Fairfield transfer Curtis Cobb chooses UMass

  • Fairfield guard Curtis Cobb, left, drives to the basket past Northwestern center Alex Olah during the first half Nov. 18, 2015, in Evanston, Ill. AP

  • Willbraham & Monson’s Curtis Cobb, right, in action against Phelps School during a prep school basketball game at Baruch College in New York, Jan. 20, 2014. AP

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 4/15/2017 9:36:14 PM

Curtis Cobb wanted a chance to play at a higher level and wanted to use his year sitting out as a transfer to get better. The former Fairfield guard liked the combination new UMass coach Matt McCall offered.

“The coach talked a lot about helping me develop,” said Cobb, a Fall River native who made his decision official Saturday. “Development is going to be a big part of this year off. He has confidence that I’ll help them get better in the future.”

Cobb, a 6-foot-5 guard, finished his high school career at Wilbraham & Monson. He averaged 12.1 points per game as a sophomore and 10.8 points per game as a freshman at Fairfield. He’ll sit out during the 2017-18 season under NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“He’s a good get for UMass. (New assistant coach) Peter Gash did a great job recruiting him. He’s excited. I could hear it in his voice,” said Wilbraham & Monson coach Mike Mannix, who went to UMass and worked for Bruiser Flint at Drexel. “He can get to the basket. He’s got a good mid-range game. He was a good 3-point shooter for us and he expanded his range at Fairfield.”

He had 14 points against North Carolina State and 20 against Boston College in December.

Cobb fulfills some of McCall’s stated quest for 3-point shooting. He shot 34.1 percent from behind the arc last year. He made nine of 12 3-pointers as part of a 46-point effort at Manhattan on Jan. 5. The total was a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference record. He finished the season in a scoring slump as he didn’t reach double figures in eight of the Stags’ final nine games.

“I can shoot the ball pretty well. But I feel like I can get to the rim pretty well, especially in transition,” Cobb said. “Seeing what (McCall) did at Chattanooga really fit the way I like to play. He has a lot of confidence in his guys shooting the ball. When I have confidence behind me I can make a lot of shots.”

Cobb joins freshman forward Chris Baldwin, a friend of his, as the only scholarship players at UMass from Massachusetts.

Mannix said he thought Cobb was good enough to play in the Atlantic 10 out of high school, but an ankle injury before the summer between his junior and senior year limited his AAU exposure.

“I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder. I’ll finally get a chance to play at a higher level and test out my ability,” Cobb said. “I didn’t leave (Fairfield) trying to get closer, but when UMass came into the picture, it was nice to be back home in my own state. I can help build something. They have a lot of good guys who are young. With me waiting out a year, those guys will already be great.”

LEWIS TO IONA — Former UMass guard Zach Lewis confirmed by text message a FanRagSports.com report that he’s decided to transfer to Iona. Lewis, who has his degree, will be eligible immediately for the Gaels. Playing at Iona means a return to the MAAC. He played his first two seasons at Canisius.

KELLOGG TO LIU? — On Saturday, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports said Long Island University was focusing its coaching search on former UMass coach Derek Kellogg. Later that night, Adam Zagoria, a well-respected basketball blogger in New York tweeted:

The LIU Administration “is on hold” with moving forward with candidates, source says.”

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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