Another test for UMass
By Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe Staff, 2/19/1995
AMHERST – Marcus Camby joined his University of Massachusetts teammates for practice yesterday but the Minutemen will be without suspended guard Mike Williams for today's nonconference game against Louisville at the Centrum in Worcester.
Camby returned for UMass' 73-56 win over Duquesne Thursday after missing three games with a strained left hamstring. Camby did not start and played only seven minutes of the second half against Duquesne, but coach John Calipari said Camby will get more minutes against Louisville.
Williams, however, was suspended indefinitely before Thursday's game “for breaking team rules” and Calipari said he would not evaluate the situation until after today's game. Yesterday's practice at Curry Hicks Cage was closed to the media and neither Calipari nor the players were available for interviews.
UMass (19-3) has not lost a nonconference game since an 81-75 defeat to Kansas Dec. 3.
However, in its last five games, UMass has defeated Duquesne and Southwestern Louisiana (94-63), lost twice to George Washington (78-75 and 80-78) and was trailing Rutgers, 31-29, when the game was suspended at halftime.
Lou Roe, who scored 33 points when UMass defeated Holy Cross, 97-80, in the Minutemen's last Centrum appearance Dec. 11, 1993, is third on the school's all-time scoring list. Roe is 2 points behind Lorenzo Sutton's 1,731 points. Jim McCoy is the leader with 2,374.
Roe leads the UMass with 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Camby scored 11 points against Duquesne and is averaging 14 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Coach Denny Crum's team is going through something UMass has already faced – trying to adjust to life without its star center. In Louisville's case, that's freshman Samaki Walker, who has missed two games – both losses – with a stress fracture in his right foot.
Since Walker, a 6-foot-9-inch freshman who averages 14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, left the lineup, Louisville has lost, 53-48, at home to Temple and 74-63 at Southern Mississippi. The Cardinals shot 28.6 percent against Temple and 30.2 percent against Southern Mississippi.
“The kids haven't learned to play without Samaki yet, and their mental attitude isn't positive about what they're trying to do,” said Crum.
Walker is expected to be out another 1-3 weeks, and could return by Feb. 25 at DePaul.
UMass is 4-0 at the Centrum and is hoping to play Memphis in an ESPN- televised Great Midwest - Atlantic 10 Challenge game at the Centrum next season. The Minutemen also plan to meet American University of Puerto Rico in San Juan next season.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
UMass win comes from deep inside
Team ignores controversy, rips Louisville
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 2/20/1995
WORCESTER – The game was more interesting than the off-the-court scuttlebutt, which lately has been as juicy as a Florida orange.
The University of Massachusetts, on the verge of watching its motto change from “Refuse to Lose” to “Never a Dull Moment,” shook off recent distractions and bumped off Louisville, 91-76, yesterday before the largest Centrum crowd to see a basketball game (13,758).
Forward Lou Roe had a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds as the fifth-ranked Minutemen shot a blistering 65 percent from the floor in the second half and returned to their scrap-and-claw style of play. UMass improved to 20-3 overall – the team's fifth consecutive 20-win season – and 10-1 outside the Atlantic 10, its lone nonconference loss coming against Kansas.
It marked the second straight game the Minutemen played without senior shooting guard Mike Williams, who was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. But it was UMass' first game since Williams shot back at the coaching staff for his suspension, stating Friday that it occurred for virtually no reason.
There was much pregame talk about a possible news conference with Williams' father and a lawyer.
When asked about Williams, UMass coach John Calipari repeated the statement he made when Williams was suspended Thursday night, that the coach would evaluate the situation later.
Sources close to the situation said an announcement on Williams will be made within a day or so. Other sources said “it would practically take a miracle” for Williams to return.
The Minutemen have displayed an exceptional talent for dealing with adversity throughout Calipari's tenure. But rarely, if ever, has that adversity been internal. Many wondered how they would respond in wake of the latest turmoil.
The answers came early from a dominant front line, which helped the Minutemen outrebound Louisville, 39-29. In addition to Roe's prowess, UMass center Marcus Camby had 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting.
The sophomore from Hartford continues to show a steady recovery from the left hamstring injury that sidelined him four games. Meanwhile, forward Tyrone Weeks set the tone for the Minutemen's inside attack, scoring 6 of UMass' first 19 points.
“You have to admit that was truly a team effort,” said Calipari. “We rebounded the ball. We came in with the game plan of posting the ball. We wanted to go inside, and we're going to do that. I told the guys after the game that the great news was we executed.
“This is a good team. We have good kids on this team. They work hard, and they're unselfish. What I have been telling them is if they're unselfish, the game is easier for everyone on the floor. We're trying to get that across, and we're doing it.”
Even when the Minutemen didn't execute well, they dove after loose balls, often salvaging botched plays with their efforts. “As we have said, the last couple of games we have gotten back to that aggressive style, diving for balls, taking charges. Louisville's a great team; if we didn't do that today we may have lost the game,” said UMass guard Derek Kellogg.
Instead, the Minutemen jumped to an 8-4 lead on a 3-point basket by none other than Camby. “I haven't been able to use that for a while, but it's been in my repertoire,” said Camby, who entered the game 0 for 4 lifetime from behind the arc.
As the first half wore on, the Minutemen continued to play aggressively. With 9:58 remaining, UMass took a 27-14 lead on a layup by Roe. Louisville made a run over the last seven minutes of the half to trail, 40-34, at the break.
In the second half, UMass gained a 55-38 lead before Louisville's press helped it cut the lead to 66-58 with 8:28 remaining.
Then the Minutemen responded with an 11-2 run, capping it with an out-of- bounds save by guard Edgar Padilla to forward Donta Bright and a nifty pass by Bright to Camby streaking along the baseline. Camby threw down a two-handed slam while being fouled. The free throw made it 77-60. UMass coasted from there.
“This game was good for us,” said Kellogg. “It was a real tough game. It was a game that let us know where we are and where we needed to improve and where our strengths are right now.”
Hopes continue to center around the recovering Camby
By Bob Ryan, Boston Globe Staff, 2/20/1995
WORCESTER – Every coach has a postgame agenda when he steps in front of the media, and it was clear that contributing to Marcus Camby's clipping file was not one of John Calipari's priorities yesterday.
Your State U had just dispatched Louisville by 15, and now Coach Cal was going through his laundry list of salutations. Lou Roe had a “Lou Roe game,” and was now “back in the Player of the Year picture.” Donta Bright had a “very, very strong game.” Dana Dingle was “very aggressive in the second half.” Derek Kellogg was “flawless.” The way he was going, it was 50-50 we'd be hearing about how ”Jason Germain never cheered better.“ Calipari even had warm things to say about both the Centrum and the city of Worcester (“as long as I'm coach at UMass, we'll continue to play games here”).
But not until he was asked did the coach address the subject of a certain 7-foot center who, frankly, had been the most important person on the floor.
“Marcus played well,” acknowledged Calipari, who then rattled off the Camby numbers staring up at him from the stat sheet he was holding. “But we all know he can play better.”
Marcus Camby is the most important player on the University of Massachusetts team, period. The Minutemen remain on the short list of legitimate NCAA championship contenders because Camby gives them a weapon few teams can match. He is recovering from a hamstring pull and is playing, by his own admission, at no more than a 90 percent efficiency level, but he retains the capability to terrorize opponents. Calipari is correct: Marcus Camby can play better. But what he did at the Centrum yesterday was enough to change the game. In the first half alone, Camby:
- Beat the shot clock with a straightaway 3-pointer.
- Made a gorgeous high-low touch pass to Roe for a dunk.
- Tipped in a Roe miss.
- Blocked a Jason Osborne dunk attempt to spring Edgar Padilla for a sneakaway dunk.
- Slipped in for a dunk on a nice Kellogg entry pass.
- Thwarted a Louisville alley-oop pass to initiate another successful fast break.
And in the second half, Camby:
- Threw down an alley-ooper of his own on a perfect Padilla feed.
- Squeezed up an acrobatic double-pump layup to trigger the 11-2 run that blew away the pesky Cardinals once and for all.
- Iced the old gateau with a climb-the-ladder monster dunk on a left- baseline move. The Centrum cheers for this big-time jam may be echoing yet.
His imprint was all over this game. The coach was playing a little post- fray game, because the coach knew better than anyone else that if Camby alone had switched sides, the outcome of this game easily could have been reversed.
Anyone watching this game with an open mind would have realized something else; namely that to gloat about beating UMass without Camby in the lineup is ridiculous. With all due respect to the George Washington University basketball team, and coach Mike Jarvis, can we not assume that a reasonably fit Camby might have been able to alter the outcome of those two GW victories over a non-Camby Minuteman squad? Shouldn't the NCAA tournament committee take Camby's absence into consideration when it seeds teams next month, especially if UMass wins the Atlantic 10 tournament? Isn't this elementary? I mean, aren't we all adults here?
“I hope so,” Calipari said. “Hey, you take a lottery pick out of anyone's lineup, and they aren't going to be the same. We lost by 3 and 2 without him, and we should have won both games, anyway.”
There may be no more fluid big man in the country. There are absolutely, positively none quicker. Camby is the ultimate collegiate eraser.
“He changes our defense,” maintained Roe. “Guys are a little more timid about coming into the lane when he's in there.”
“Guys look at him and think he's a string bean,” pointed out freshman Tyrone Weeks. “But let me tell you, he's a banger. He bangs a lot. What people do not realize is that Marcus can bang.”
He had his little coming-out party with a 30-point effort in last season's NCAA tournament loss to Maryland, but Calipari says there really is no comparison between that guy and the poised sophomore he is today. When Camby put on his little demonstration for Maryland, he was just beginning to learn what being at this level is all about.
“You know why Marcus played more minutes 30 today than he has in any game all year?” Calipari inquired at the time. “Because he couldn't have played this many minutes before. He wasn't in shape all year.”
Camby came to UMass thinking all he had to do in order to be successful in Division 1 ball was to be tall, be cool and be Marcus. Work? What's that?
“Last year his work ethic stunk,” Calipari declared. “And you know what? He came back with a new attitude. He now carries himself so much better. He has more self-esteem and self-confidence. He's feeling much better about himself in the classroom, and it's carrying over to the court.”
In other words, Camby is growing up.
Calipari recruited this kid thinking he could be his travel agent to the Final Four, and that supposition has turned out to be accurate. There are many good teams in the country. Most of them top off at 6-7, 6-8 or maybe even 6-10. Massachusetts has one of the few game-breaking 7-footers.
“I can see how they can beat most teams, even without him,” surmised Louisville coach Denny Crum. “They're physical enough, and good enough, to compete with anyone. But when you get to the Final Eight, the Final Four, things like that, you need a Camby. Obviously, you would miss a guy like that.”
So when Coach Cal delivered a postgame soliloquy that failed to mention Marcus Camby, you can be certain he had a good reason. Our tax dollars aren't paying for a stupid coach.
Players giving second effort
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 2/20/1995
WORCESTER – The postseason hasn't begun, yet the UMass players are saying they're already on their second campaign of the season. Much of that thinking has to do with the indefinite suspension of guard Mike Williams, who might be gone for good.
Asked if playing without Williams for the second consecutive game yesterday was difficult or distracting, center Marcus Camby said, “It wasn't really. We circled the wagons again. We didn't have Mike in the beginning of the year also because of a suspension. Everybody just stepped up. Yesterday it just started a new season for us right now.”
Forward Lou Roe agreed. “I think we're all on the same level right now,” he said. “We understand one another, and we know what we have to do to accomplish things.
“I think in the beginning of the season we were winning, so we know what it takes to win. We just went back to things and talked it over and said, 'Listen, this is what we have to do to start winning again.' We've had two good games. We will go down to Philadelphia for games against Temple and St. Joseph's this week. Hopefully, we will get a good couple stretches of practice and win down there also.”
The Minutemen hope that the adversity – and losses – of late have subsided.
ANNOUNCING . . .
Atlantic 10 officials said that an announcement on the venue for the continuation of the Feb. 7 suspended game between UMass and Rutgers should be made soon. The game had been set for March 2 at the Palestra, but that locale subsequently was scrapped . . . Roe became UMass' No. 2 career scorer. His 21 points gave him 1,750 for his career, moving him ahead of Lorenzo Sutton. Roe wasn't even in the top 10 when the season began. Jim McCoy, John Calipari's first recruit, still holds the record (2,374).
Coach changes his strategy
By Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe Staff, 2/20/1995
WORCESTER – The pavement is smoother now for the University of Massachusetts. Marcus Camby looked healthy and hungry, two games into his return after a two-week layoff because of a strained left hamstring. Lou Roe looked like a legitimate Player of the Year candidate again, taking his game above the rim for most of the 36 minutes he played in yesterday's 91-76 win over Louisville at The Centrum.
Perhaps most important, John Calipari's voice was several octaves lower after a week of screeching at his players, his staff, and anyone who was in earshot of him as he dealt with an internal problem that slowly was pulling apart the Minutemen.
When Calipari announced that guard Mike Williams had been suspended indefinitely for breaking team rules before Thursday night's game against Duquesne, the coach hit the switch on the pressure cooker. You could almost see some of the steam escape from the UMass locker room.
Suddenly, it was the first day of a new season, as Calipari described it yesterday. All for one and one for all was no longer a cliche that had to be preached to a team whose self-sacrifice was essential for its long-term survival in next month's NCAA tournament.
“I feel great,” said Calipari, talking not only about the impressive win over Louisville, but of his mental demeanor all week as he wrestled with the Williams decision. “I was a little crazy last week. I'll admit it, I had a tight ass about some things, and it was showing. I asked some of my players why they didn't say anything to me.”
Calipari did get advice from some of his friends. Suspending Williams might have been painful, but in the long run, the team will adjust to life without the enigmatic guard, who could put a team into position to lose any game with his mistakes for 38 minutes, then make game-winning play after game-winning play in the final two minutes.
Insiders say that it will take a minor miracle for Williams to reappear on the roster.
Speculation of further turmoil increased when Calipari said after the game he would do some other things this week that might cause ripples.
Calipari and the 13,758 fans who filled the Centrum could stand a large dose of the kind of basketball they consumed yesterday. The passion from earlier in the season that had disappeared in recent weeks seemed to be back.
Camby, who returned Thursday night after his hiatus, looked like the game- breaker he always has had the potential to be in scoring 16 points and blocking a pair of shots in 24 minutes. “I think this was a statement game by Marcus that he's back,” said assistant coach Bill Bayno. “But we haven't come close to seeing him at his best.”
And perhaps that can be said of UMass as well, and of Calipari, who yesterday promised and hoped that the best from his team this season had yet to come.
No. 5 UMass rolls over Cardinals at the Centrum
By Andrew Bryce, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, February 21, 1995
WORCESTER - Mike Williams was not in attendance, but he was the most thought of and talked about aspect of No. 5 Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon. It's too bad, because the Minutemen who were in action against Louisville should have been the ones people were chatting about.
Though they may not be the same team who sat atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll through the month of January just yet, the Massachusetts squad that took the Worcester Centrum court had the same approach. Relentless rebounding, aggressive defense, diving for loose balls - all of these were factors in a total team effort that resulted in a 91-76 Minuteman win over the Cardinals in front of the 13,758 in attendance.
“We had to get back to that aggressive style, diving for loose balls, taking charges,” senior guard Derek Kellogg said. “Louisiville's a good team, and if we didn't do that today, [as well as] shoot 50 percent and rebound, I think it would have been a different ballgame.”
While Williams was said to be back at home in Hartford, Conn., serving his indefinite suspension, the low post of Massachusetts took advantage of the abscence of Samaki Walker, out with a stress fracture to his right foot.
The Minutemen scored 69 points in the paint, and owned a 10 rebound advantage over Louisville (39-29).
After leading the Cardinals 12-10, Massachusetts went on a 15-4 run, led by 11 points from the frontcourt, to make it 27-14 with 9:56 left in the half. Lou Roe (21 points), Marcus Camby (16 points) and Tyrone Weeks (eight points) scored 23 of the 27 Massachusetts points in that stretch. Louisville then went on their own 14-7 run, capped off by a Brian Kiser 3-pointer, to cut the Minuteman lead to 34-28.
“I think their inside people dominated the boards on us with a small lineup like we had,” Louisville coach Denny Crum said. “I didn't know if we could beat them or not [with Walker], but playing with four guards was difficult against a team like Massachusetts.”
“We rebounded the ball. We came in with the game plan of posting the ball,” Massachusetts coach John Calipari said. “We were going to go inside, and we did that.”
The last four baskets scored were all three pointers. Kellogg (11 points) and Carmelo Travieso buried treys, only to be followed by three-pointers by Kiser (12 points) and DeJuan Wheat (team-high 20 points) to make the halftime score 40-34.
The Minutemen started the second half by scoring the first 10 points, capped off by a Donta Bright (13 points) lay-in, to up the lead to 50-34.
Four consecutive made free throws cut the lead to 66-58 with 8:28 to go.
“We played a good basketball game. I'm very pleased with how we played together,” Calipari said. “Twenty-one assists means we're passing the ball. You had to admit, that was truly a team effort.”
While the loss of Camby in early February hurt the Minutemen, the Cardinals were in a much bigger hold without the likes of Walker.
“I was very proud of my team, I thought they played as hard as they could play,” Crum said. “Obviously we were out-manned. Without Samaki Walker, we were hurting in the middle.”
Led by the inside play of Lou Roe (21 points) and Marcus Camby (16 points), the Minutemen led through most of the game. Massachusetts exploited their size advantage to outscore the Cardinals 69-42 inside and scored 13 more points off of second chance opportunities junior Donta Bright added (13 points and seven rebounds) and sophomore Tyrone Weeks were also strong … Roe moved into second place on UMass' all-time with 1740 career points passing Lorenzo Sutton.
Camby's presence key in victory
Minutemen back in synch now that star center has returned
By Matt Vautour, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, February 21, 1995
WORCESTER - After George Washington defeated Massachusetts on Feb. 4, in his elation over the victory, coach Mike Jarvis tried to downplay Marcus Camby's absence.
“I don't think that Camby's presence would have necessarily changed the outcome of the game,” he said.
If Sunday's 91-76 win over Louisville was an indication of what Camby can bring to the lineup, Jarvis was wrong.
“He means a difference obviously,” said Massachusetts coach John Calipari. “People in other programs say, 'They're just missing Marcus. They're still the same team.' Obviously we know that's not the case.”
The Louisville game was only Camby's second since returning from his hamstring injury. In his absence, the Minutemen were out of sync, going 1-2, with the lone victory coming against a subpar Southwestern Louisiana team. The team dropped two close games to George Washington during Camby's absence - games that despite what Jarvis said, Camby could have changed.
When he checked into the game less than two minutes in, the Worcester Centrum gave him a standing ovation. Less than a minute later, with the shot clock running out, Camby stepped back and knocked down his first career three-pointer.
“It was spur of the moment,” Camby said. “I had it in my repertoire, I just never used it.”
Less than five minutes into the second half, Camby hobbled off the floor with tightness in his injured hamstring. “It got real tight,” he said. “I almost couldn't walk. I felt like I needed a good stretch before I went back out there.”
After stretching, Camby returned and continued his strong play.
Camby was admittedly not at his best, estimating his leg's health at only “90 percent.” But what is scary to most opposing coaches is the prospect of facing the sophomore All-America candidate at full strength after seeing what he can do at partial strength.
“Marcus played well,” Calipari said. “But we all know that he's better than he played today. When he gets back into playing, he'll be fine.”
The game had a chance to be a battle of two talented young centers. Samaki Walker is one of the nation's most talented freshman big men, but a stress fracture to his foot sidelined him. It also left Louisville with nobody to guard Camby, who finished with 16 points, shooting 70 percent from the floor.
Louisville coach Denny Crum said that keeping Camby healthy is crucial to UMass' tourney success.
“He's a great player. They don't miss him that much against most people,” Crum said. “When they get down to playing in the Final Eight, they would really miss a guy like Camby.”
What Camby adds is more than 14.1 points and 3.2 blocks per game. His contributions go beyond the stat sheet. Despite the blocks that he does get, countless other shots are altered or sometimes not even attempted because of his presence, according to his teammates.
“He changes the entire chemistry of our defense,” said senior Lou Roe. ”[Our opponents] are more intimidated.”
When Camby wasn't in the lineup, opposing teams smothered his teammates in the frontcourt, especially Roe.
Now with Camby occupying his share of defenders, Roe was freed to play his game, scoring 21 points and grabbing eight boards.
Camby put the finishing touches on his afternoon at 5:18, when he exploded from the right corner past two Louisville defenders for a dunk that brought the crowd of 13,758 to its feet.
“Donta Bright flipped it to me,” Camby said. “I got a running start and I just went up and … whoa.”
LOUISVILLE (76) – Brian Kiser 3-6 4-4 12, Tick Rogers 3-10 2-4 9, Alvin Sims 4-8 0-1 8, B.J. Flynn 2-3 0-0 4, Eric Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Jason Osborne 7-14 1-3 17, DeJuan Wheat 6-12 5-8 20, Beau Zach Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Damion Dantzler 1-3 1-2 4. TOTALS: 27-57 (47.4%) 13-22 (59.1%) 76.
MASSACHUSETTS (91) – Dana Dingle 3-5 2-2 8, Donta Bright 6-7 1-1 13, Edgar Padilla 4-9 0-0 9, Derek Kellogg 4-6 2-2 11, Louis Roe 9-16 3-6 21, Marcus Camby 7-10 1-1 16, Carmelo Travieso 2-8 0-0 5, Tyrone Weeks 2-4 4-6 8, Inus Norville 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 37-66 (56.1%) 13-18 (72.2%) 91.
HALFTIME: Massachusetts 40, Louisville 34. 3-POINTERS: Massachusetts 4-13 (Camby 1-1, Kellogg 1-2, Padilla 1-4, Travieso 1-5, Roe 0-1), Louisville 9-21 (Wheat 3-7, Osborne 2-4, Kiser 2-5, Rogers 1-1, Dantzler 1-2, Sims 0-1, Flynn 0-1). REBOUNDS: Massachusetts 39 (Roe 8), Louisville 29 (Sims, Osborne 6). ASSISTS: Massachusetts 21 (Kellogg 5), Louisville 12 (Wheat 6). FOULED OUT: Padilla. TOTAL FOULS: Massachusetts 18, Louisville 18. ATTENDANCE: 13,758. RECORDS: Massachusetts 20-3, Louisville 15-11.
Louisville 34 42 -- 76 Massachusetts 40 51 -- 91