UMass coach Derek Kellogg reflects on death of Rick Majerus
AMHERST — University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg was among many in the college basketball world affected by the death of former Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus on Saturday.
“It’s sad to see somebody of his age pass away,” Kellogg said in a statement. “He had so much to offer the game of basketball. It’s sad when you lose somebody in the coaching fraternity, especially when you see what he did for the game. From coaching against him and watching from afar you saw that he gave his heart and soul to the student-athlete and was something special. We are all going to miss him.”
Majerus, who led the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, has battled heart problems in recent years. In August he took a leave for health reasons, and in November Majerus announced he would not return to coaching.
He went 95-69 at Saint Louis and 517-216 during his career that included stops at Utah, Marquette and Ball State.
“The entire Atlantic 10 family is grieving tonight over the loss of coach Majerus. His undeniable knowledge and love of the game was known to all, and he was an excellent teacher committed to the student-athlete. This passion made his impact on A-10 basketball over the past five years immeasurable,” Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in a statement released by the conference. “He will be missed at Saint Louis , within the A-10 and nationally; our prayers and condolences are with coach Majerus’ family and the Saint Louis University community.”
MORGAN STRUGGLING ON MAINLAND – Jesse Morgan continues to struggle shooting since the Minutemen returned from Puerto Rico.
He went 3-for-15 from the floor Saturday in a 75-62 loss to Miami, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range as he tried to shoot his way out of the slump. Morgan is 2-for-17 from behind the arc in the last two games.
In three games on the mainland this season Morgan is averaging 12.6 points per game and shooting 16 percent from 3-point range (4-for-25).
In Puerto Rico, Morgan averaged 17 points per game and shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range (12-for-27).
HEAVY-HEARTED — Hurricane senior big man Kenny Kadji played Saturday, just a day after his grandfather Gibbard Kadji died, and scored 13 points.
“It was very special. I really wanted to honor him. It’s a tough time for my mother,” Kadji said. “I wanted to play for him and my parents. I really think he was out there with me. He was on my mind the whole time.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he was surprised to have Kadji available.
“I didn’t think he’d even be able to play today. Down the stretch he stepped up big time,” Larranaga said.
NEXT UP — UMass (3-3) is back in action Tuesday at Northeastern. The Huskies are 4-3, but have lost their last two games to Charlotte and Maine.
MISCELLANEOUS — The Minutemen’s 28.6 shooting percentage was their worst since shooting 25 percent in a 76-43 loss at Dayton on Feb. 25 when UMass was 13-for-52 from the field.
It was the first time all year that the Minutemen attempted more free throws (26) that their opponent (25).
Kellogg, who was an assistant under Larranaga at George Mason, is now 1-3 against coaches he used to work for. He’s 0-2 vs. Larranaga, 0-1 vs. John Calipari and 1-0 vs. Bruiser Flint.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.