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Former West Virginia guard Jabarie Hinds transferring to UMass

West Virginia's Jabarie Hinds (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 66-64. (AP Photo/David Smith)

West Virginia's Jabarie Hinds (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 66-64. (AP Photo/David Smith) Purchase photo reprints »

The University of Massachusetts men’s basketball program, which has enjoyed considerable success with transfers in recent years, has added another.

Former West Virginia guard Jabarie Hinds announced Thursday that he is transferring to UMass. He chose the Minutemen over Saint Joseph’s and Iona.

“I liked their style of play,” Hinds said. “Over the past month I’ve developed a good relationship with Coach (Derek) Kellogg. I like how they run and press and make the game faster. I like how on offense, coach lets his players play.”

NCAA rules prevent Kellogg from talking about Hinds until his transfer paperwork is completed.

The 5-foot-11 Hinds, who can play either point or shooting guard, averaged 7.4 points per games during his freshman and sophomore seasons at West Virginia. He averaged 1.6 assists in 22.8 minutes per game last year and 3.3 assists in 28.8 minutes in 2011-12.

Hinds is a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., the same New York City suburb that produced former UMass point guard Chris Lowe.

UMass is “only two hours and 30 minutes away from home so my family can come up and see me play,” Hinds said.

Hinds is the third former Mountaineer to join the Minutemen, joining Jackie Rogers and Luke Bonner, who both started their careers in Morgantown, W.Va., before completing it in Amherst.

Under NCAA transfer rules, Hinds will sit out the 2013-14 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. In 2014-15, Hinds would join a backcourt that includes Trey Davis and Derrick Gordon, who would all be juniors and give the Minutemen a veteran unit even after Chaz Williams leaves.

“I’m going to work hard during the year off so when I’m eligible, I can step right in,” Hinds said. “I’m going to stay in the gym and work on my jump shot, watch a lot of film.”

Transfers have been successful at UMass in recent years. Williams, Gary Forbes and Tony Gaffney began their careers elsewhere before earning all-conference status in Amherst. Sean Carter, Anthony Gurley, Etienne Brower and Dante Milligan also enjoyed strong careers for the Minutemen.

SMITH POSSIBLE – Malik Smith, a 6-foot-2 guard at Florida International, is exploring the possibility of transferring to UMass as well.

Smith has one year of eligibility remaining. All Florida International players are eligible to transfer without sitting out, because the school is ineligible for postseason since the program did not reach minimum scores in the Academic Progress Report.

But Smith, a Boston native who averaged 14.1 points per game last year, played at two junior colleges before signing at Florida International and it is uncertain whether he would have enough transferable credits.

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

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