Tyler Bergantino, Derrick Gordon put on YouTube show
Derrick Gordon of the University of Massachusetts moves the ball during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.
UMass men's basketball newcomers Derrick Gordon, left, and Tyler Bergantino host "The Derrick Gordon and Tyler Bergantino Chronicles" on YouTube.
Derrick Gordon of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.
Tyler Bergantino of the University of Massachusetts dunks during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.
AMHERST — The show is a little bit MTV’s “Real World” mixed with a hefty amount of “Wayne’s World.”
“The Derrick Gordon and Tyler Bergantino Chronicles” started as goofy way to pass the time in the summer for two of the University of Massachusetts’ newest basketball players, but their YouTube reality/variety show has started to develop a grass roots cult following.
Bergantino and Gordon were fast friends shortly after arriving on campus this summer. The 6-foot-9 big man from Springhill, Fla. and the 6-foot-3 guard from Plainfield, N.J. had similar senses of humor and asked to be roommates.
The DGTB Chronicles, as they’ve taken to calling it, are YouTube shorts that began when they videotaped a trip through the Hampshire Mall.
“After we videotaped us at Target the first episode and we looked at each other and said we should keep going with this,” Bergantino said.
Keep going they have. Nobody is going to confuse these videos with an HBO documentary, but it would stand up against most cable access shows and fans of the Minutemen have enjoyed them enough to share them repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook. Episode 1 has had almost 1,000 views on YouTube. On the other 11 episodes, somewhere between 146 and 732 unique viewers have seen Bergantino and Gordon:
• Sing, mostly a falsetto by Bergantino, who facially resembles Justin Timberlake, but isn’t likely to replicate his singing career.
• Interview teammates — Trey Davis, Izzy Freeman and Clyde Santee all join the duo on camera.
• Give a mini tour of the Mullins Center training room, as Bergantino takes an ice bath.
• Review movies that they have seen and haven’t seen — Gordon, a Liam Niesson fan recommended Taken 2 both before and after he saw it.
• Attempt to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Bergantino completes it in the opening credits while Gordon is still trying in the closing ones.
• Report the news. A short clip of Bergantino in eighth grade and a shot of new assistant coach Lou Roe dunking on Freeman were both featured in a fake newscast.
“It’s been fun. We’re just giving everybody something new on this campus. A look at how we live life as far as practicing, school and how we’re living. It’s fun,” said Gordon, who is sitting out this year after transferring from Western Kentucky.
At first, they didn’t think anyone was watching other than maybe their parents, who get occasional shout-outs. But Gordon realized it was starting to take off in August when new hockey coach John Micheletto mentioned them to him.
“The hockey coach came up to me and said ‘When’s the next video coming out?’ Gordon said proudly. “Hearing that from him, I know people are watching it. When I was at Western Kentucky, everybody knew who I was. At UMass, a lot of people didn’t really know who I am. A lot of people recognize who me and Tyler are. Hopefully, a lot more people will keep watching.”
Bergantino enjoys the interaction.
“I’ll be walking into (the Berkshire Dining Commons) and people will be like “Bergantino! When’s the next episode coming out?” said Bergantino, who hopes to someday work for a charity for kids. “I like being a people person. It’s all part of the what I’m trying to be. It’s nice because it gets our faces out there and our sense of humor out there. I really think it’ll take off. I just can’t wait.”
UMass coach Derek Kellogg said he hasn’t watched any episodes.
“The reports are that it’s pretty cool,” he said. “Those guys are special kids. They’re good to be around. They’re fun to hang out with. They’re adding a good dynamic to the team. We’re trying to recruit high character kids, who are good in the classroom, good in the community and good basketball players. I think they fit that to a T.”
Bergantino hoped to expand the show as the season progressed.
“We started getting creative with it. We’ve shortened them down so more people can view it,” he said. “Once we get those going we can start incorporating special guests. Maybe a contest or something like that.”
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.