UMass men’s basketball completes recruiting class with four additions

  • Noah Fernandes, who played for Wichita State this past season, officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. The transfer guard will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2021-22. COURTESY UMASS

  • Noah Fernandes, who played for Wichita State this past season, officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. The transfer guard will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2021-22. COURTESY UMASS

  • Noah Fernandes, who played for Wichita State this past season, was officially welcomed to UMass on Wednesday. The transfer guard will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2021-22. COURTESY UMASS

  • NOAH FERNANDEZ

  • Center Mark Gasperini, who played for American last season, was officially welcomed to UMass on Wednesday. Gasperini is a graduate transfer. COURTESY UMASS

  • Center Mark Gasperini, who played for American last season, officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Gasperini is a graduate transfer. COURTESY UMASS

  • Center Mark Gasperini, who played for American last season, officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Gasperini is a graduate transfer. COURTESY UMASS

  • Center Mark Gasperini, who played for American last season, officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Gasperini is a graduate transfer. COURTESY UMASS

  • MARK GASPERINI

  • Cairo McCrory officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. McCrory played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Cairo McCrory officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. McCrory played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Cairo McCrory officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. McCrory played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Dyondre Dominguez officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Dominguez played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Dyondre Dominguez officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Dominguez played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Dyondre Dominguez officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Dominguez played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. COURTESY UMASS

  • Javohn Garcia officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Garcia played at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. COURTESY UMASS

  • Javohn Garcia officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Garcia played at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. COURTESY UMASS

  • Javohn Garcia officially signed with UMass on Wednesday. Garcia played at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. COURTESY UMASS

  • RONNIE DEGRAY III

Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2020 4:33:33 PM
Modified: 4/16/2020 4:33:22 PM

There were no surprises on signing day for the UMass men’s basketball team.

The Minutemen officially welcomed four new players to the program on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period.

Woodstock Academy teammates Ronnie DeGray III and Dyondre Dominguez signed their National Letters of Intent. Freshman point guard Noah Fernandez, who transferred from Wichita State, and senior center Mark Gasperini, a graduate transfer from American, were also added to the roster.

“It’s a very talented group,” coach Matt McCall said in a statement. “We needed this class to elevate and help get us to the top of league, and we feel like we’ve done that with this group. It’s a good mixture.”

The four players join guard Javohn Garcia from Brewster Academy and guard Cairo McRory of Woodstock Academy, both of whom signed in November, to complete the recruiting class.

“This group coming in will have a year or two of prep school that will be ready to play from Day One, and I don’t look at those guys like freshmen,” McCall added.

The additions from Connecticut-based Woodstock Academy are a direct result of UMass assistant coach Tony Bergeron’s connections and recruiting. Bergeron coached the Centaurs to a 73-7 record in their first two seasons as a prep program (2017-2019), winning the Power 5 Conference title in both years and earning two invitations to the National Prep Championship tournament at Connecticut College.

Woodstock Academy coach Jacque Rivera, who has ties to western Massachusetts through Elms College (player) and Dean Tech (coach), played for Bergeron in high school at Wings Academy in New York.

Fernandez, DeGray, Dominguez and McCrory join fellow Woodstock alums Preston Santos, T.J. Weeks, Dibaji Walker and Tre Mitchell on the UMass roster.

Dominguez is a 6-foot-8 forward from Providence, Rhode Island, who previously played at New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He’s a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports, and is the No. 9 player in Rhode Island and No. 19 in New England by New England Recruiting Report.

“Dyondre will come in and be ready to play,” McCall said. “When you look at how we want to play at the offensive end of the floor and can get a guy in the small forward/power forward spot who can shoot the ball like Dyondre can, it takes your offense to a completely different level. He has a tremendous skillset, size and length which will add to how we want to play defensively.”

DeGray is a 6-7 forward from Parker, Colorado, with two years of experience at Woodstock. The three-star recruit (247Sports, Rivals) is ranked No. 8 in his home state. His father, Ronnie DeGray II, played at Colorado and spent six years overseas; his uncle, Reggie, played at Louisiana Lafayette; and twin sisters, Ronjanae and Raeyana, played at Arkansas Little-Rock.

“Ronnie has an unbelievable skillset and great feel,” McCall said. “I’m a guy who loves frontcourt players who can really pass. With how we want to play on offense, when you can get those kinds of guys with the ability to pass, it makes us really difficult to guard. Ronnie’s also a guy who’s played in the system defensively, and he has extremely high character.”

Fernandez is a 5-11 guard from Mattapoisett. He averaged 1.4 points and nearly 10 minutes per game over 21 appearances during his freshman year at Wichita State.

He was three-star recruit (ESPN, 247Sports) during his one year at Woodstock. He also played Tabor Academy and Old Rochester Regional.

He led Old Rochester to its first state championship during his one high school season as a freshman. He finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in the 2015 Division 3 final against Hoosac Valley.

“Noah was one of my favorite players that I watched two summers ago in AAU,” McCall said. “I think Noah is a winner, he has tremendous feel at the point guard spot and plays the game with a tremendous amount of passion. His competitiveness, basketball feel and moxie are things you want.”

Fernandez will have three season of eligibility remaining after sitting out this next season due to transfer rules.

“I think he’s a better scorer than people give him credit for,” McCall added. “He shoots it from the perimeter, but you can also put him in a pick-and-roll and he can make the right play. How we want to play offensively, when you can get multiple handlers out there with shooting on the floor, it’s going to make you that much harder to guard.”

Gasperini is a 6-10 big man who will add size to the frontcourt as a backup to Mitchell next season. He started 83 of 88 games and averaged 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds over three seasons at American.

Gasperini, who was born in Moscow, attended Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill.

“Mark is big and physical and can really pass as a frontcourt player,” McCall said. “He adds that experience factor into our team, and is also a versatile frontcourt player. He’s going to compete in practice with and against Tre every day, and they’ll make each other better. Mark is a high character kid, and getting a master’s degree from UMass is very important to him.”

In November, UMass signed Garcia, a 6-2 guard from Pickerington, Ohio, and McCrory, a 6-5 guard from Hartford, Connecticut.


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