By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
11/22/21 * 5:20 PM
UMass* Men’s 🏀 participated in the Jersey Mike’s Classic in St. Petersburg, FL. The Minutemen playerd 3 opponents in 4 days.
On Thursday, the Minutemen lost to Weber St. They won a thrilling OT game on Friday against UNC-Greensboro. On Sunday, they lost a close game to Ball St.
UMass went 1-2 over the long weekend tournament; their overall record is 3-3.
I learned four things about UMass 🏀 this weekend.
First, Noah Fernandes has taken over Tre Mitchell’s role as the “go to” offensive player. He scored career highs on Thursday and Friday. In Thursday’s loss, he played hard the entire game. On Sunday, he didn’t play much in the second half and UMass struggled to maintain any offensive continuity. As the PG, he usually has the ball in his hands. Going forward, he will have to lead the Minutemen on offense as a PG and as a scorer.
Second, UMass HC Matt McCall will have to play 9 to 11 players per game this season. There is always talk in 🏀about having a “short rotation” - about 7 or 8 players. This UMass teams needs as many “hands on deck” as they can get. Each player off the bench brings different attributes. Kolton Mitchell, Javohn Garcia and Cairo McCrory are fighting for minutes at the end of the rotation. Each player, in my opinion, has to get out there to show what they have that night. UMass has the resource of a deep bench. They shouldn’t neglect that due to questions by media or speculation by users on Jack Dorsey’s phone application, Twitter.
Third, UMass is shooting too many threes. UMass attempted 112 threes at the Jersey Mike’s Classic. Some players are shooting a good percentage early in the season but that won’t continue. No one on the roster is a game in/game out, knock-down shooter from 3. Passing up a three every now and then will work for the Minutemen.
Lastly, UMass shouldn’t build their roster in the transfer portal going forward. Rich Kelly, CJ Kelly, Buttrick and Jones are good players. UMass should look at NEPSAC schools and high school recruits. Younger players will choose UMass if the program wins more and if they show a history of acquiring and fostering young talented players.