Derek Kellogg on Monday scored his biggest recruiting victory since he took over as UMass’s head coach in 2008, as guard De’Jon Jarreau and power forward Brison Gresham issued verbal commitments to the Minutemen.
Jarreau and Greshman comprise a so-called package deal. They attend McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans and play for the grassroots program Elfrid Payton Elite. The duo arranged visits together and decided on the same list of seven schools (Creighton, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Tulane, UMass and USC) before narrowing their options to UMass and Miami. Jarreau and Gresham visited Miami earlier in September, then tripped to Amherst this weekend before announcing their decision.
Jarreau, 6'5" and 180 pounds, is the higher rated prospect. He is renowned for his ability to slash to the basket and operate out of pick-and-rolls and could play point guard or shooting guard for Kellogg. “Jarreau is on the verge of being a steal for whichever school lands him,” wrote Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi in August. “He can play on or off the ball, is a slick off-the-dribble scorer and he's buttoned up his outside shooting.”
Gresham, meanwhile, impressed scouts on the Elite Youth Basketball League circuit this summer with his motor and ability to finish around the rim. He and Jarreau are ranked No. 132 and No. 39, respectively, in the latest version of the Rivals150.
Jarreau and Gresham join three-star guard Unique McLean as prospects in the class of 2016 to pledge to the Minutemen.
The class has the potential to elevate a program that has not finished better than sixth in the Atlantic 10 standings during Kellogg’s tenure and has posted one NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. Jarreau should earn major minutes in the backcourt right away, and he’ll be joined by Canisius guard transfer Zach Lewis to help replace rising senior guards Jabarie Hinds and Trey Davis.
Minutemen fans will need to wait a year before Jarreau and Gresham arrive on campus, but their decisions raise expectations for what the program can achieve in 2016-17. In the bigger picture, Jarreau and Gresham picking UMass is a positively shocking development; recruiting packages this highly touted rarely choose to play in the A-10. UMass beat out a host of high-major programs for the duo.
Jarreau and Gresham revealed their college destination just hours after guard Breein Tyree, who had UMass in his final three, committed to Ole Miss.