MHERST, Mass. - UMass men's basketball coach Travis Ford has announced the signing of six players to National Letters of Intent to play for the Minutemen. UMass will welcome: guard Matt Glass (Underhill Center, Vt./Mount Mansfield Union H.S./Northfield Mount Hermon School), guard Max Groebe (North Miami Beach, Fla./Michael M. Krop Senior H.S.), forward Matt Hill (Middletown, Conn./Tilton School N.H.), forward Papa Ousmane Lo (Thies, Senegal/Winchendon School, Mass.), guard Marcus Matthews (Valley Stream, N.Y./Bishop Loughlin H.S.) and forward Travon Wilcher (Springfield, Mass./Lee Academy, Maine).
"I am very pleased with this signing class," said Ford, who has UMass off to a 1-0 start in his second year at the helm. "I like our class a lot because they are a very versatile group. I like that we added some size that can play both inside and outside. We have added shooters, which we are going to need. I am excited about how they perform off the court as well. We have put a lot of time in evaluating this group and I am looking forward to coaching them."
Guard 6-7 190
Underhill Center, Vt. Mount Mansfield Union H.S./Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.)
FORD ON GLASS: "Matt is big guard who can shoot it well. As a 6-7 guard, he can really create his own shot and has a great understanding of the game. He is able to score in a variety of ways whether it be from the three point line or putting it on the floor. He is deceptively athletic and his best days are ahead of him. He is also great on and off the court as he has a 4.0 GPA.
BEFORE UMASS: Plays at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass., for colorful coach Bill Batty and coach John Carroll ... Graduated from Mount Mansfield Union High School in Jericho, Vermont in 2006, where he played for coach Jeff Davis ... Two-time Burlington Free Press Mr. Basketball in Vermont, becoming the first non-senior to win the award in 15 years ... Scored 1,013 points in his high school career ... Averaged 16.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game ... Hit 48 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line ... During the Cougars run to the State title, averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds per playoff game with a season-best 27 points and 14 rebounds in the state title game ... Came off the bench as a sophomore to help MMU to the title as well ... AAU basketball with the Rhode Island Hawks and coach Jason Elliott ... Chose UMass over Northwestern, Richmond, Princeton and Pennsylvania.
PERSONAL: Matthew D. Glass ... Born October 4, 1988 ... Son of Dixon and Mary Glass.
Guard 6-4 185
North Miami Beach, Fla. Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior H.S.
FORD ON GROEBE: "I'm really excited about Max. I like the fact that he is a big guard who can really shoot the basketball and score. He is very athletic which allows him to play great defense. The greatest thing about Max is the type of person he is. He is a 4.0 student who is committed not only on the court but off the court as well. He's going to be a great addition to our basketball team."
BEFORE UMASS: Plays high school basketball at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Miami, Florida for Shakey Rodriguez ... Krop is ranked as one of the top 50 programs in the nation ... Transferred from Chaminade-Madonna High School, where he played in 2005 after beginning his prep career at Krop ... Member of the German national team ... Plays AAU basketball with Miami Tropics ... Tremendous shooter from outside ... Chose UMass over Georgetown, Princeton, Penn, Virginia Commonwealth and George Washington
PERSONAL: Maximilian Groebe ... Born October 9, 1989 ... Son of Helmut and Nancy Groebe ... Born in Brazil, but raised in Germany before moving to the United States.
Forward 6-7 210
Middletown, Conn. Cheshire Academy/Tilton School (N.H.)
FORD ON HILL: "Matt Hill is fighting some injuries right now but he is a young man who really impressed me this past summer. He is a four-man who can step out and shoot it and who can also step out and take bigger players on one on one. He is very active on the court whether it be rebounding, blocking shots, or posting up."
BEFORE UMASS: Playing a prep year of basketball at Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire for coach Marcus O'Neil ... Played high school ball at Cheshire Academy and AAU play with the Connecticut Basketball Club for coach J.R. Hargraves ... Played in the New England Elite 75 Showcase.
PERSONAL: Matthew Rashaan Hill ... Born on April 13, 1988 ... Son of Kimberly Peterson.
Papa Ousmane Lo
Forward/Center 6-9 215
Theis, Senegal Winchendon School (Mass.)
FORD ON LO: "He is probably the premiere shot-blocker in the country whose not in college or the NBA. He is a young man at 6-9 who alters every single shot. He is very aggressive around the post and loves to dunk the ball. He is another young man who is very intelligent on and off the court. He is very similar to Stephane Lasme but he probably has more offensive skills. He has the ability to change a game with his height and length. He is 6-9 but he plays like he is 7-5."
BEFORE UMASS: Sensational shot blocker, who Came to the Winchendon School to play under UMass alumnus Mike Byrnes, the same school which produced current freshman Ricky Harris ... Played the second semester for Winchendon last spring ... An instant spark off the bench with great rebounding and shot blocking.
PERSONAL: Papa Ousmane Lo ... Born on October 15, 1986 ... Son of Pathe and Kine Lo ... Came to United States in December 2005 ... Class president at Winchendon.
Guard 6-3 180
Valley Stream, N.Y. Bishop Loughlin H.S.
FORD ON MATTHEWS: "He is another young man whose best days are ahead of him. He had a very tough junior year as he was forced to miss most of the year due to a severe ankle injury. He is a combo guard who does need to get bigger and stronger. He will continue to progress and get better as the years go on."
BEFORE UMASS: Plays at Brooklyn's Bishop Loughlin High School under head coach Khalid Green ... Averaged 5.0 points in 13 games as a junior at Loughlin prior to injuries sidelined him ... Scored a career-high of 32 points against Thomas Jefferson ... Played with the Metro Hawks in AAU play under coach Kenny Pretlow ... Gary Forbes and Chris Lowe also played under Pretlow, which helped make Matthews' decision to come to UMass easier ... Committed to UMass following sophomore season.
PERSONAL: Marcus Matthews ... Born July 18, 1989 ... Son of William and Virginia Matthews ... Mother is the commissioner of the PSAL girl basketball league in New York.
Forward 6-7 210
Springfield, Mass. Lee Academy (Maine)
FORD ON WILCHER: "He is one of the most athletic players I have ever seen. He is an incredible shot blocker who is improving his offensive game as far as scoring in the post. He is great in the open floor and in transition. With his athletic ability he can make so many things happen out on the court."
BEFORE UMASS: Beginning the year at Lee Academy in Lee, Maine under coach Karl Parker ... Played at Springfield Central High School prior to Lee from 2003-05 ... Also played AAU ball for the New England Playaz and coach T.J. Gassnola ... All-Tournament at the Providence Jam Fest ... Also received interest from Oklahoma, Temple, Xavier, Rhode Island and Missouri.
PERSONAL: Travon R. Wilcher ... Brown October 24, 1987 ... Son of Tracy Wilcher.
ix high school basketball players signed letters of intent to play for the Massachusetts men's basketball team next season. UMass coach Travis Ford announced the signings yesterday at the UMass sports luncheon in the Campus Center.
"We're excited about our recruiting class," Ford said. "It covers a lot of different areas. It's a big class and it's very versatile. We think we have the premier shot blocker in the country that's not in college or the pros."
That would be the 6-foot-9 Senegal native who attends Winchendon High School, the same high school that freshman Ricky Harris attended. His name is Papa Ousmane Lo, and he came to the United States from Theis, Senegal in December of 2005.
"[Lo is] like Stephane Lasme but more advanced at that stage offensively," Ford said. "He's a young man that can come in and change the game with his defense. He's a guy that has flown under the radar a little bit."
Matt Glass - from Mount Hermon, Mass. - is the biggest prize from this recruiting class and, according to Ford, is another big guard who can shoot the ball. Glass is 6-foot-7, 190 pounds, and was a two-time Burlington Free Press Mr. Basketball in Vermont, becoming the first non-senior to win the award in the last 15 years.
Glass scored 1,013 points in his high school career and averaged 16.5 points and nine rebounds per game. He shot 48 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the free-throw line.
"Matt Glass didn't play summer ball," Ford said at the luncheon yesterday. "He decided to get up at 6 a.m. every day with his coach and wanted to get better individually. We watched him and he was ridiculous. He just stands out. He had a good year last year, and next thing you know, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Princeton were coming at him.
"Then he came to his senses."
Ford also signed Matt Hill (a 6-foot-7 Connecticut native), Marcus Matthews (a 6-foot-3 guard from New York), Travon Wilcher (a 6-foot-7 forward from Springfield, Mass.) and Max Groebe (a 6-foot-4 guard from Miami Beach).
"[Wilcher] will be the most athletic player that I've ever coached when he arrives here on campus," Ford said. "He's like a gazelle. He runs and jumps. He's not a true post player so he's going to play a four spot. He's going to get better every single day. His offense is way behind his athletic ability so he kind of flew under the radar."