AMHERST, Mass. -- Derek Kellogg finally got UMass back.
It had been 16 years since the program that John Calipari built had been to the NCAA tournament. The Calipari expectations were largely responsible for the brief tenures of three coaches -- Bruiser Flint, Steve Lappas and Travis Ford (who somehow got a better job).
Then came in the area’s favorite son, Kellogg, to try to get this once-proud program back on the national map. He did it with a team that ranked in the top 25 for much of the season, and also one that finally went dancing.
Now the question becomes whether he can sustain it.
I took in practice last week in Amherst and came away with the following observations about this year’s UMass Minutemen:
1. Derek Kellogg will miss Chaz Williams’ toughness and ability to make a play at virtually any point in the game, but Williams wasn’t much of a leader.