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The 1996 UMass team should have won it all.

 

     This site that I'm lucky to write for is usually all about the beloved Boston Celtics, with a few pieces about other special players and teams. If you grew up in the 90s, UMass Basketball was at its peak. The greatest team they put together was the 96 Final Four team. The NCAA may have"taken it away" but this writer has the VHS tapes and memories to prove it! This team should have won it all! 

    Let's look at their coach, to each his own with opinions about him. For this writer he brought so much success, enjoyment, and memories to UMass hoops. He made UMass a power house! They had some of the most hard working and exciting teams in the 90s! John Cali[ari was a hard worker himself, which was evident in his teams! 

     Now we dive into the starting five. Marcus Camby could do it all on the floor. He could post you up, knock down midrange shots, and when need be go get that Alley OOP and bring the hurt to the rim! Defensively he could block any shot and usually make his opponent look silly trying to score on him. Let's not forget how well Marcus was rebounding the ball! Dana Dingle was a Master of all trades out there. He was a good defensive player, could rebound and when need be score. He was also a good passer. Just an all around great college player! 

      On to Donta Bright who when they needed buckets would go and do so. He always had a knack for hitting and making shots for the Minutemen. Another all around player who could D it up. He was also not afraid to rebound and pass the rock. Let's look at Edgar Padilla who was as cool as the other side of the pillow. At point guard he distributed the rock to his teammates with ease. He when called upon could hit the three ball and get to the hoop. Another hard working defender on this UMass team. Finally we look at Carmelo Travieso who's three point shot was a sweet as mamas homemade baklava! This writer remembers watching his shot and how beautiful and deadly it was. He could also get to the hoop and wasn't afraid to D it up either. Honorable mentions that team include Tyrone Weeks and Charlton Clarke. 

     This entire team was selfless and willing to do whatever it took to win. Sadly they ran into Kentucky in the Final Four, which should have never happened. These two teams should have met in the championship. UMass came out very nervous in the game and definitely didn't play their best. This writer couldn't eat dinner that night. It's amazing that a team with one NBA prospect went toe to toe with basically an NBA roster, guys like Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Tony Delk, Ron Mercer and a few others. 

     There will never ever be another period in time where UMass Basketball will be at this magnitude. The hard working Refuse to Lose attitude was how they played each and every game! I will stick by my claim that this team should have won it all. 
 

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