Return of the Minutemen: '96 All Over Again for UMass?

Dan CallagyContributor INovember 12, 2008

Marcus Camby, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Rick Pitino—the list goes on and on of great UMass basketball players and coaches. This year, they are hoping to compete with heavily armed Xavier, with freshman Mark Lyons as an all-rookie selection in the A-10 and freshman Kenny Frease getting the boards and points under the hoop.

UMass is one of the teams to beat in the A-10 with returning starter Chris Lowe and Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley, freshman center Tyrell Lynch, and senior leader Tony Gaffney hoping to be the main scorers on the team.

Last year sophomore Ricky Harris was huge, as he won most improved player. He is now a junior, a little more experienced and full of potential, who will probably have a big contribution for us this year.

UMass welcomes Derek Kellogg to the team as the new head coach, replacing Travis Ford, who led the Minutemen to the NIT Finals, where they eventually lost to Ohio State (is it just me or do they seem to win everything?).

The new and young Minutemen have lots of shoes to fill, as they lost A-10 all-star Gary Forbes and big man Etienne Brower. UMass is hoping to get some help off the bench from freshman David Gibbs and Tyrell Lynch.

Last year they got robbed of a spot in the NCAA tourney, but this year I see big things for the young team.