By Michael Fetterer, UMass 1995 alumnus, UMassHoops.com Owner/Administrator
Here are some facts that’ll help get you up to speed on the 2017-18 Minutemen, as well as some history on the program.
What happened last season will have a lot to do with this one, so let's start with a quick recap.
UMass had a bad year, plain and simple. (2016-17 Season page)
A lot of new talent was brought in, and the roster was loaded with guys competing for minutes, but consistency eluded the team all season.
UM got off to a 10-3 start in non-conference play, registering decent wins over Temple and Harvard, and put a scare into Ole Miss on the road. However, most of the rest of the non-conf slate was littered with home games versus low-tier teams that didn’t help prepare for the grind of conference play.
A competitive Atlantic 10 hit UM with a 1-4 record right off the bat, 2-9 by early February, and 4-14 at the end. The Minutemen bowed out of the A-10 Tournament in the second round. Coach Derek Kellogg was relieved of his duties shortly after the game.
UM’s first task of the off-season was securing a new head coach. Winthrop's Pat Kelsey was tabbed and was within 30 minutes of his introductory press conference in Amherst, when he got cold feet and backed out.1) Bent but not broken, Athletic Director Ryan Bamford regrouped and chose Matt McCall from Tennessee-Chattanooga.
McCall spent eleven years on Billy Donovan's staff at Florida, before a two-year stint at Chattanooga. In the off-season, the youthful McCall has been saying all the right things in the media. McCall built an assistant coaching staff from the ground up, with no hold-overs from Kellogg's staff.
Coaching changes always lead to some player departures, but UM lost a total of 8 players from last season’s roster, including more than half of their scoring output. McCall has his work cut out for him in getting the most out of a roster that’s almost completely new.
Leaders in 2017-18 will be:
Others in the rotation:
Faces on the bench:
In the Atlantic 10’s Pre-Season poll, UMass was picked to finish 12 out of 14.2) This isn’t too surprising considering all the changes in personnel, and coming off a sub-par season.
The University of Massachusetts started an official men’s basketball team for the 1899-1900 season. The team has gone through a few different names, but since 1972 they’ve been known as the Minutemen, a tribute to Massachusetts history in the war for independence.