Basketball

UMass unofficially kicks off basketball season


AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The UMass Men’s and Women’s basketball teams welcomed fans to the Mullins Center tonight to unofficially kick off the season!

It’s an exciting time to be a UMass Basketball supporter. Thursday night marked the return of Mullins Madness. Western Mass News sat down with both head coaches, and fans, ahead of the most-anticipated hoops season in decades.

“A lot of excitement, see a lot of the new players, new coach should be a lot of fun,” said Shannon Sylvia and Shannon Sylvia.

Hundreds of UMass fans made their way to the Mullins Center on Thursday night for Mullins Madness, marking the unofficial start of the season, featuring a scrimmage between the men’s and women’s programs, contests, giveaways and more.

“We’ve been to one hockey game, it was crazy, super electric. Hopefully the same thing happens with basketball,” said Luke Young, UMass-Amherst freshman.

Including the family of Men’s Basketball star Noah Fernandes…

“He is a big part of me trying to do bigger things in basketball…He just shows me that anything is possible,” said Sylvia.

The women’s program is coming off its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998 and the Minutewomen return their core of players, including atlantic-10 player of the year Sam Breen.

“I think that we have the most talent ever in the history of the program. On paper, we look really really good and if I can just coach them up a little bit I think I can put them in a position to be really successful,” explained Tony Verdi, head coach of UMass Women’s Basketball.

Frank Martin, the new men’s head basketball coach, brings his impressive collegiate track record, including a Final Four appearance, to Amherst.

“They all reach out to me and are like Frank there’s a buzz that we haven’t had around here in a long time and I feel it, so hopefully as a team, we can go out there and play the game the right way and win games so we can keep building on that enthusiasm that we’ve tried to create here on the way in.”

and with a big season ahead, both coaches said to get on board now before the bandwagon leaves the station.

“Just jump on this wagon with these guys. We’re gonna go on a fun ride,” Martin said.

“We’re all in this together, when we win, you win,” Verdi added.

There were also two $5,000 scholarships given out to UMass students. Both teams open their regular season up at home on Monday, November 7.



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