(Photo via masslive.com)
With their year officially over after a 15-point loss to VCU in the second round of the A-10 tournament, the UMass basketball team can finally put this season behind them. They under-performed by many standards, ending the year with a 14-18 record. They are now losing a solid group of seniors who had been contributing a lot of minutes to the team. But, head coach Derek Kellogg assures the fans of a bright future ahead.
Although the UMass athletic program fired both the Women’s basketball coach and the Men’s hockey coach at the conclusion of their respective seasons, AD Ryan Bamford confirms Kellogg’s job safety. “We are moving forward with Derek. Derek is our head coach,” via masslive.com. This is great news for the program; besides the unfavorable results in the last two seasons, Kellogg has done a fine job as coach for 8 solid years. He is well respected by the fans, the players, and in many coaching circles.
Clearly, the AD feels that Kellogg is the most capable of turning the basketball team around. As a former John Calipari assistant, he is certainly capable of handling any sort of pressure thrown at him. Now, it’s time to prove it. Luckily for him, he will have the luxury of coaching a talented 2016 rookie class, which has been ranked in the top 25 by most recruiting sources. And he already seems ahead of schedule.
Kellogg, in a press conference following the VCU loss, said that he is already planning on working with his players in the spring, summer, and into the fall as they prepare for next season. He expressed his determination to learn from his team’s mistakes in the 2016 season. He has high hopes for the season ahead, as he should. Yes, the team didn’t live up to anybody’s expectations, but with solid pieces like Dante Clark and Antwan Space returning, along with one of the best recruiting classes the team has seen in years, Kellogg has every right to feel optimistic about the future. This year’s performance can be seen as more of a detour than a road-block, where the goal and final destination still remain intact.
– J. Yellin