ASSAU, Bahamas -- The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team got a nice parting gift as it left for the Bahamas Thursday.
Matt Hill, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound power forward from Cheshire, Conn., verbally committed to the Minutemen.
Hill, who played at Cheshire High School last season, will be a postgraduate at the Tilton School in New Hampshire this year.
''I like the whole situation'' at UMass, Hill told Scout.com after last week's New England Elite 75 All''Star Showcase. ''The campus was nice and the coaching staff worked well together. I thought it was impressive how Coach (Travis) Ford didn't really have to say much and the players knew exactly what to do.''
He joins New York City guard Marcus Matthews and Springfield big man Trevon Wilcher in the freshman class at UMass for the 2007-08 season.
Hill was largely unknown before the summer, but a strong AAU performance with the Connecticut Basketball Club created interest from several Atlantic 10 schools and Stanford.
Hill told Scout. Com that he was glad to make his decision. ''It feels good,'' Hill said. ''It takes a big weight off my shoulders. Now I can just go to prep school and play.''
Scout.com also reported that the Minutemen have offered a scholarship to Jimmer Fredette, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Glens Falls (N.Y.) High School.
And Dele Coker, a much sought after 6-foot-10 big man from the same Albany City Rocks AAU program as Rashaun Freeman and Tiki Mayben, has included UMass among his college possibilities. However, his list is still quite long.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.