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New Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ready To Get To Work

By: Michael Chin, Sports Editor

After a nearly month-long search, LIU introduced the newest head coach of its men’s basketball program in a press conference on April 18 at the Barclays Center – Derek Kellogg, the former head coach of the men’s squad at the University of Massachusetts.

Kellogg in his introductory press conference said, “I’m looking forward to building this into a top level of national program,” said Kellogg, who becomes the 14th head coach in Blackbird history.

The 14th head coach in LIU Brooklyn basketball’s history, Derek Kellogg speaking in his introductory press conference announcement at the Barclays Center. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics Media Relations

Kellogg replaces Jack Perri, whose contract was surprisingly not renewed after a 20-win season and a second place in the Northeast Conference before ending with a heartbreaking 69-68 loss to Robert Morris University in the first round of the NEC Tournament.

After the firing of Perri, the coaching search became a national sports story as two days later; LIU was reportedly interested in the NBA Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown for the position. However, it was then reported that Brown’s interest for the position was one-sided.

According to ESPN, Kellogg and LIU agreed to a five-year deal.

Jump Ball: New Beginnings

Kellogg was dismissed in March after nine seasons with the University of Massachusetts. In that time, he compiled a 155-137 record at his alma mater.

Kellogg had three-consecutive 20- win seasons from 2011 to 2014 and also led the Minutemen to one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.

He also has been named in a civil lawsuit that alleges he and former assistant Lou Roe intimidated her in an effort to keep her quiet about potential damaging information about the team and staff. The suit says that information includes the use of banned substances by members of the team, domestic violence allegations against some members of the staff, and the quashing of criminal complaints against players.

“I’m excited to have a new coaching job,” said Kellogg. “I think this is a great opportunity for me and the program to kind of take that next jump.”

During the press conference, the Director of LIU Brooklyn Athletics Brad Cohen also quoted the legendary college head coach John Calipari, “The future is bright for LIU with Derek Kellogg at the helm. I have witnessed rsthand his heart and love of the game as a player and a coach.”

From 1991 to 1995, Kellogg played under the legendary Umass head coach Jack Calipari as a point guard while, ironically, wearing No. 14 during his college basketball playing days. In that time, the Minutemen advanced to the NCAA tournament each year. Kellogg, who was also the team captain for a two-year period, he currently ranks fifth in assists (453) and seventh in three-pointers (138) all-time at UMass.

A Message To The Player

Several members of next season’s team were also attended the announcement. At one point, Kellogg addressed them directly. “I want to let you guys know that I’m here 24/7,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to building on what you guys have accomplished in the past and trying to make things even better.”

The Game Plan For This New Brand

In an interview with Seawanhaka following the formal press conference, Kellogg, 43, offered some insight on what he vows would be an up-tempo game on the court. “We look to press for forty minutes and put pressure on the opponents. We’re going to play relentless defense and we’re going to rebound the basketball at a high level,” he said.

“We will dive for every loose ball. We will take every charge. We will go do verticals at every drive and we will win basketball games.”

High Expectations

Kellogg says that his main goal is to lead the Blackbirds back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. “I’m going to have an unrelenting focus to make this program contend for NEC tournament bids every year,” said Kellogg. “To be the top of the Northeast Conference and get to the NCAA Tournament, that is our goal as a team.”

(From left to right) The Director of LIU Brooklyn Athletics Brad Cohen, Mrs. and Mr. Kellogg, and LIU President Kimberly Cline at the Barclays Center when Derek Kellogg was introduced as the 14th LIU men’s basketball head coach. Photo courtesy of LIU Brooklyn Athletics.

From 2013 to 2016, the former UMass head coach saw a 100 percent increase in their home attendance for basketball games. Kellogg hopes for the same at LIU in the near future. “My goal will be, someday is to walk into a sold out Barclays Center and playing on national television against a top-notch college program and winning,” said Kellogg.

When asked, if Kellogg feels any pressure to start winning sooner rather then later, especially LIU is coming off a 20-win season, “yeah, I think there’s always a process of a new coach taking over and looking at the roster, analyzing every year,” said Kellogg.

“My goal is to win every year. I don’t think we do this to come in second.”

Getting To Work

Recruiting season has already started, so Kellogg has a lot of work to do in building a competitive team for next season. There are many holes to fill for the season ahead since he’s losing top players with graduating seniors forward Jerome Frink and guard Iverson Fleming, and redshirt junior Nura Zanna transferring to the University of Houston.

He will also have to try to retain two young freshmen point guards. Jashaun Agosto, who declared for the NBA Draft, but did not hire an agent, leaving the door open for his return next season. The other freshman point guard is Julian Batts, who recently requested his release to transfer.

“It’s the recruiting season right now, so we have to get to work kind of quickly to try to get involved in some of these recruit battle,” said Kellogg.

“There’s no waiting. There’s no time to relax. We are looking to make noise immediately this coming season now.”

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Category: Basketball, Sports, Uncategorized