Posts Tagged ‘Chase Plummer’

OBW America East preseason predictions: #5 UMBC

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Malik Garner. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

Malik Garner. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

Projected starting lineup:

G – Quinton Jones, Sr., 6’ 185
G – Bryan Harris, R-Fr., 6’2” 180
F – Malik Garner, Soph., 6’6” 220
F – Devarick Houston, Jr., 6’7” 190
C – Brett Roseboro, R-Sr., 6’10” 240

Overview:
UMBC won seven Division I games last year. At season’s end, they graduated their two best players – one of them, Ryan Cook, who stood out as the best player of the 2013 America East Tournament. Over the offseason, UMBC had four players transfer out of the program.

In two years, they may be the conference favorite.

So drastic has been the change sweeping through Catonsville, spearheaded by head coach Aki Thomas, along with assistants and former UMBC Retrievers Jay Greene and John Zito. Last year the coaching staff motivated a previously downtrodden roster of cast-offs, walk-ons and Division III level players to bulldoze heavily favored Hartford in the America East Tournament quarterfinals. UMBC then gave Vermont everything it could handle before falling valiantly in the final minutes of the semis.

The Retrievers rocketed to the top of the league in 2008, winning the America East going away to punch the program’s first ticket to the NCAA’s. In 2009, Greene and Darryl Proctor suited up one more time to carry UMBC back to the championship game. But over the next three years, the Retrievers nose-dived, as then head coach Randy Monroe ran players out of the program at a staggering rate while flying the team into the ground.

Last fall, Monroe was terminated after eight years at the helm. Thomas, his former assistant, was promoted to interim head coach. The overwhelming assumption at the start of the season was the Thomas was a dead man walking and would be summarily dismissed at seasons end.

But then he did the impossible: Thomas motivated a previously mentally and physically beaten roster to believe in itself again. As the season went on, UMBC began to gel and compete. Then they began to win, setting the stage for their inspired run to the semifinals.

Despite spending most of the season recruiting under the interim tag – a hanging guillotine – Thomas and his staff landed every single one of their targeted recruits over the offseason, revamping their roster with talent from the DC-Metro beltway.

Roster:

It may sound crazy, but from purely a talent perspective, there may not be another team in the league with as deep and as diverse a roster as the Retrievers. There certainly isn’t a team with a longer or more athletic one.

UMBC has the potential to run out more than a half-dozen different, legitimate, lineups depending on the situation. They can go big, small, athletic, spread the floor on offense or create anarchy on defense. (more…)

Housecleaning in Catonsville

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
UMBC head coach Aki Thomas served as a master motivator during his first season at the helm at UMBC, now he must become a miracle worker rebuilding the roster (Photo by Sam Perkins)

UMBC head coach Aki Thomas served as a master motivator during his first season at the helm at UMBC, now he must become a miracle worker rebuilding the roster (Photo by Sam Perkins)

(Catonsville, MD) – When UMBC’s season came to an end in heartbreaking but heart-warming fashion in the America East Tournament, the real work began for head coach Aki Thomas and his staff: rebuilding his roster from the rubble of a devastated and dilapidated program.

Thomas’ burdensome load may have been lightened, slightly, by jettisoning weight in the form of early departures of four returning players; sophomores Will Wise, Nate Basalyga, Jarrel Lane and Jordan Wejnert have all left the team.

In his first season at the helm, after being named the interim head coach two days before the start of practice, Thomas injected life into a program that had barely been clinging to life support. Two days before the start of the conference tournament, Thomas was official named the head coach – dropping the interim tag – and rewarded with a contract extension.

Two days later, the same Retrievers squad that had spent the last three seasons giving up by the first media timeout, out-worked, out-hustled and out-fought third-seeded Hartford to pull off a 69-62 upset in the Quarterfinal. A day later, running on heart, the sixth-seeded Retrievers showed more grit and guts in their 85-72 semifinal loss to Vermont than they had during their previous three seasons combined.

The final horn of the semifinals marked the end of the careers of seniors Ryan Cook – the team’s heart and soul, leading scorer, best player and hardest worker all rolled into in one –Brian Neller – a long-range sniper who, along with Cook, comprised the teams lone true shooters – and forward Adrian Satchell – who enjoyed a renaissance in his one-season under Thomas.

Now Thomas and assistant coaches (and former UMBC players) Jay Greene and John Zito were faced with the daunting task of trying to overhaul an undermanned – and drastically under talented – roster. (more…)

Refuse to Lose

Sunday, March 10th, 2013
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UMBC head coach and the Retrievers bench exploded when senior guard Brian Neller drilled a dagger-three with 1:16 remaining to seal sixth-seeded UMBC’s upset win over three-seed Hartford (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Albany, New York) – With 1:13 remaining, UMBC head coach Aki Thomas knelt on the edge of the court, pumped both his fists and let out a mighty roar that rose above the din of the crowd and ricocheted off the far walls of SEFCU Arena.

For the better part of a decade, emotional outbursts – tantrums, tirades and all manner of explosions – emanating from the Retrievers head coach have been common place on the UMBC sidelines.

But nothing like this.

Two days earlier, Thomas had been signed to a one-year contract and named the Retriever’s head coach, after spending the previous season – his first at the helm in Catonsville – wearing the “interim” tag. Now, he watched from the sidelines as senior sniper Brian Neller’s sixth three pointer of the night, a back-breaker from the right corner, found nothing but the bottom of the net, sealing the sixth-seeded Retrievers 69-62 upset of third-seed Hartford in the America East Tournament Quarterfinals.

What followed was a moment of pure euphoria and unadulterated joy. The Retrievers bench – downtrodden and defeated for the previous three seasons – followed their coach’s lead, leaping in excitement, embracing one another and bellowing towards the rafters.

“It’s never really been too much about me, it’s always been about the players and I always knew I was going to be okay. It’s always been for them – they’re the one that have been doing three tough seasons,” said Thomas after the game.

UMBC senior guards Ryan Cook and Brian Neller flat-out refused to watch their careers end on Saturday afternoon, willing the Retrievers to their first America East Tournament victory in four years. Playing in what could have been the final game of their careers, the duo put their team on their backs and combined for 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting.

Cook, who began his college career as a Division II walk-on before walking-on to his home-town team as a junior, was everywhere, pouring in a game-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting while playing frenetic defense. The 6’2” senior scored from everywhere on the court – step back jumpers, dizzying drives to the bucket, post-up hoops in the paint, while making one hustle play after the next. Cook single-handedly rattled off a 12-0 second half run, turning an eight-point deficit into a four-point lead. (more…)

All-Out Shootout

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Sponsored by Alex Lauritson-Lada and Liberty Concepts.

Founded in 2000, Liberty Concepts is a full service digital communications agency that specializes in helping create brands and develop online communities around them. A full service shop, Liberty Concepts has helped clients from discovery through execution.

UMBC forward Adrian Satchell (30) and guard Ryan Cook (12) battle with Boston University forward Dom Morris (15), Travis Robinson (24) and Nate Dieudonne (right foreground) as Terrier guard Zach Chionuma looks on (3) (Photo by Sam Perkins).

UMBC forward Adrian Satchell (30) and guard Ryan Cook (12) battle with Boston University forward Dom Morris (15), Travis Robinson (24) and Nate Dieudonne (right foreground) as Terrier guard Zach Chionuma looks on (3) (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Boston, MA) – Forwards Dom Morris and Chase Plummer did their best Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo impressions on a wind-swept winter afternoon in Boston. Case Gymnasium stood in for the O.K. Corral and the Wild West deserts of Tombstone, Arizona, as and the Boston University Terriers and University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers engaged in an all-out shootout on Saturday.

Morris led six Terriers in double-figures, scoring a career-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds to lead the Terriers to an 81-75 win.

“I think we were doing a really good job offensively – for the most part – getting what we wanted but we just weren’t able to get stops in the second half,” said UMBC interim head coach Aki Thomas.

“We’re trying to get our guys to understand the importance of playing their best night in and night out and tonight we just didn’t have it,” said Terriers second year head coach Joe Jones. “The silver lining is that we won the game and we made the plays that it took down the stretch to win the game.”

Boston University head coach Joe Jones was unhappy with the Terriers' lack of intensity and energy in Monday's 81-75 win (Photo by Sam Perkins)

Boston University head coach Joe Jones was unhappy with the Terriers’ lack of intensity and energy in Monday’s 81-75 win (Photo by Sam Perkins)

Boston University freshman point guard Maurice Watson Jr. scored 10 points while dishing out six assists to just one turnover, forward Malik Thomas scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds and freshman forward Nate Dieudonne scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in just 14 minutes off the bench. Guard D.J. Irving added 13 points and freshman gunner John Papale chipped in 11.

Plummer was brilliant for the Retrievers, shrugging off swarming double-teams to pour in 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, burying three triples and ripping down a game-high 11 rebounds.

“He’s quick: Once he gets the ball he’s turning. I know what he’s doing but by the time you react to it the ball is already in the air,” said Morris, a rival and nemesis of Plummer’s since their high school and AAU days.

Guard Ryan Cook added 15 points, six rebounds and three assists to just one turnover, hitting 6-of-9 shots and swishing all three of his three-point attempts. Senior guard Brian Neller scored 12 points, burying four bombs from long range and forward Adrian Satchell added 11 points and six rebounds.

Boston University shot a red-hot 51.7 percent from the floor (31-of-60), while UMBC shot an even hotter 52.5 percent from the floor (31-of-59) and a scorching 54.5 percent from behind the arc (12-of-22). The Retrievers dished out 17 assists to the Terriers 15. But the Terriers outscored the Retrievers 46-26 in the paint, committed just five turnovers on the day while forcing 12 Retrievers fumbles, and hit 15-of-20 free throws while UMBC attempted just two all game.

“There’s no need to talk about the free-throws because we didn’t guard anybody,” said Jones.

Fresh of an 85-80 overtime road win at Albany on Wednesday which saw Irving score six points in the final nine seconds of regulation, the Terriers appeared to be suffering from a hangover after Wednesday’s emotional high. After Cook opened the game with a lay-up, Thomas threw the ensuing unpressured inbounds away, leading to a Satchell lay-up. After Morris missed a bunny for the Terriers, Plummer drilled a three and UMBC led 7-0.

“The first possession, we go to take the ball out after they score – when that happens you’re just not ready to go,” said Jones. “Whether the Albany game – the overtime win, the emotional win – had anything to do with it, who knows, but the bottom line: We did not come out with the energy that it takes to be a great team. And that’s what we’re striving for.”

The Retrievers were selfless with the ball and stifling defending the perimeter, pushing their lead to 25-15 on a pull-up three by Cook with 7:09 left in the first.

UMBC freshman point guard Aaron Morgan pushes the ball in transition Saturday (Photo by Sam Perkins).

UMBC freshman point guard Aaron Morgan pushes the ball in transition Saturday (Photo by Sam Perkins).

But the Terriers woke up, rattling off 10 straight points over the next four minutes to tie the game, with Morris and Papale providing four points apiece during that stretch.

The Retrievers responded with brilliant ball movement, as Plummer threaded the needle with a left handed hook pass from the paint past three defenders to Neller, who banged a three. Point guard Quinton Jones found Neller again with a nifty no-look pass out of a loose ball scramble for another deep three with 56 seconds remaining and the Retreivers went into the half leading 32-31. (more…)

Terriers top Retrievers 81-75

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Sponsored by Alex Lauritson-Lada and Liberty Concepts. Founded in 2000, Liberty Concepts is a full service digital communications agency that specializes in helping create brands and develop online communities around them. A full service shop, Liberty Concepts has helped clients from discovery through execution.

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Boston University point guard Maurice Watson Jr., corrals a second-half pass with UMBC point guard Quinton Jones in hot pursuit (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Boston, MA) – Offense was at a premium and defense hard to find on Saturday as the Boston University Terriers out-dueled the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers 81-75 in an all-out shootout between two run-and-gun offenses.

“We came out with no energy right from the start,” said BU head coach Joe Jones. “The silver lining is that we won the game and we made the plays that it took down the stretch to win the game.”

“Bottom line, we give up 50 points in the second half and that’s pretty much the tale of the game,” said UMBC interim head coach Aki Thomas.

Dom Morris led six Terriers in double figures, scoring a career-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. Point guard Maurice Watson Jr. scored 10 points and dished out six assists to just one turnover, forward Malik Thomas scored 10 points to go with eight rebounds, freshman forward Nate Dieudonne scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, guard D.J. Irving added 13 points and guard John Papale chipped in 11.

Chase Plummer scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds and was generally the best player on the floor. Guard Ryan Cook scored 15 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-3 from behind the arc, and added six rebounds and three assists to just one turnover. Senior guard Brian Neller scored 12 points, on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown and forward Adrian Satchell added 11 points and six rebounds.

The game was played at a run-and-gun break-neck pace, with both team’s shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and posting a positive assist to turnover ratio. The game featured 10 ties and seven lead changes. (more…)

Season Preview Part 8: Preseason First Team All-Conference

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Mike Black, Albany, Sr., PG, 6’ 180:
2011-12 stats:
13.4 PPG, 4.3 APG, 109.5 ORtg
Black is the best point guard in the league, plain and simple. He quarterbacks the offense, makes precision passes on a dime, attacks the hoop ferociously, finishes in traffic, can drain it from deep. He defends. He’s a leader, a workhorse and a warrior. He’s the total package, and will likely be one of the top candidates for conference Player of the Year honors. Black makes the Great Danes go on both ends of the floor, and with the loss of Gerardo Suero and Logan Aronhalt, will need to be even bigger this season for the ‘Danes. He’s up to the task.

OBW Preseason Player of the Year/Defensive Player of the Year
Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook, R-Sr., F, 6’5” 230
2011-12 stats:
7.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 113.7 ORtg, 3.4 APG, 1.7 SPG
“The Bill Laimbeer of America East basketball,” as Albany head coach Will Brown likes to say, Brenton is THE enforcer in the league. Arguably the toughest and most physical player – and certainly the most hated among opposing players and fans – Brenton plays balls-out for 40 minutes a game. He’s big, strong, fast, extremely athletic, a terror on the glass and a tornado on defense. Did we mention he’s physical? Brenton has spent his first three seasons of eligibility doing all of the little things for the Seawolves, while doing it all on the defensive end, glass, and running the offense. Now the Seawolves need the point/power forward to step it up and score; with good footwork and several low-post moves, he has the ability, he needs the mindset. Brenton guards the opposition’s best offensive player, regardless of position, and changes the game defensively. His Basketball IQ and instincts are off the charts.

Alasdair Fraser, Maine, Jr., F/C, 6’7” 260
2011-12 Stats:
12.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG
The Scottish-Wall/One-Man Army, Fraser is an immovable object once he establishes positioning on the low-blocks. Surprisingly athletic for such a broad player, Fraser has the best all-around low-post game in the conference, combining an array of low-post moves, tremendous strength, rebounding and play-side defense. He also has a soft touch and was near-automatic from mid-range when left open, so defenses can’t sag off him away from the hoop. Despite a marked increase in touches and workload from his freshman to sophomore season, Fraser’s offensive efficiency held steady. He’s the rare big man who will give you 28-30 effective and impactful minutes every night on both ends of the floor. While not a help-side defender, he routinely sends his own man’s shot packing when challenged. A huge match-up problem in the league, the only defensive strategy likely to work on him is active ball denial. He also loves haggis – seriously, I’m not kidding – so that’s gotta count for something.

Chase Plummer, UMBC, Jr., F, 6’6” 230
2011-12 stats:
15.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 34.4 Poss%, 180 FTA
Puh-puh-puh-puh-puh-puh-Plummer (Terry Crews Voice)! Plummer put up serious scoring and rebounding numbers last season despite being swarmed every time he touched the ball and getting hammered around the hoop. Plummer shouldered the heaviest load in the conference, due almost completely to the lack of any sort of supporting cast (especially in the front court). He finished second in the league in free-throw attempts, and first among returning players. He also crashes the glass at both ends, can score in a variety of ways around the hoop and behind the arc, and vastly improved his 3-point and free throw shooting from his freshman season. While his field goal percentage was poor for a front court player, it was largely due to the double and triple teams he faced on a nightly basis. His production was all the more impressive considering that he didn’t have a true point guard on the floor for the entire season. While UMBC had a terrible season last year, in many games Plummer was the only reason UMBC was even competitive. He also made noticeable strides down the stretch last season in decreasing his turnovers – the biggest flaw in his game – cutting his turnover rate by about 40 percent in his final seven games. With the addition of center Brett Roseboro and point guard Aaron Morgan, teams will no longer be able to double-team him the moment he steps off the bus, and his efficiency and shooting percentage are likely to improve drastically as a result. The safest bet of any player in the league to finish in the top 5 in scoring this season.

Brian Voelkel, Vermont, Jr., F, 6’6” 230
2011-12 stats:
4.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 2.6 A/TO
He can’t shoot, run, jump, or move in any sort of agile or speedy manner, but Voelkel does literally everything else on the floor and has literally dominated games without scoring a point. A point/power forward, Voelkel owns the glass and has an insanely high basketball IQ. He is in all likelihood both the best passer and the best rebounder in the conference, which is a truly rare combination. Voelkel possesses every single intangible a player can have in basketball, and is what makes the Catamounts go. The quarterback on offense and defense, he’s gritty, physical, tough, and plays tremendously hard every night. He is a tremendous help-side defender who makes up for physical limitations with tremendous anticipation.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Ugly play-in game was all that is good about the America East

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

On Thursday night, two teams boasting a combined record of five wins and 53 loses met in an empty, echo-filled arena in West Hartford. In the shadows on the outskirts of the State capital, the two lowest ranked teams in one of the lowest ranked conferences in the country faced off in front of the deserted chair backs and barren bleachers in the play-in game of the America East tournament.

The game featured air-balls and missed free-throws, blown dunks, blown leads and flagrant fouls.

The match-up between eight-seeded UMBC and ninth-seeded Binghamton was some of the ugliest basketball imaginable.

It was beautiful.

UMBC forward Jake Wasco battles Ben Dickinson and Jabrille Williams for a rebound (courtesy of America East Athletic Communications)

Thursday night’s game was all that remains good in the America East Conference – one of the last bastions of true amateurism in the increasingly dark and seedy world of college basketball. Two teams with seemingly nothing left to play for, refusing to let their seasons end. Powered by guts and heart, the Retrievers and Bearcats left everything they had on the floor, for just one more day toiling in basketball obscurity.

When the dust cleared, the Bearcats, who had crawled through a 1-28 record in the regular season, celebrated their 73 to 67 overtime win as if they had just won the league title.

Jake Wasco, a senior forward for UMBC who lost 94 games in his career, and tasted victory just 13 times during his final three-seasons, left the floor with tears in his eyes. He didn’t want it to end.

None of them did.

“It’s about winning one game and buying another,” remarked Binghamton head coach Mark Macon after the game. “To come in there where they could have put their heads down and walked away… it’s about the team and not myself.” (more…)

Dog eat dog: Terriers trounce Retrievers 83-48. BU moves to 7-1 in conference play, UMBC falls to 2-6

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

(Boston, MA) — UMBC guard Jerrell Lane drove down the court, pulled up from behind the arc, and fired up an uncontested 3. As the final buzzer sounded, Lane’s wounded duck struck nothing but the bottom of the backboard.

It was the Retrievers season in a nutshell.

Boston University romped to an 83-48 win Tuesday night over visiting UMBC in a laugher between two teams headed in polar-opposite directions.

The host Terriers hit on all-cylinders, posting season highs in points (83), rebounds (45), blocks (nine), and point-differential (35), while emptying the bench with roughly five minutes remaining in game time. The win moves Boston University to 7-1 in America East play, the program’s best start to the conference slate since the 2003-2004 season.

“I was very pleased with our overall effort, and we got significant contributions from a number of guys,” said Terriers head coach Joe Jones, who saw 11 different Terriers score.

For the Retrievers, who fall to 2-6 in conference play and 3-17 on the season, the wheels appear to have fallen off. UMBC has now lost two straight games by 35 or more points and has fallen in six of their last seven.

“[BU] certainly came out and pushed us around, and I don’t think we responded very well – it’s a little disappointing and a little discouraging,” said UMBC head coach Randy Monroe. “It’s college basketball; you have to compete… we didn’t do it.” (more…)

Week in Review: Nov 15-21

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The first full week of America East hoops has come to an end. So what did we learn? That the league is still far more of question marks than answers. Can New Hampshire and Stony Brook overcome key injuries on top of inexperience? Is Binghamton going to be the train wreck on the court this season that was predicted last season? Will UMBC be less dreadful than last year? Will this be the year that Albany turns things around? Can Maine make the move from surprising upstart to true contender? Is Hartford going to turn it around? We still don’t know – only time will tell. However, what we do know is that Boston University and Vermont look legit, and Maine could join them in the “contender” bracket. Without further ado, here’s a look back at the previous week in America East hoops.

(more…)