UMass men’s basketball to open season at Mohegan Sun’s ‘Bubbleville’

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

  • University of Massachusetts freshman center Tre Mitchell reacts after Duquesne’s Sincere Carry was called for a hard elbow to Keon Clergeot, getting up from the floor just behind Mitchell, in the first half of the Minutemen’s 73-64 win over the Dukes at the Mullins Center in Amherst on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. At left is sophomore forward Dibaji Walker. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Sports Editor
Published: 10/30/2020 6:29:06 PM

The retooled UMass men’s basketball team has a tipoff date for its season.

The Minutemen are one of nine teams in an event at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, in late November.

Dubbed “Bubbleville,” the event is being run by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Gazelle Group.

UMass is in Pod Two along with Delaware and Siena. Pod Two, Three and Four will compete Nov. 25-Dec. 2.

Pod Three will feature Buffalo, Iona and Vermont. Pod Four has Towson, St. Bonaventure and Steven F. Austin.

A schedule, game times and broadcast details will be released at a later date.

UMass is coming off a 2019-20 campaign that saw the Minutemen finish eighth in the Atlantic 10, its highest finish since 2015, and earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament for the first time since 2016. The tournament, however, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minutemen return A-10 Rookie of the year Tre Mitchell, senior captain Carl Pierre and redshirt freshman T.J. Weeks, who appeared in 10 games before his season was cut short due to an injury.

The Minutemen will also showcase six newcomers: Ronnie DeGray III, Dyondre Dominguez, Noah Fernandes, Javohn Garcia, Mark Gasperini and Cairo McCrory.

“It’s a very talented group,” head coach Matt McCall said. “We needed this class to elevate and help get us to the top of the league, and we feel like we’ve done that with this group. This group coming in will have a year or two of prep school that will be ready to play from day one, and I don’t look at those guys like freshmen.”

Mitchell will be the focal point during the season. The 6-foot-9 big man was named to the A-10 Second Team and to the league’s rookie team, finished the year averaging 22.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game over his final nine games. The Pittsburgh native became the first rookie since Marcus Camby in 1994 to be named to the Atlantic 10’s First, Second or Third team.

Mitchell was a six-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week selection, the most for a Minuteman since Rashaun Freeman in 2003-04, and broke the UMass freshman record for field goals in a season with 206, previously held by Jim McCoy (193 in 1988-89).

Mitchell was on pace to break the freshman points record, finishing eight shy of tying the program record of 555.




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