Derek Kellogg

Massachusetts’ Trey Davis drives to the basket as Providence’s Rodney Bullock, right, defends in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Amherst, Mass. Providence won 90-66. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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WATCH LIVE: UMass visits La Salle in A-10 opener for both on NBCSN

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Four more teams will begin Atlantic 10 conference play Sunday afternoon, two of which being the UMass Minutemen and the La Salle Explorers. The Minutemen and Explorers face off at Tom Gola Arena at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in a game that can be seen on NBCSN, and it’s also available of NBC Sports Live Extra.

Derek Kellogg’s Minutemen enter league play having won two of their last three games, and they’re led by the experienced guard triumvirate of Jabarie Hinds, Trey Davis and Donte Clarke. Those three combine to average nearly 53 points per game for UMass, which is averaging 80 points per game on the season.

WATCH LIVE: UMass vs. La Salle on NBC Sports Live Extra

La Salle will counter with one of the nation’s highest scorers in junior guard Jordan Price, who’s currently averaging 22.8 points per game. Fellow guards Cleon Roberts and Johnnie Shuler are also scoring in double figures, serving as supplementary scorers to the high-scoring Price.

La Salle’s lost five straight games, with their lack of depth being an issue, and UMass will look to exploit that today. This game can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking here.

UMass unveils special uniforms for Wednesday’s game
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With this season marking the 20th anniversary of their trip to the Final Four, UMass will honor former head coach John Calipari Wednesday night at halftime of their game against New Orleans. The school will raise a banner in Calipari’s honor and the current Kentucky head coach will be in attendance at Mullins Center as his current team is won’t play its next game until Saturday against Ohio State in Brooklyn.

Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the Minutemen will wear special jerseys for the game, bringing back the cursive “UMass” script worn by Calipari’s 1995-96 team.

Of course Wednesday’s festivities do have some objectors, as UMass’ trip to the Final Four was eventually vacated after it was found that Marcus Camby, that season’s winner of the Naismith and Wooden awards, received money from an agent. Calipari was found by the NCAA to have done nothing wrong himself, but that hasn’t stopped some from questioning whether or not the coach should be honored by UMass.

Earlier this year there was a similar situation at Memphis, where the school announced that it would honor Calipari for his accomplishments there before changing their minds the following day as a result of fans voicing their displeasure. Calipari, who won five Atlantic 10 regular season and five Atlantic 10 tournament titles while at UMass, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

Current UMass head coach Derek Kellogg played for Calipari at the school from 1991-95.

Calipari gives recruiting pitch for UMass

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John Calipari’s is one of 11 new members being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield. Calipari began the day of his enshrinement 30 minutes up the road at UMass, where his head coaching career began 27 years ago.

On Friday morning, the university hosted Calipari for an honorary breakfast, celebrating the coach’s achievements. Calipari made a gesture of his own, providing a recruiting pitch on behalf of his old school after taking a tour of the basketball team’s brand-new practice facilities.

“I’ve gotta show you UMass’ new practice facility. One of the best I’ve seen,” Calipari posted on his Facebook and Twitter. “If you don’t go to Kentucky you should be going to UMass.”

Even after Calipari left UMass in 1996 to take over the New Jersey Nets, he remained connected to the school. Both of his daughters attended UMass, and the team’s current head coach, Derek Kellogg, was a former player and assistant coach.

UMass gave Calipari his first head coaching job in 1988. He started out roaming the sidelines of Curry Hicks Cage, the 4,000-seat arena that opened in 1931. The university opened its current home, the Mullins Center, in 1993. It served as the only construction Calipari witnessed in his time in Amherst.

“There was one new building in my eight years there, the Mullins Center,” Calipari said on Thursday at the Hall of Fame press conference. “Not a classroom building, not a dorm, nada. The Mullins Center. And it was a dogfight to get that thing built.

“Derek [Kellogg] just got a practice facility. I was in the cage with squirrels and birds when I was there. The lights would hum so loud you couldn’t hear the game.”

UMass will retire a jersey for Calipari during this upcoming season, which is the 20th anniversary of the Minutemen reaching the Final Four.