UMass’ Tre Mitchell named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year

  • Tre Mitchell, top, right, of UMass, shoots against Mike'l Simms, of VCU, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 at the Mullins Center. Samba Diallo looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tre Mitchell, center, of UMass, looks for a shot against Paul Atkinson, of Yale, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 at the Mullins Center. Eric Monroe looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tre Mitchell, center, of UMass, moves the ball against Paul Atkinson, of Yale, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 at the Mullins Center. Eric Monroe looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • University of Massachusetts freshman center Tre Mitchell works around Baylee Steele, left, of Duquesne as Dukes head coach Keith Dambrot watches from the sideline in the first half of the Minutemen's 73-64 win over Duquesne at the Mullins Center in Amherst on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 3/10/2020 8:26:07 PM

AMHERST — The writing has been on the wall for weeks, but on Tuesday it was finally confirmed – Tre Mitchell is the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.

Mitchell was the only UMass honoree when the conference released its annual awards Tuesday afternoon, as voted on by the 14 conference coaches. The Pittsburgh native who played his final two years of high school basketball at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut, is the sixth Minuteman to be honored as the league’s top freshman and the first UMass player to earn the award since Rashaun Freeman in 2004.

Mitchell winning was almost a foregone conclusion after he took home A10 Rookie of the Week honors every week for the final five weeks of the season, the longest streak in the league since Lamar Odom during the 1998-99 season. Mitchell is the first UMass freshman named to the all-rookie team since Chris Lowe in 2006.

The biggest surprise was that Mitchell, who led the league in scoring during conference play at 20.4 points per game, was not a first-team all-A10 selection. He instead was named to the second team, the first UMass freshman named to an all-league team since Marcus Camby was on the third team 26 years ago. Dayton’s Obi Toppin was named the A10 Player of the Year while his coach Anthony Grant was named the coach of the year after guiding the third-ranked Flyers to a perfect 18-0 regular season.

In addition to his A10 honors, Mitchell was named to the all-district team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the organization announced Tuesday. He was the only freshman named to the 10-player District I list, which encompasses college basketball players in New England. Rhode Island guard Fatts Rusell was named the district’s player of the year while Merrimack’s Joe Gallo took home coach of the year honors.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — UMass said it is still monitoring the situation as it relates to COVID-19 and the Hockey East quarterfinal series this weekend at the Mullins Center. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the school is still welcoming fans for the game and Minutemen coach Greg Carvel said he hopes there will be a good atmosphere for the game.

“Hopefully we have fans here,” Carvel said. “The players deserve it, so we’re crossing our fingers and hoping it doesn’t affect our games this week.”

GOALIE SHUFFLE — All season, the Minutemen have stuck with a philosophy where each of their two goalies plays one game per weekend. The goal, Carvel said, was to let each of his netminders put all their focus and energy into one game instead of having to spread it across both games of a weekend.

It worked well for No. 9 UMass, which evenly split the first 34 starts of the season between sophomore Filip Lindberg and junior Matt Murray. They posted extremely similar numbers for the Minutemen – Lindberg has a 1.91 goals against average and .927 save percentage while Murray has a 1.86 GAA and .919 save percentage. But with the postseason starting Friday at 7:15 p.m. against seventh-seeded Northeastern, Carvel said he’s leaning toward trying to find one goalie to build some rhythm and lead UMass through the postseason.

“We’re probably going to pick a goalie based on practice this week then see how they play,” Carvel said. “I watch the goalies, but I don’t watch them very closely, that’s (assistant coach Jared DeMichiel’s) responsibility, so he has a little more to say in the decision, but we’re usually in agreement. For the first time this year, I’d like to get away from back and forth, I’d like to pick a guy and let him get in a groove and build on some momentum.”

MADDEN 2020 — The biggest question surrounding the seventh-seeded Huskies’ trip to Amherst is the health of forward Tyler Madden. The sophomore forward leads Northeastern with 19 goals, but has missed the last seven games with a hand injury.

With Madden out of the lineup, the Huskies limped to a 2-5-0 record and dropped in the Pairwise rankings out of an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament. Northeastern coach Jim Madigan gave a brief update on Madden’s condition during the Hockey East coaches teleconference with reporters Tuesday morning, saying he’s optimistic but it’s too soon to tell whether or not he would play this weekend.

“He’s on the ice, he’s practicing and it’s going to be a game-time decision, but we’re hoping that he’ll be ready to play,” Madigan said. “He still has a couple more hurdles to get through, but we’re encouraged.”

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