The popularity of the transfer portal has not been beneficial to Frank Martin and UMass thus far in the offseason. The Minutemen have lost Tafara Gapare and RJ Luis, two talented players who just recently finished their freshmen seasons at UMass, along with their starting point guard Noah Fernandes. On Thursday, the future became a little clearer for the Minutemen.
Photo Cred: Saint Francis Athletics
They received the commitment of Josh Cohen, a transfer from St. Francis (PA). Cohen, a 6-10 center, won his conference’s Player of the Year award this past season while averaging 21 points and over eight rebounds per game. It was the second consecutive season Cohen took home some hardware after he won the NEC Most Improved Player in 2021-2022.
Cohen joins returner Wildens Leveque at the center position for Martin’s team. I figure that Cohen, who has started 47 games in his career, will be the starter. Cohen’s style of play is rather traditional. He prefers to stay close to the basket and rarely attempts three-pointers. His scoring efficiency will help a UMass offense susceptible to stagnant stretches of play. Cohen’s career field goal percentage is 58.9%.
Forward Matt Cross and Cohen are the two most proven scorers on the UMass roster and will have to provide the team with plenty of offensive production. Cohen is very capable of taking over a game on the offensive end. He scored 40 points against Lehigh in November and reached that number again against Hawaii in December.
One of his most impressive performances of the season came against Miami, who reached the Final Four. Cohen scored 30 points and pulled down nine rebounds against the Hurricanes. When Noah Fernandes went down with an injury last season, the Minutemen desperately needed someone to step up and help with the scoring.
Cohen is someone who will be relied on instantly. The native of Lincroft, NJ, scored 25 or more points in nine games last season. Following Cohen’s commitment, Martin tweeted “#PlayerOfTheYear,” showing his excitement after landing the center.