The college basketball season is finally here and UMass fans got their first look at (most of) the group of newcomers that we’ve been hearing about all summer. Despite some sloppy play by both rookies and veterans the Minutemen had enough firepower between Rashaan Holloway, Luwane Pipkins, Ty Flowers and Donte Clark to get the job done. Without further ado the first KJRs of the 2016-2017 season!
Knee Jerk Reactions
- It feels good to see the Mullins Center rocking this early in the season. Over 5K fans in attendance and the student section sporting some killer “Ball is Life” shirts. They really blow the “Get Chazzed Up” tees out of the water.
- Alanna, our newest field reporter, came out with a hot tip that the Bill is now selling beer. Unfortunately our fact checkers missed that one and it turns out to not be true. That’s the type of shoddy reporting that we thrive on at the UMBR. Great work Alanna you have a bright future here!
- Please reference the season preview blog where I called out Rashaan Holloway and Luwane Pipkins as impact players for this season. Boy was I right (and more importantly Phil, Daniel and Alanna were wrong)
- Rashaan tallied a career high 21 points and was almost unstoppable in the paint. Yes, he was the biggest man on the court which won’t happen against every team this year, but he showed tremendous athleticism and vision. If he continues to play the way he did yesterday he will be a force in the A10.
- His totals could have been even higher if his teammates helped him out a little more. There were a lot of lazy entry passes into Rashaan, Malik, and Baldwin. It’s good that the guards have confidence in the bigs ability to make plays but there is huge room for improvement there.
- Pipkins was another guy who came out hot. All preseason DK talked about Luwane’s maturity and leadership and we saw it on the floor yesterday. He led the team in minutes and made the most of every one of them
- 14 points, a few assists, and sneakily grabbing the school record for steals in a game (8!!!) is a pretty good way to start off a college career.
- On offense Luwane looked a little like Chaz Williams and on defense he looked like Derrick Gordon
- Speaking of former UMass players…Ty Flowers is Raphiael Putney. I think DK might have a type.
- Like Putney, Ty is too tall for his own body and will shoot threes from anywhere on the court. He started the game with some wild misses but once he settled in and got his feet set he was stroking them.
- DeJon Jarreau got overshadowed a bit by Pipkins but he also had a nice debut. He didn’t shoot the ball very well but showed he is a pass-first point guard with 7 assists including a highlight reel no-look pass on the break to Malik Hines.
- The trio of Jarreau, Clark and Pipkins looks to be a formidable force in the back court. It will be cool to see how DK mixes them into his lineups.
- Despite the win there were a lot of rookie mistakes – especially turnovers and bad three point shots
- Zach Lewis, our three point specialist, forced up too many bad looks. He was 1-6 from three.
- Donte Clark was a little too greedy on offense. He too often missed on an extra pass in favor of tough shots. I hope he will trust his new teammates more.
- As a team, UMass did not rebound well. They let up way too many offensive boards, especially on missed threes. That’s how they will lose against better teams.
- We didn’t get to see B(r)ison Gresham or Unique McLean – Bison waiting on NCAA clearance, Unique might be redshirting
- We also didn’t get to see much from Breadcrumbs Baldwin. He was in foul trouble most of the game and ended up fouling out. He will need to adjust quickly if he wants to see more minutes.
- Zach Coleman in street clothes. So much for staying healthy.
- Seth Berger only played 7 minutes and didn’t make much of an impact. We’ll need him to be better once we hit the tougher part of the schedule.
This weeks game ball goes to Rashaan Holloway. He netted a career high, was great from the free throw line and really put the game out of reach for the River Hawks. You can sense his hunger for greatness.
The Minutemen head to down to the land of cotton for a rematch of last season’s loss to Ole Miss. This will be the first test for the young Minutemen against a power conference team. Fortunately, Ole Miss is in the bottom half of the SEC in terms of talent so I could see this game going either way. If the Minutemen come out hot, limit turnovers and rebound with intensity it will be a long night for the Rebels.
Fun Fact: Ole Miss plays in a brand new arena that opened midway through last season. The Pavilion at Ole Miss has the “largest center-hung video display board in college sports.” (source). Neat!