UMass freshman Malik Hines ruled a partial qualifier; practice status uncertain



Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2015

AMHERST — UMass freshman big man Malik Hines is officially on scholarship as a partial qualifier after months of waiting.

Hines will receive a scholarship retroactively for the first semester and will have one going forward.

It’s possible that Hines could be allowed to practice if he earned a 2.5 grade point average during the fall semester. The NCAA allows certain partial qualifiers to practice in that situation. Minuteman coach Derek Kellogg said he wasn’t sure where that stood and didn’t expect to have clarification until later in the week. Because of privacy laws UMass can’t elaborate on his academic situation.

Hines is not on campus for winter break and wasn’t available for comment.

If Hines makes necessary progress toward his degree each year, he’ll have four years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015-16. The 6-foot-9 native of Jackson, Miss. will be counted on to contribute right away as both UMass’ frontcourt starters, Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho, graduate this year.

Hines will join a frontcourt of returnees,Tyler Bergantino, Zach Coleman and possibly Seth Berger, if Kellogg chooses to use Berger, who can play either forward spot, inside. Fellow freshman Rashaan Holloway, who is also sitting out this year as a partial qualifier, will also be in the mix.

Hines’ elevation to scholarship status means UMass has all of its available scholarships filled for this season, so the Minutemen wouldn’t be able to add one of the many available transfers before the start of the spring semester. But because they anticipated Hines being on scholarship, the UMass coaches weren’t pursuing any of them anyway.

Kellogg thought Hines’ skills fit well into UMass’ style and compared him to former UMass center Sean Carter.

“He brings a different dimension than the bigs we have now. He’s kind of a combination of Cady and Maxie,” Kellogg said. “He’s not a total down low guy like Cady, but he’s a little bigger and not quite as athletic as Maxie. We’ll try him in front of the press. He has some similar qualities to Sean Carter as far as the way he moves.

“He brings good energy and a good attitude. I like his demeanor on the floor. He seems to be passionate about the game,” Kellogg added. “I liked him in AAU and I thought he could be a very good college basketball player at some point. For a guy his size, the amount of energy he brings is contagious.”

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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