tennessee. He sat out last season and is averaging 0.6 points and 0.3 rebounds this season. 

Karron Johnson: Talented, but enigmatic. He's bounced around plenty and never qualified. He went to junior college for two years and is now at D-3 Shaw University, where he has yet to play this season. 

Now let's take a refresher course with that UMASS GROUP FROM 2007: 

Travon Wilcher: He transferred to Maine, averaged 1.0 point per game last season in six games and hasn't played a single minute this year. 

Papa Lo: After averaging 0.3 points as a freshman at UMass, he transferred to Bryant and averaged 0.4 points and 0.8 rebounds last season. 

Max Groebe: He transferred to Cornell after logging a total of 104 minutes as a freshman under Ford and is averaging 1.5 points in 5.5 minutes this season for the Big Red.

Matt Glass: He transferred to Vermont after averaging 3.4 points in 13.1 minutes per game at UMass as a sophomore. He's the star of this class, averaging 9.3 points per game this season. 

Marcus Matthews: He never arrived and is now at Division II Southern New Hampshire, where he is averaging 1.8 points per game in six contests this season. 

Trey Lang: He finished his UMass career under Derek Kellogg last season as a walk-on and averaged 1.0 point per game. 

Matt Hill: He averaged 9.5 minutes per game last season and has appeared in just two games this year, scoring a total of six points. 

Tyrell Lynch: Ford compared him to his former Kentucky teammate, Jamal Mashburn. Lynch ended up transferring after a freshman season that saw him average 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds. His whereabouts now are unknown. 

Gary Correia: He played 27 games last season as a senior and averaged 4.3 points per game as the starting point guard. 

Posted on: December 29, 2011 3:06 pm

UMass on an upswing

By Jeff Goodman

It's tough to tell whether it's experience, the addition of a legitimate point guard or jettisoning Vance Walberg and his now-infamous Dribble Drive. Whatever the case, Derek Kellogg finally appears to have his alma mater, the UMass Minutemen, on track.

The first three seasons haven't exactly gone as planned, but UMass had 10 wins under its belt prior to Santa Clause arriving at the Kellogg Household - and that's a significant sign of progress. Sure, there aren't a ton of eye-popping victories -- the most impressive is a home win against Davidson last week -- but it's about steady progress these days for this once-storied program. The three losses are all legitimate: Florida State in the Bahamas, against a quality College of Charleston club and also at Miami.

Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams leads the team in scoring (14.5) and has a near 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, putting up 6.2 assists per contest. There's no one else averaging double-figure scoring, but guys like Raphiael Putney (8.8 ppg) and even Freddie Riley (8.7 ppg) are starting to mature after coming into the program undisciplined and unprepared. The new players -- Cady Lalanne and Max Esho -- aren't putting up staggering numbers, but give UMass quality depth it truly hasn't had since Kellogg took the reigns from Travis Ford.

"I think it's a combination of having some older guys and having Chaz helps," Kellogg said. Kellogg has also made wholesale changes to the system. The Dribble Drive is basically history. These guys get out and run more, set screens, toss the ball inside on occasion -- and on the defensive end, they press. It's resulted in more points (the Minutemen are averaging 75.6 points per game) and also forcing mistakes by the opposition (teams are averaging 19 turnovers against UMass).

"We're one of the few teams out there that presses all 40 minutes," Kellogg said. And Kellogg is hoping that it won't be quite so easy to prepare for the Minutemen once league play hits.

"Teams aren't accustomed to it," Kellogg said. UMass goes for its fifth consecutive win Friday night against a Central Connecticut team that may not appear imposing, but it one that crushed the Minutemen last season, 92-63.

"We've still got a ways to go," Kellogg said. "But we're definitely making progress."

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 1, 2011 11:54 am

Report: Creator of Dribble Drive leaving UMass

By Jeff Goodman

The creator of the Dribble Drive is leaving UMass.

Vance Walberg, who was brought on by Derek Kellogg shortly after he got the job three years ago, will be leaving the staff.

At least that's the case, according to Matt Vatour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Kellogg told CBSSports.com a couple weeks ago that he was going to cut down on the amount of the Dribble Drive this season - and that may have played into the decision.

Walberg was the head coach at Clovis West, Fresno City College and also had a brief stint as the head coach at Pepperdine, where he was 14-35 in two years.

His offense became renowned largely due to the success of John Calipari - who implemented it while at Memphis.
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:13 am

UMass' Kellogg finally has a point guard

By Jeff Goodman

It was the brainchild of Boston University's Scott Ellis. All six Massachusetts D-1 men's basketball programs together for a media day.

Since I already went by Boston College last week and wrote a story on Steve Donahue's young Eagles, I will try and touch on the other five schools in the area over the next couple of days.

We'll start with Derek Kellogg's UMass Minutemen:

BOSTON - Derek Kellogg knows better than most how difficult a challenge it is to win without a point guard.

The UMass coach - and former Minuteman point guard - hasn't had one over the past couple of seasons and it's been a key for why the team has struggled.

But now he has one in Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams.

"He's a typical New York point guard," Kellogg said. "He'll be our guy."

The first season Kellogg took over he inherited Chris Lowe, who had difficulty making the transition from Travis Ford's system. Then it was Ricky Harris, who was essentially a two-guard forced to run the team - and last season it was supposed to be Darryl Traynham, who was kicked off the team midway through the year.

"It's been a tough situation for us," Kellogg said.

But Kellogg expects Williams to finally solidify the position.

"He's done it at the college level," he said. "And he's already established himself as a leader. He's got plenty of charisma."

The 5-foot-9 Williams averaged 7.1 points and 4.2 assists as a freshman at Hofstra before transferring to UMass following a coaching change.

"I'm working with him to pick his spots," Kellogg said. "He can score, but I need him to make life easier for his teammates."

Kellogg said he's seen signs of maturity from a group that came in two years ago as freshmen. With their experience, he said he'll press more this season and also play more up-tempo, use more ball screens and utilize less of assistant coach Vance Walberg's Dribble Drive.

"We have older guys now and have depth," Kellogg said. "We have long, athletic guys and a fast point guard."

One of the players that Kellogg expects more from is extremely long and talented 6-foot-9, 175-pound redshirt sophomore Raphiael Putney.

Putney redshirted his freshman season and averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.7 minutes last season.

"His body's still not there," Kellogg said. "But mentally he's stronger and tougher. He plays with a little bit of an edge now."

- Kellogg also said that 6-foot-9, 245-pound Cady Lalanne broke his foot, but should be back on the court in about 10 days. Lalanne is a former Georgia signee who didn't qualify to play for the Bulldogs.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 4:06 pm

A-10 Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

A-10 Offseason Report

Charlotte – The 49ers will play against Miami, at Memphis (12-31) and at Arkansas. Gokhan Sirin left the program and DeMario Mayfield is eligible after sitting out last season following a transfer from Georgia.

Dayton – The Flyers are in the midst of a trip overseas to Amsterdam and France. Archie Miller put together a staff of Kevin Kuwik (Ohio State), Allen Griffin (Hofstra), Tom Ostrom (Arkansas) and Bill Comar as the director of operations. The Flyers will play in the Old Spice Classic and also have non-league games vs. Alabama (11-7), vs. Seton Hall (12-21), vs. Mississippi (12-30) and at Miami. Brandon Spearman (Indian Hills) and Juwan Staten (West Virginia) left the program while Vee Sanford (Georgetown) transferred in. Kevin Dillard (Southern Illinois) is eligible this season after sitting out last year.

Duquesne – Ron Everhart’s team is in the tail end of a trip to Canada. Amadou Koundoul replaces Greg Gary, who left to go to Purdue. The Dukes will play in the Coaches vs. Cancer event and also have non-league games against Pittsburgh (11-30), against Penn State (12-10) and at George Mason (12-21). Joel Wright (Blinn JC) left and Rodrigo Peggau graduated early and enrolled at Seton Hall College.

Fordham – Derrick Phelps left his position as the video coordinator to join King Rice’s staff at Monmouth. The Rams will play at Syracuse (11-12), at St. John’s (12-17) and at Georgia Tech (12-29). Brian Freeman, Rayner Moquete and Fahro Alihodzic all transferred out of the program.

George Washington – New coach Mike Lonergan (above) brought Hajj Turner with him from Vermont – and added Pete Strickland (N.C. State) and Kevin Sutton (Montverde Academy) as well as former Maryland video coordinator Matt Lisiewski as his director of basketball operations. He also added former Vermont guard Maurice Joseph as his assistant DOBO. The Colonials will play in the CBE Classic against Cal and also will face VCU in the BT&T Classic (12-4) at the Verizon Center yet. GW will also play at Kansas State (12-1), at Syracuse (12-10), vs. UAB (12-28) and at Harvard (1-14) in the non-conference. Chris Fitzgerald (Columbia) and Tim Johnson both left the program.

La Salle – John Giannini and the Explorers just returned from a trip to Canada. La Salle will play in the Hoop Group Classic (11-25/26) and also has non-league games at Villanova (11-15) and at Pittsburgh (11-22). Aaric Murray (West Virginia) transferred out while Ramon Galloway (South Carolina) came in and will be eligible to play this season after receiving a waiver from the NBA. Taylor Dunn (Winthrop) is also eligible this season after sitting out last year.

Rhode Island – Larry Harris (N.C. State) replaced Kevin Clark (Towson). The Rams will play in the Legends Classic (at Texas on Nov. 15) and also in the UCF Holiday Classic along with James Madison and Stetson. Non-league games include at BC (1-2), at Nebraska (11-20), vs. Virginia Tech (12-7) and vs. Providence (12-23). Akeem Richmond transferred to East Carolina. Billy Baron (Virginia) and Andre Malone (Auburn) are both eligible after the first semester.

Richmond – The Spiders replaced director of basketball operations Marcus Jenkins, who left for Princeton, with Kim Lewis. Chris Mooney’s team will play in the Cancun Challenge and also has non-conference dates at Wake Forest (12-3), at VCU (12-10), at UCLA (12-23) and at home against Old Dominion (12-20).

Saint Louis – Rick Majerus is expected to go with the team from Aug. 19-29 to Canada. Porter Moser took the head job at Loyola-Chicago and Tony Young was promoted. The Billikens will play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim and also have non-conference games against Washington (11-20) and at New Mexico (11-31). Christian Salecich transferred to Missouri Southern while Jake Barnett (Toledo) is eligible this season and Kwamain Mitchell will return to the court after missing last year.

Saint Joseph’s – Phil Martelli’s team will play in the Charleston Classic and also has non-league contests vs. Villanova (12-17), vs. Penn State (11-26), vs. Creighton (12-10) and at Harvard (12-31). Carl Baptiste (Delaware) and Justin Crosgile (Eastern Washington) left while Todd O’Brien graduated early and has enrolled at UAB. Hanil Kanesevic (Hofstra) is eligible and should be an impact player for the Hawks immediately.

St. Bonaventure – Mark Schmidt’s team will play at Virginia Tech (11-27), at Illinois (12-7) and against N.C. State (12-20) in Rochester. Brett Roseboro transferred to UMBC.

Temple – Matt Langel got the head job at Colgate and was replaced by Dwayne Killings (BU). The Owls will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and also have a non-conference slate that includes games at Penn (11-14), vs. Villanova (12-10), at Texas (12-17), vs. Duke (1-4) and vs. Maryland (1-21) at the Palestra. Dalton Pepper transferred in from West Virginia and will sit out this season.

UMass – Derek Kellogg’s team will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. The Minutemen will play at BC and against Siena. Chaz Williams is eligible after transferring in from Hofstra a year ago.

Xavier – Chris Mack replaced Pat Kelsey and Brian Thornton with Kareem Richardson (Drake) and Jeremy Growe. The Musketeers will play in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii (12-22/25) and also have a non-league slate that includes home games against Georgia (11-25), Purdue (12-3), Cincinnati (12-10) Gonzaga (12-31) and road contests against Vanderbilt (11-28), Butler (12-7) and Memphis (2-4). Jay Canty (Appalachian State) and Jordan Latham (Loyola) transferred out while Isaiah Philmore (Towson) transferred in. Andree Walker (Vandy) also came in and is eligible for his final year this season. Travis Taylor is also eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from Monmouth. Justin Martin sat out last season due to academics.

Offseason reports: Big 12 Pac-12 | Big Ten | ACC | Big East | SEC

Photo: AP
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:43 pm

Video: UMass coach visits ravaged hometown

By Eye on College Baskettball Staff

Jeff Goodman's column today focuses on the tornado relief efforts that haven't gotten a lot of publicity, the ones in Springfield, Mass., where, thankfully, the casualty numbers weren't nearly as high as they were in Joplin, Mo.

Last week, Goodman took a trip with UMass coach Derek Kellogg to tour his hometown, to observe and comment on the damage. Video below.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: UMass, video
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