ith both starting big men - seniors Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme - departing after the 2006-07 season, finding new post players was a summer priority for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball staff.
It appears that they're off to a good start as Trevon Wilcher, a Springfield native, who plays at Lee Academy in Maine, gave the Minutemen a verbal commitment Tuesday.
Wilcher, a 6-foot-8 forward likely represents what a typical big man will be under coach Travis Ford.
The second-year coach likes athletic players and guys who can shoot. It won't be unusual to see big men who are undersized, but who can run and leap. Wilcher fits that bill.
The commitment is also significant because it is Ford's first from the New England Playaz, which has emerged as Massachusetts' top AAU program for producing Division I talent. Recent alumni include Wake Forest's Anthony Gurley and Memphis' Antonio Anderson.
Playaz general manager T.J. Gassnola thinks Wilcher and UMass are a good fit.
''He'll fit in great there. You won't believe how high he can jump,'' he said. ''Travis has been great recruiting him.''
The Minutemen are recruiting a handful of current Playaz for this year and down the road including Elijiah Whitehead, a 6-5 forward from New York, who will be a senior this year at Proctor Academy in Andover.
Wilcher joins Marcus Matthews, a combo guard from Brooklyn in the Minutemen's freshman class for the 2007-08 season. Players can't officially sign letters of intent until the November early signing period and coaches can't comment on recruits until they've signed.