UMass notebook: Men’s basketball will participate in Diamond Head Classic, hockey will host Michigan in 2023

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-11-2023 3:45 PM

Aloha, UMass.

The men’s basketball program will participate in the 2023 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on December 21, 22, and 24, the school announced Thursday. It’s an eight-team event that also features Power 5 schools Georgia Tech and TCU, mid-major stalwart Saint Mary’s, former Atlantic 10 foe Temple as well as the host Hawai’i, Nevada and Old Dominion.

The Horned Frogs and Gaels reached the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament, while Nevada fell in the opening round.

UMass has never participated in the Diamond Head Classic before, but it’ll be coach Frank Martin’s third trip. He won it with Kansas State in 2011 and finished third with South Carolina in 2013.

The Minutemen won the Myrtle Beach Invitational last year, and the Diamond Head Classic is also an ESPN event.

Each team will play three games, one each day, and the two remaining undefeated teams will meet for the championship Christmas Eve. UMass could match up with a former teammate after Tafara Gapare left for Georgia Tech in the transfer portal.

RETURN TRIP – The UMass hockey team will host Michigan as part of its 2023-24 home schedule, according to a report by the Michigan Daily’s Connor Earegood.

The Wolverines, who swept the Minutemen at Yost Arena in January 2022, will be in the Mullins Center Oct. 14 and 15. Michigan reached the national championship game last season.

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PICK ME UP – Another NHL draft pick is heading to Amherst. The Minutemen announced Cameron O’Neill will join the program for the 2023-24 season.

The Ottawa Senators selected the Odenton, Maryland, native with the 143rd overall pick (fifth round) in the 2022 NHL draft. He registered 28 points with nine goals with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm last season.

“Cam has always been a player that can put the puck in the net and is very effective from the top of the circles to the goal line. We feel that he fits our identity well as he is a highly competitive player that plays with an edge. He has the potential to be a power forward who can score similar to how Mitchell Chaffee did for us before signing with the Minnesota Wild,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said in a release.

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