Minutemen Add Lynch For 2007-08

By Josh Herwitt - September 10, 2007

Travis Ford, say hello to Tyrell Lynch.

The UMass head coach got some good news Monday when Lynch enrolled at the Amherst, Mass. school after originally signing a National Letter of Intent with Auburn last spring.

But the 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward never enrolled at Auburn after failing to qualify academically with NCAA regulations, according to school officials, which allows him to join the Minutemen as a walk-on this season.

"We are thrilled to have a player as talented as Tyrell joining the UMass basketball family," said Ford. "Tyrell is a terrific young man, who is a very skilled baseketball player. He reminds me a lot of my former college teammate at Kentucky, Jamal Mashburn.

"Tyrell is a big man who can do a lot on the basketball court in terms of offense with a great shooting touch and defense with rebounding and blocked shots. I look forward to working with Tyrell every day as we seek to continue the successful rise of UMass basketball."

Lynch spent the last year in prep school at the Laurinburg Institute (N.C.), where he tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. Even half of that would certainly be something Ford could use this season.

After leading the Minutemen to the Atlantic 10 co-regular season championship last year with a 24-9 record, Ford will have his work cut out for him without the services of All-American Stephane Lasme (the No. 46 overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft now with the Golden State Warriors via a trade made by the New Jersey Nets) and last season's leading-scorer Rashaun Freeman, who averaged 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in comparison to Lasme's 13.5 and 9.5 (Lasme also shot a team-high 61.1 percent from the floor last season).

But that's why athletic director John McCutcheon gave Ford a five-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season in the first place, right?

In other news...

Villanova came out with its complete 2007-08 schedule today, and Jay Wright isn't messing around.

Especially after seeing the way Syracuse got snubbed out of a NCAA Tournament bid last year, he knows he can't play a bunch of cupcakes at home early in the season.

So Wright scheduled some quality competition for the months of November and December, taking his team to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando where the Wildcats will meet UCF and either George Mason or Kansas State. How exciting would it be to see Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Bill Walker and Michael Beasley all on the same court? That could be something to look forward to with some Thanksgiving turkey.

So could the Wildcats' Dec. 6 meeting with LSU in the Big East/SEC Invitational at the Wachovia Center. The Tigers (17-15 in 2006) return juniors Tasmin Mitchell, who finished second in scoring and rebounding behind Big Baby last season with 14.5 points and 5.9 boards, and Terry Martin, a competitant scorer who averaged 10.5 in 2006-07, after a dissappointing season with no postseason bid following a run to the Final Four in 2005.

Like Wright, Baylor coach Scott Drew is also upping the anty with non-conference contests against the likes of Arkansas, South Carolina, Wichita State, Washington State in the newly-created Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series and possibly Notre Dame or Georgia Tech in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Paradise Jam.

"We've put together what we consider to be a very tough schedule and we've done so for various reasons, the most important being to prepare us for our Big 12 season," Drew said. "Additionally, we have several games that are very attractive for our fans."

The two SEC schools and Pac-10 member on the slate mark the first time that the Bears have scheduled three non-conference games against BCS teams since the 1988-89 season, and that number could be upped to four or five if Baylor ends up facing the Yellow Jackets or Fighting Irish.

Meanwhile, a SEC school that isn't exactly taking the high road is two-time national champion Florida. While it's somewhat understandable considering that Billy Donovan lost his entire starting five from last year, the Gators aren't exactly straining themselves with Rutgers, Ohio State, Florida State and Temple as their best non-conference matchups.

The showdown with the Buckeyes is unquestionably the most-anticipated date on the schedule for UF, who opens its season Nov. 9 at home against North Dakota State before finishing up non-conference play with Temple and High Point, but the SEC's best in Tennessee and Kentucky will provide significant tests for a team that boasts seven freshmen, three sophomores and just one junior in Walter Hodge.

It's that kind of youth that has the Gators welcoming walk-on candidates to try out for the upcoming season in hope of finding another big man that can play the four or five, something that never was an issue with Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard taking up space in the paint during last season's title run.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 05:34 PM on September 10, 2007
Comments (8)


I once played for Florida. I wasn't so good.

I remember you! We played in the same backcourt! Remember when we were supposed to be good? Yeah, that didn't work out. Go start a Fortune 500 company. Go Gators!

I also played for the Gators. Roberson scared me and I once got lost in Walsh's hair. I moved to Spain to become a bullfighter and was never heard from again.

I thought I'd average 20 points and 10 rebounds my senior season. I came in slightly under that, but A-Rob, Walshy and Dutch Hater, guess what? Where's your rings?

I transferred but I still had the best shot in school history. Aw hell nah!

Walshy! Dude!

Just because you came out early, didn't get drafted and was cut by the Heat is no reason to be so down on yourself.

I love the hair!!!

P.S.: Who would have ever thought I was going to be like a billion times better than you!

Who am I and why did I leave UF?

Why do I look like Ruffio from Hook and why did I transfer to Ole Miss? I thought Ole Miss was some hot old lady, not some school in the middle of Mississippi. Take me back Billy!!!

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