Kellogg soaks up first signature win of career

December, 15, 2008
What was Derek Kellogg's day like after his UMass team pulled off the school's biggest upset in years by beating Kansas?

Let's just say he lost his anonymity for a day, and loved it.

Kellogg said he had 77 text messages and 17 voice mails after the 61-60 win over KU at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Saturday.

Kellogg then got up at 4:15 a.m. to head to the airport in order to recruit in Baltimore on Sunday. He said when he checked in, the gate agents immediately recognized him and congratulated him. That continued throughout the day, even though he wasn't wearing prominent UMass gear. He went to watch three high school games and the attention didn't subside.

"I would say about 75 people came up to me during the course of the day," Kellogg said. "I think what everyone saw was that we played with the passion and intensity and enthusiasm that UMass fans want to see."

Some of the messages came from the UMass president, the school's athletic director and the mayor of Springfield.

One of the most meaningful he received, though, was from his former coach when Kellogg played for UMass from 1991-95, John Calipari, who said Monday that he was walking out of the locker room after the overtime loss to Georgetown when he was told Kellogg's Minutemen beat Kansas. So he went back and got his cell phone and called him while walking down the hall.

"It made that walk much easier," Calipari said of going to the press room.

Kellogg was quick to point out that Kansas ran the same plays to get a 3-point shot that it did to tie Memphis in the national championship game last April.

"It made it a strange and unique situation," Kellogg said. "To go against the team that beat us for the national championship and have a same kind of ending, it was really strange. When [Sherron] Collins hit the 3 [to bring Kansas to within one], I was having bad memories go through my head."

Kellogg said during the timeout he told the team to look for it again and said if someone was going to beat them it wasn't going to be Collins. Big man Tony Gaffney helped alter the Collins' last shot in the final seconds.

Massachusetts got off to a 1-6 start and Kellogg kept telling the team that it was the best 1-6 team in the country. He said the same thing after a win over Holy Cross made them "the best 2-6 team in the country," and he echoed that same refrain after the Kansas win, saying they were the best 3-6 team in the country.

To get the UMass players to fit better into his Calipari-style dribble-drive-motion offense, Kellogg said he's running more set plays to get them into the offense, putting them in position to run the DDM.

"Obviously against Kansas, we had to control the game more -- I was trying to win," Kellogg said.

The Minutemen host Hofstra on Saturday and Kellogg is hoping for a crazed atmosphere. The team will get senior forward Luke Bonner back from a knee injury that has kept him out since the first half of a loss to Southern Illinois on Nov. 12.

• Calipari said if the Tigers had beaten Xavier in the title game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic last month, or even won at Georgetown last Saturday, he would have classified his team as a fraud. Calipari said he's still trying to figure out this particular group, but also theorized there are 30 similar teams that he believes will find a way to make a run in March. Freshman Tyreke Evans is leading the Tigers in scoring at 16.7 points a game and Calipari said the Tigers are asking him to do things he can't do yet -- make a mid-range shot and take over a game. Had Evans not played against the Hoyas, Memphis would've lost by 25, Calipari said. Evans did score 20 and the Hoyas did win by nine, so I guess that does make mathematical sense. Calipari said Evans has never had to defend for this long in a game and he still needs to figure it out.

He also said he's fine with Wesley Witherspoon at the point. So far, the freshman has 14 assists and 12 turnovers at that position through seven games.

If there is one issue that irks Calipari, it's that seniors Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, along with transfer Roburt Sallie, haven't played up to their potential. Sallie has been a disappointment so far. The one-time Nebraska signee didn't play against the Hoyas and played just two minutes against Xavier. He was supposed to be a shooting answer, but he's making just 36 percent of his shots. "If he's committed, then I'll start playing him," Calipari said.

• Mississippi State fully expects coach Rick Stansbury, hospitalized Sunday night with ongoing migraines, back on the bench for Thursday's game against Cincinnati. The Bulldogs are coming off a 19-point win over South Alabama after a home loss to Charlotte where the Bulldogs were "out-toughed," according to assistant coach Robert Kirby. He said MSU went to a smaller lineup around shot-blocker Jarvis Varnado, but the team is still looking for more on-court leadership moving forward. Mississippi State is also still looking for that high-major win after losing to Washington State and Texas Tech at the Legends Classic in Newark last month. The Bulldogs won't get a break from tough competition over the next few weeks, as they play solid teams in San Diego, Houston and Western Kentucky at home before starting SEC play at Arkansas.

Ben Woodside is no circus sideshow, according to North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips.

"He's legit," Phillips said as he waited out a snow storm in Minneapolis Monday morning. The Bison were stranded en route back from Des Moines from a weekend tournament in Iowa as a frigid snow storm closed roads to Fargo, N.D.

"He's getting attention from people that know what they're talking about," Phillips said. "He can play a lot of different levels."

Woodside, a 5-foot-11 senior guard from Albert Lea, Minn., had the game of his life Friday against Stephen F. Austin, scoring 60 points in a 112-111 triple-overtime loss to the Lumberjacks. He followed that up with 31 points in a consolation game win over Georgia Southern. Woodside is averaging 26.9 points and 7.6 assists a game.

Phillips said what separates Woodside from others is his burst of speed and his ability to go from a stand-still position to getting by someone. Phillips said his 3-point range is 25 feet and that he's also a distributor, as evidenced by the eight assists he had in the SFA game and the 10 he had against Georgia Southern.

The amazing statistic in the 60-point effort is that he had only 11 points he scored with nine minutes left in regulation. Woodside would go on to score 49 points in the last nine minutes and three overtimes. The senior also ended up shooting 35 free throws (making 30) but had only two at the half.

"What was also weird that got lost is that we fought back from 18 down on two separate occasions," Phillips pointed out.

Phillips said NBA scouts are becoming more prevalent at Bison games and he's convinced Woodside will play professionally somewhere.

That's pretty good considering he was only recruited by North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Woodside was part of a class five years ago that wanted to redshirt under then-coach Tim Miles (now at Colorado State), so they could have a chance to compete in the postseason as fifth-year seniors.

Phillips said North Dakota State was originally looking at a 13-year moratorium to get its provisional status removed, but when Woodside's class arrived, it was dropped to five years. The Bison staff had also promised a league -- and it got one when the Summit League called. Traveling in that league is a chore, with the conference covering eight states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana and Louisiana.

The Bison, who play at USC Saturday, are off to a 2-0 start in the Summit League, 5-3 overall. Phillips is convinced his team will be in the mix for the league title along with Oral Roberts, Southern Utah, Oakland and IUPUI.

• Glendale, Ariz., will host a doubleheader Saturday with Louisville-Minnesota and BYU-Arizona State. But the Cardinals' NFL stadium didn't get a Final Four in the next rotation. An NCAA official confirmed that one of the strikes against Arizona's candidacy was how spread out the hotels were from the stadium. Houston got a Final Four despite waiting its turn to host its first one at Reliant Stadium in 2011. Houston got another one in 2016. The selection committee thought that group was extremely well-organized and was impressed by the facility and the transit system. One of the things that apparently hurt San Antonio from getting back in the mix was how little the Alamodome is used during the year without a permanent tenant.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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