UMass lands Texas A&M transfer big man Antwan Space



Last modified: Thursday, September 17, 2015

Antwan Space was optimistic about UMass before he arrived for his visit. The big man, who is transferring from Texas A&M, said his time in Amherst and on campus sealed his decision to commit to the Minutemen.

Space is taking advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule that allows players, who have completed their degrees, to play at their new school without sitting out. The 6-foot-8, 229-pound forward/center will have one year of eligibility remaining.

“Visiting showed me the town of Amherst and how nice of a town it is. I wanted to see if it was a place I wanted to be for one year or two years with graduate school,” said Space, who was planning to study leadership management, but still investigating all of his academic opportunities at UMass. “I met with the academic staff and they told me about the opportunities I would have to work to get my graduate degree. That was a big deal for me. The coaches and the team were all really nice guys. The coach is a real genuine coach. I like Coach (Derek) Kellogg. It all went into my decision equally.”

Like UMass guard Trey Davis, Space is from DeSoto, Texas, a Dallas suburb. Space said the two have been friends since middle school. He said he got to know UMass sophomore forward and fellow Texan Zach Coleman, whom he also considers a friend, as a senior in high school.

“I’ve known Trey since seventh grade. We pretty much grew up together. I met Zach through Trey. Trey is like my brother. We’ve kept in touch this whole entire time,” Space said. “It’s a new scenario, far from any kind of distractions that being close to home might bring. Having a best friend with me like Trey, who can show me the way, that really helps. I started playing basketball in eighth grade with Trey. To end playing with Trey is great. It’s almost like storybook.”

Space averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game as a sophomore at A&M. His averages and minutes diminished as a junior with 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.4 minutes. UMass has plenty of playing time to offer in the frontcourt with starting big men Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho graduating.

Tyler Bergantino will be a senior, but the only time he ever played more than 16 minutes in a game during his career was a game UMass won by 38 points. He’s never scored more than six points or grabbed more than six rebounds. Coleman showed considerable potential at times as a redshirt freshman, but was hampered by an injury . The Minutemen have two freshmen big men who sat out last year in Malik Hines and Rashaan Holloway, but neither has played a minute of college basketball so Space would likely get a chance to make an impact.

“There’s opportunity and I want to win,” Space said. “I wanted to play with guys that want to win as much as I do. That’s the vibe I got from visiting there. I want to go out winning. I don’t want a good individual season and a bad year. I want to go out winning and I want to have an opportunity to contribute to that. Here I think I can do that.”

Space has a 3-year-old daughter Zaynah. He said fatherhood has made him more mature on and off the court as he pursues opportunities to improve himself so he can better provide for her.

“I have a lot more motivation. I’m not just doing it for me. I’m doing it for my family and my daughter,” Space said. “It gives me a way better outlook at the opportunity I have to help my future and take care of my family. I want to make the most of this opportunity. It doesn’t come to everybody. I’m blessed to have it.”

NCAA rules prevent Kellogg from commenting on unsigned recruits.

Space expected to arrive in Amherst in late May.

The Minutemen will try to add a second transfer next weekend when Robert Morris transfer Marcquise Reed visits. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 15.1 points per game as a freshman for the Colonials and scored 22 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Duke. He’s looking at Southern Cal, Tulsa, UMass and Clemson.

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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