Derrick Gordon's Debut For UMass Basketball a Mixed Bag, But Potential is There

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The transfer from Western Kentucky was good, but not great in his first game for UMass.

Derrick Gordon was heralded as an impact transfer for the UMass Minutemen and even if his first performance was less-than spectacular, he showed a lot of the potential that made him such a ballyhooed import from Western Kentucky. In 36 minutes of UMass' season-opening win over Boston College, Gordon scored seven points with four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Gordon scored the first basket for UMass, converting one his steals into a fast-break layup, but after that things quieted down. He wasn't making the floaters in the lane or the jumpers and some of his plays at the rim failed to roll in, but the fact that he was putting himself in those positions was good enough for Derek Kellogg.

"He's a finisher, even if he didn't finish the way he's accustomed to today. But he's still getting into basketball shape," Kellogg said. "He was probably an inch or two lower than he had been, so that's something we'll have to take into consideration. But I love having him on our team."

Gordon made several plays by just out-working his opponents, whether it was diving on the floor or crashing the offensive glass to help his teammates. One play that stuck out was very early on when a loose ball -- one that was clearly going out of bounds -- started heading towards the end line and Gordon laid out from about the three-point line and slid all the way into the photographers below the basket.

Effort plays. That is what UMass needs from Gordon and that is what he seems willing to provide.

"He's a tough customer and a competitor," Kellogg said. "He has the upside to get better as the season goes on."

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