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Seth Berger, Zach Coleman officially join UMass men’s basketball program

AMHERST — Seth Berger and Zach Coleman are officially part of the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball program.

The two 6-foot-7 forwards who visited campus and committed at the same time in September, signed with UMass during the early signing period.

Berger signed late last week, while Coleman signed at a ceremony at his school on Tuesday.

Coleman, who attends Woodrow Wilson, the same Dallas high school that Minuteman point guard Trey Davis attended, projects like graduating senior Terrell Vinson, who can play inside and on the perimeter.

“He’s a lot like some of the guys we have here with his length and athleticism. He can shoot the ball from 3 and he can score around the rim,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “He does a good job rebounding. More than that he’s a great kid and a hard worker and I think he’s going to thrive in our up-tempo style.”

Berger, who is a rare UMass athlete from Washington state, attends Seattle’s Ballard High School. He was an unknown until a strong summer helped raise his recruiting profile nationally.

“He’s got a high basketball IQ. He’s a competitor and a really hard worker. He’s a winner,” Kellogg said. “He fits in exactly what we’re looking for — another tough player, who is gritty and knows how to play. He could thrive in an up-tempo system because he’s got some pretty good athleticism.”

Berger said his official visit sealed his decision.

“I really like the campus and Coach Kellogg and Coach (Adam) Ginsburg. I like their style of play and the fast pace of it,” he said. “The players were really cool. They took me in pretty quick and UMass is a top five engineering school and that’s what I want to major in. It all fit together nicely.”

Berger, who had never been to the east coast until this year, said he hadn’t planned on attending college so far from home, but it felt like a good fit.

“When I was considering schools I thought I would stay on the west coast,” he said. “But I got a call from Coach Ginsburg and I looked into UMass and I liked it a lot.”

Berger and Coleman will join Clyde Santee, a wing from Houston, who is sitting out as an academic nonqualifier, in next year’s freshman class.

If Javorn Farrell, who is out with a leg injury, takes a medical redshirt, the additions of Berger and Coleman would put the Minutemen one over the scholarship limit for 2013-14, unless one or both players don’t qualify academically or someone currently on the roster chose not to return.

ZONO ALL-AMERICAN — Senior defender Thando Zono was named National Field Hockey Coaches Association First Team All-America on Tuesday.

Zono is the 32nd Minutewoman to secure All-America in program history.

“This is a tremendous honor for Thando and for the program,” UMass coach Carla Tagliente said in a release. “I am very happy for her. She has faced so much adversity in two seasons and has persevered in a remarkable manner. I am so proud of her — not just for her accomplishments but for the impact she has made on this program and her teammates.”

Zono (14 goals, five assists) tied for the team lead with classmate Kim Young with 33 points. The Grahamstown, South Africa, native, also matched Young with three game-winning goals.

WOMEN’S HOOP SIGNS TWO — Kymber Hill and Meredith Tarver signed National Letters of Intent to play at UMass.

Hill, a forward/center from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., plays at Althoff Catholic High School. She averaged 20 wins over the last three years.

Tarver, a Johns Creek, Ga., native, plays guard at Northview High School. She averaged 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals per game last season.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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