Lappas tells seniors to shape up
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 2/11/2003

AMHERST - Frustrated with the way his team has played lately, especially on the glass, University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Steve Lappas made it clear that senior big men Jackie Rogers and Micah Brand aren't guaranteed playing time if they continue to struggle.

"You have a game like the other day when you have a team that gets 18 offensive rebounds on you and scores 24 points on second shots and you get two," Lappas said. "There's an area where you have two seniors playing so you have to be concerned. We got manhandled and those guys that played that position allowed that to happen."

Temple outrebounded UMass 44-26 on Saturday.

Lappas was upset with the seniors' leadership, as well as their play.

"My teams have always had good leadership from the (upperclassmen). That hasn't happened (this season)," he said.

Lappas had already reduced Brand's playing time in favor of rookie Gabe Lee, and now Rogers is on notice.

"I'm not thinking about taking Jackie out of the lineup, but his rope could get a little shorter," Lappas said. "He needs to step up, too. His rebounding has not been good all year. He has to produce on the glass. If they don't produce on the glass, it kills our whole defense."

Lappas said freshman Alassane Kouyate could see his first extended playing time if the seniors don't respond.

"Alassane Kouyate is definitely an option," he said. "We should find out what Alassane Kouyate can do for the next two-three weeks. Maybe we will. The only guy on the team that hasn't gotten and opportunity is Alassane. Maybe it's his time. He's a little raw. If we're going to rebound like we have been, how much worse can he be?"

The Minutemen play host to Richmond Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com.


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