NBA Prospect Raphiael Putney’s Game Winning Block In UMass Win Over URI Is Easily Best Play You Will See This Season

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As usual the UMass Minutemen treated their fans to another thrilling Atlantic Ten road game at URI on Sunday. As they’ve done all season they allowed an inferior team to stick around before trying to turn it on late in the second half. Luckily it worked out thanks to what could possibly be the single greatest play in college basketball this season. UMass had possession up 68-65 with around 45 seconds to go. As Chaz Williams brought the ball up the court disaster suddenly became imminent. Luckily Raphiael Putney is one of the most disgusting athletes you will ever see:

First of all, the fact that Putney even had to do this is a reflection on the poor coaching skills of Derek Kellogg in moments like this. The offensive game plan for UMass all game was as follows: have Chaz recklessly drive to the hoop and see what happens. Sometimes that means he makes a crazy athletic layup. Other times it means he runs into a brick wall and gets blocked. This time it meant just kind of throwing the ball aimlessly towards the free throw line.

But holy freaking shit, what a play!! This is undoubtedly the greatest play in college basketball this season. Don’t talk to me about buzzer beaters. Anyone can shoot a buzzer beater. There’s hardly anyone in college basketball that can do what he did. The fact that the refs didn’t call a foul on that play might be the finest piece of officiating this season. Any other group of refs I’ve seen this season calls that a foul. But clearly on the replay you can see that Putney actually goes around one of the URI nudniks, sneaks around the weak side of the other one, and still manages to get his hand on the ball while being pushed off of. If he doesn’t make that play then it’s a one point game and anyone can win. That block put the game away.

Not to be outdone, Maxie Esho made a pretty disgusting play in the first half as well.

These guys are some crafty ball players. That is why I absolutely love me some Maxie. Tommy points galore right there. Makes the amazing block, catches it on it’s way out of bounds, throws it at opposing player so UMass keeps possession. Absolutely insane.

These two plays got me thinking – are any of these players going to make it in the NBA? Who is most likely? Here’s the case for each one…

Chaz Williams


So the whole 5’6″ thing isn’t going to help him. But he’s got balls. Big ones. And his athleticism is NBA caliber.


Raphiael Putney 


He’s got the height (6’9″), a pterodactyl’s wingspan, and unbelievable hang time for someone his size. He can shoot the three (kind of), but he’s a terrible ball handler and can’t weigh more than 180 pounds.


Sampson Carter 


He can shoot the three for a big man, but yea it’s kind of hard to make the case for him.


Derek Gordon 


What NBA team doesn’t want a six foot guard who can’t shoot free throws and doesn’t play the point?


Maxie Esho 


He’s got athleticism, work ethic, and talent. He’s a great defensive player and can rebound with the best of them. His shooting touch isn’t NBA ready yet though.


Cady Lalanne 


On paper he’s their best NBA prospect because of his size. But he plays like a Nancy Boy too often. He’s also got Kevin Garnett syndrome – dominating crappy players but poops his pants when he goes against more established big men.


Tyler Bergantino

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lol Just kidding.


Trey Davis 


He’s the most improved player on the roster this year. Dude is their best pure shooter, and can kind of create his own shot. Next year will be the year to see what kind of player he really is after Chaz, Putney, and Sampson are gone.

I honestly think it’s going to be Putney. He’ll never be a star or anything, but that type of athleticism and height has NBA written all over it. I’d be interested to here what UMass super fans Brian Long and Josh Brown have to say about this one though. Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.

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13 Comment(s)
  • June 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Reblogged this on TurtleBoySports and commented:

    In honor of tonight’s NBA draft we’re reblogging this one. Which UMass player will be the best NBA player? Will Chaz Williams, Raphiael Putney, or Sampson Carter have their name called tonight?

  • thehumburger
    February 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I thought Putney had NBA potential a few years ago based on his length and athleticism, but he has improved his game almost nil in three years. Still mostly just hangs out above the arc and launches rainbow 3s, rarely drives the ball, has a hard time finishing when he does (despite the occasional monster jam). Considering he’s now a 23-year-old fifth-year senior I don’t see much upside in his game. He’s a very poor man’s Gerald Green, who isn’t exactly known for his skill or b-ball IQ.

    If I had to pick anyone I would say Chaz or Davis as they’re the only ones on the team with any handle or actual b-ball skill. Davis is a longshot but he’s still young, actually showing improvement, and I’ve heard is the hardest worker on the team. Chaz has the quickness and perhaps would be even better playing with people who knew what to do with the ball. I just hope, for his sake, that he hasn’t played himself out of that contract the pro club in Turkey offered him last summer.

  • SUL
    February 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

    So a Game Sealing block, maybe even a game ending block? but definitely not a game winning block. 40 seconds in a basketball game is an entirenity. Reggie Miller once scored 8 points in 11 seconds.

    • February 11, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      The way UMass has been this season, they almost definitely lose that game if he doesn’t block that shot.

    • Hannah Gordon
      February 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      It was a game ending block. Not really sure what you don’t get about it. Even I can figure that out.

      • Hannah Gordon
        February 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

        Sorry, I’m an idiot (as Turtle has pointed out many times, successfully)… I meant game winning block.

  • SUL
    February 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    How is it a game winning block on a 2 point shot when they were up 3?

    • Blong
      February 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Simple, it put the game out of reach for URI. Had URI made the layup or hit two FTs had a foul been called, then their subsequent foul on us only allows for them to be down a maximum of 3 points vs. the 4 they ended up down by. It was a game winning/saving/sealing block.

      • February 10, 2014 at 11:50 pm

        There was also over 40 seconds left. UMass wouldn’t have been able to run out the clock, and URI wouldn’t have fouled. Therefore UMass would have HAD to score, or else URI would’ve been able to win the game on the final shot. At home.

      • ScottieB
        February 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

        With the way UMass shoot free throws, anything that keeps the lead over 2 points is HUGE.

  • matt
    February 10, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I would have voted for Larry Doty over any of these guys if he was an option

  • Blong
    February 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Chaz absolutely has a chance, he has all the tools and while it is rare, it’s been proven before that size issues can be overcome. He has the best shot in my mind right now. I’m not sold on Putney and Cady yet as each of them need to put in some major work. Putney needs a bit more muscle mass and has to be a bit more consistent in his jump shot as well as being able to finish in traffic. His defense and passing abilities have come a long way, though. Cady needs to be more assertive and physical, needs to work on his footwork, and has to learn how to not get blocked as much as he does.

    At this point, no one else has a chance. If Maxie can put together a Tony Gaffney like Sr year and he has a similar work ethic, he’ll have a shot.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      A Gaffney like Sr. Year. Nice reference right there. I have to agree, although the size for Chaz might be too much to overcome. Putney could kick around the league for a while longer than Chaz simply based on the potential factor.

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