Alex Gonzalez, UMass Basketball, And Atlantic City

First, I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Second, after three days away, I am back in the saddle. I spent the last three days in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

For those of you who have never been, it’s quite the experience.

I am going to channel my inner geekdom here and describe Atlantic City the same way Obi-Wan Kenobi describes Mos Eisley Spaceport in Star Wars (the original Stars Wars, not the crappy three movies that came out 25 years later). “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

Atlantic City or “AC” as it is so commonly referred to is filled with just the depths of humanity. It’s gritty, it’s grimy, and you might leave there with less money in your pocket, but feeling overall better about yourself.

The main reason my friends and I went was to see the UMass Basketball team play in the Legends Classic. Michigan State, Rutgers, and Florida also played in this four-team, mini tournament.

Kellogg needs to run a better offense

I knew this would be a rebuilding year for the Minuteman because they are starting two freshman, two sophomores, and a senior, but I am very concerned with what I saw over the two days.

I have no idea what on earth they are trying to accomplish on offense. I know coach Derek Kellogg is trying to run the Dribble, Drive, Motion offense, but it’s just not working right now.

Dribbling around the perimeter for 25 seconds, trying to take your defender one-on-one, and then chucking up a wild shot with two seconds on the shot clock is not an offense.

I have no idea what it is.

And here is another thing. In my 20-plus years of watching college basketball, I have never seen a team go two games in a row without setting up a play for their forwards or center.

The strength of this team is their shooting guards and if you don’t give any threat of an inside game, then your guards aren’t going to get open looks. It’s like in the NFL when a team plays eight guys in the box.

Occasionally you have to throw the ball deep to loosen up the defense. Terrell Vinson is a top-50 recruit. USE HIM!!!

Staying with the Massachusetts theme, let’s talk about SS Alex Gonzalez signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. Gonzalez signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract the night before Thanksgiving.

I would say this was a seven out of ten on the surprised scale.

When the Red Sox declined Gonzalez’s $6 million option for 2010 earlier in the month, I was almost certain the Red Sox would bring him back for 2010 on a reduced salary.

But Gonzalez signed with the Blue Jays and once again the Red Sox will be looking for a new starting shortstop in 2010. Its seems like every year the Red Sox are looking for a new shortstop.

They are like the New York Mets looking for third baseman until David Wright showed up.

The most logical choice to replace Gonzalez is Marco Scutaro, who is a free agent. I said it before and I’ll say it again–I am not sold on Scutaro. And I am really not sold on him playing in Boston.

He has Julio Lugo Part Two written all over him. My gut feeling is the Red Sox will only sign Scutaro if some trade possibilities don’t work out.

I think the Red Sox make a run at Arizona Diamondbacks’ SS Stephen Drew. They could buy low on Drew who had a down year in 2009, they have the pitching prospects Arizona wants, and it would give the younger Drew a chance to play with his older brother JD.

For those wondering about Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox plan on having him start the season in Triple-A.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


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