Word has it the Minutemen have added Trey Davis, a scoring PG from Texas that decomitted from fellow A10 school George Washington. Davis is rated as an 82 and considered a "shoot-first" point guard.
While fans were entertaining dreams of landing Arizona transfer Lamont Jones for that slot, it was reported that he did not visit campus Tuesday as expected.
Apparently, Derek Kellogg took that as a signal that it was time to get the best available point guard to fill out the last scholarship on the roster. I expect to see Davis back up Chazz Williams and also share time with Junior Javorn Farrel, who saw time at the 1 last year.
This will be the first year where Kellogg will have a team of upperclassmen that he recruited. Additionally, DK has some role players and walk-ons that may prove valuable.
I expect to see highly-regarded Power Forward Cady Lallane to break into the starting lineup.
Here is my opinion of the likely depth chart:
C - Sean Carter, Cady Lallane, Matt Hill, Sampson Carter, Andrew McCarthy
PF - Cady Lallane, Terrell Vinson, Maxie Esho, Sampson Carter, Trey Lang
SF - Terrell Vinson, Raphael Putney, Javorn Farrell, Sampson Carter
SG - Freddie Riley, Jesse Morgan, Jordan Laguerre, Javorn Farrell, Jordan Couture
PG - Chazz Williams, Javorn Farrell, Trey Davis
Yeah, it might be a confusing depth chart but I expect a lot of match-up specific line-ups. Also see potential for certain combinations to be alligned. DK likes a lot of substitutions. I'm growing okay with that, even if it is hard to get a feel for his motives at times. He knows more in his fingernail about college hoops than I do in my whole body.
I would, however, like to see a bigger front court. Would like to see Lallane and Vinson spend a lot of time on the court, with the upperclassman helping the rookie to adjust. Vinson was a bit undersized for the 4 and could serve better at the three.
Still expect to see Sean Carter get 25 to 30 minutes at Center in his senior year.
Would be interested to see groupings with Esho, Putney and Farrell. The three are familiar with one another as both Putney and Esho played with Farrell before college as well as last year (though Esho was a red-shirt as Putney was the year before).
I see most of the PG minutes going to Chazz Williams but I believe Farrell will see a lot of minutes in that role. Trey Davis will have to earn his minutes as a freshman and his "shoot first" mentality will surely be tempered by Kellogg.
The good news: Depth, Experience, and Role-Playing
We finally have the ability to put a line-up on the floor that has a lot of experience playing at the A-10 level. The growing pains of the last two seasons should begin to pay off. This maturing team has learned to play in a variety of offensive schemes, has been coached to play with intensity on defense, has players that can cause match-up problems, and even has reserves with size and/or experience that can be role players and fill in when needed (Hill, Sampson, McCarthy, Lang). Note: Lang was originally a scholarship player under Travis Ford and 7'1" McCarthy was offered a D2 scholarship after playing AAU ball.
The Bad News:
It is not clear who will be the leader to make up for the offense lost when players such as Anthony Gurley and Rickey Harris graduated.
A lot will depend on the effectiveness of shooting guards Freddie Riley and Jesse Morgan. However, I expect both to benefit by Chazz William's ability to penetrate and kick out.
The team will have more big bodies on the same team than they have had in a long time. The back court is less experienced but should not be a source of major concern. It may be difficult for DK to get everyone minutes and convincing a player to red-shirt is againg possible (Laguerre?), unfortunately there is no obvious choice.
So far the OOC schedule is still in the works. Rumors have kicked around that they will play a game at the Cage (possibly the opener) and 2 in Springfield. An away game at BC is likely. Davidson and Central Ct. should be visiting Amherst to finish home and home agreements. Siena is rumored to be coming in to play at Springfield (as their conference will play their tournament at that facility, those teams are most-likely interested in getting a feel for the place).
A Thanksgiving tournament in the Bahamas is on tap as well that would bring four games against pretty high caliber competition. Nicely, the possiblility now exists that UMass could play UConn. The tournament is called The Battle for Atlantis. Possible opponents include (I believe): UConn, Kansas State, Utah, College of Charleson, UNC - Asheville, and Harvard.
So far I have heard nothing about a game in the Garden. However, Calipari did mention that he would possibly play UMass two years ago at a charity event. Maybe we can finally get Kentucky to come to Beantown after they pulled out of a game there a few years back.
Wouldn't mind seeing some MAC teams come to the Bill this year, if they want to start that thing a year early. There are MAC teams looking for games. Would be nice to see Miami-Ohio. Anyway, the $2 million they are getting for playing the Atlantis thing could allow them to bring in some nice opponents. Would like to see Army and/or Navy (maybe even Air Force as we have a bunch of bases in the state!) as the military academies draw big crowds across the country.
My pick is for a much improved team. I expect better shooting and less dependence on one star player. I think a reasonable goal is a win or two in the A10 tournament, a solid 18 wins and an NIT berth.
If you look at how the group that are now Juniors have played in the past two years on a game by game basis, it is easy to see the development. The first year they played at a level that would have won the NEC - not much to brag about but they were freshmen. Last year they seemed to grow a bit more, perhaps kicking it up to America East level of play. This year they need to be able to be an A10 or at least Colonial League level. Hoping for even-better development the following year - despite losing Sean Carter & Matt Hill.
Coming full circle, you can see why I think Cady needs to get experience right away. We also need to get another big guy or two for down the road.