Ford likes scrimmage
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 11/7/2005

NCAA rules on closed scrimmages prohibit coaches from discussing specific details about them, including the score.

But University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Travis Ford said he came away generally encouraged by his team's performance Saturday against Seton Hall.

''It went well. Guys played hard. I'm extremely happy with the effort,'' Ford said. ''I thought we executed fairly well for what stage we're at in the system. We have to rebound the ball better. We still have a long way to go. Overall I thought we got a lot out of it. I was excited just to go against a different offense and defense, against guys that didn't know our stuff. Guys performed OK.

''It was a positive experience,'' Ford continued. ''I thought we got better. But it doesn't mean we're going to have a good season because we played good one day. But it was a positive day for us. With a new coach and a new system, I think our guys really handled it well.''

Junior college transfer James Life struggled in last week's intrasquad scrimmage. Ford singled him out as one of the players who was impressive Saturday.

''James Life played extremely well. He scored a lot of points,'' Ford said. ''Rashaun Freeman really rebounded the ball well. I thought Maurice (Maxwell) handled the point guard spot very well. Brandon Thomas had a good floor game. Everybody had their stretches where they played well.''

Ford wanted to use the scrimmage to examine several rotation possibilities, including the flexibility of Jeff Viggiano and Lawrence Carrier.

''I wanted to see if Viggiano and Lawrence Carrier can play the four and the three,'' Ford said. ''They handled it well. I was excited to see that.''

Ford said he hasn't settled on a starting lineup yet and it could be flexible throughout the season.

''It'll be based on scouting reports and matchups,'' he said. ''It'll be mostly set. But one guy can change, especially in the four position. If we're playing somebody with a pretty big four man, I'll probably go with Stephane (Lasme). If they have a small and athletic guy, I can get away with playing Vig or Lawrence there. I'll always look at the scouting report and if somebody has done well in practice during the week to determine starting lineups.''

The Minutemen will play a public exhibition in the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. Thursday against Dowling College, a Division III school on Long Island, N.Y.

Matt Vautour can be reached at For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to

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