#43 UMass Minutemen: College Basketball 111 in 111


umass minuteman

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

By returning four starters off last year’s team that advanced to the NIT Final Four, the UMass Minutemen will be one of several teams competing for the Atlantic 10 title and trip to the Big Dance for the first time in 15 years.

UMASS MINUTEMEN
Last Season: 7th, 7-9 in A-10, 22-14 overall
Predicted A-10 Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Sampson Carter (Sr)/Cady Lalanne (So)/Izzy Freeman (Fr)
PF: Terrell Vinson (Sr)/Maxie Esho (So)/Tyler Bergantino (Fr)
SF: Raphiael Putney (Jr)/Javorn Ferrell (Sr-out for season)
SG: Jesse Morgan (Jr)/Freddie Riley (Sr)
PG: Chaz Williams (Jr)/Trey Davis (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Sean Carter, F-Matt Hill, C-Andrew McCarthy

2012-2013 Outlook:
Leading the charge for UMass will be 5’9 point guard Chaz Williams.  The A-10 preseason First Team selection made the most of his first season with the Minutemen after transferring in from Hofstra.  Despite his shortcomings, Williams led the team in scoring and assists, and is the true sparkplug of this team.

Joining Williams in the starting backcourt is returning starter, Jesse Morgan.  Morgan suffered a broken wrist on his shooting hand while playing a pickup game this summer but has returned to the court and is expected to be 100% for the opening tip of the season.  The depth at guard has taken a hit with versatile, key reserve Javorn Ferrell likely out for the year due to ankle surgery.  Freddie Riley also returns and figures to take on a bigger role off the bench while freshman point guard Trey Davis will try to work his way into the rotation.

There is plenty of depth and versatility in the frontcourt led by returning starters Terrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney.  Both guys are capable of playing around the hoop or out on the perimeter.  They can each defend multiple positions and the fact that they are rather interchangeable is a huge asset for head coach Derek Kellogg.

One Carter will likely be replaced by another in the starting lineup.  Sean graduates but Sampson returns from a hip injury that limited him to just seven games last season.  He is still working his way back to 100% but should be able to fill in for Sean without the team missing much of a beat.  Cody Lalane is also battling back from injury.  He had off-season foot surgery but should be good to go by the start of the season.  If not, freshman Izzy Freeman will see immediate playing time.  The seven-footer is still raw with his all-around game but has the size and shot blocking ability to contribute right away.  Maxie Esho could see a decrease in minutes assuming everyone is healthy while freshman Tyler Bergantino adds even more depth.

Kellogg also picked up a key transfer in shooting guard Derrick Gordon from Western Kentucky.  He led the Hilltoppers in scoring and rebounding last season as a freshman and will have three years of eligibility remaining at the start of the 2013-14 season.

The A-10 is stacked this year with five-seven expected to get into the NCAA Tournament.  Part of the reason for the heightened competitiveness in the conference is UMass, who has all the makings to be major players in the race for top dog status.

Player to Watch: Raphiael Putney
Long, wirey, athletic, versatile; all those words describe Putney.  He made major strides in during his sophomore campaign and if he can continue to develop his all-around game, watch out.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. Harvard
11/15 vs. Providence (Puerto Rico Tip Off)
11/16 vs. N.C. State/Penn State (Puerto Rico Tip Off)
11/18 vs. Tennessee/UNC-Asheville/Oklahoma State/Akron (Puerto Rico Tip Off)
12/1 vs. Miami (FL)
12/19 vs. Ohio

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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