Two UMass players added to Portsmouth

Chris Monter of our affiliate reported earlier today that nine players decided to drop out of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Two UMass players are among the replacements joining Duquesne's Aaron Jackson and three more Conference players. Nine Pull Out of Portsmouth Invitational

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) started its 57th annual pre-NBA draft camp at noon today, Wednesday, April 8, 2009.

Atlantic 10 Conference players Ahmad Nivins of Saint Joseph's, Rhode Island's Jimmy Baron and B.J. Raymond from Xavier joined Aaron Jackson in the PIT's original player selection.

Massachusetts' big forward Tony Gaffney and point guard Chris Lowe now get a chance to display their talents before NBA scouts.

Gaffney, a 6-foot-8, 208 pounder from a couple of Mass. schools, Northfield Mount Hermon School and Somerset High school, and a transfer from Boston U., this season was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player Of The Year and to the league's All-Conference Second Team. He averaged a double-double of 11.5 points and 10.2 rebounds to go along with 3.8 blocks and 2.03 steals in 33.9 minutes per game. Gaffney became the fifth player in the NCAA since 1996-97 to register 100 blocks and 50 steals in a season (115 and 61).

Lowe, at 6-foot-0 and 160-pounds, is a member of UMass' 100 Seasons Of Basketball All-2000s Team with Gary Forbes, Stephane Lasme, Rashaun Freeman and Monty Mack. The four-year starter from Mount Vernon, N.Y. received honorable mention honors from the A-10 this season. He is now the program's all-time career assist leader (678). Lowe averaged 12.4 points and 6.4 assists per game this season.

The Minutemen's 2008-09 season ended when Duquesne knocked them out of the A-10 tourney in the first round via a 91-81 decision. Derek Kellogg, a UMass alum, saw his team finish his first season as head coach in Amherst with a 12-18 record, 7-7 in league play.

And there's some local flavor among the nine roster replacements. Ben McCauley, a 6-foot-9, 237-pound big forward from Yough High School and West Newton, Pa., at one-time considered Duquesne but ended up signing with North Carolina State.

This season, McCauley started all 30 games for the 16-14 Wolfpack, led the team with 7.8 rebounds per game and was second with a 12.4 points per game average and 60 assists (2.0 apg).

NOTE: Aaron Jackson's first game is at 9:00 p.m. EDT tonight when his Portsmouth Partnership takes on the Tidewater Sealants with Chris Lowe and West Virginia's Alex Ruoff.

For the complete list of players who opted out of the PIT and their replacements, please see the link at the top of this story.

What's a sealant: A sealant [seal·ant (se'l?nt)] is plastic material that is usually applied by a dentist to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth -— premolars and molars of children and young adults -- to prevent tooth decay. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Sealants are cosmetically pleasing because they are clear or white in color. The American Dental Association has authorized sealant use since 1972.

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