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"JERSEY BOYS" LEADING UMBC HOOPS
by Amit Chand
When seniors Andrew Feeley and Rob Gogerty began their collegiate careers at UMBC four years ago, few could have imagined that the two
Though Gogerty’s hometown of Cedar Grove is only a 25 minute drive from Feeley’s hometown of
“I attended a small high school,” Gogerty says. “It was a lot harder to get looked at by colleges because the bigger high schools get the most attention.”
UMBC was one of the few Division I colleges that recruited Gogerty, a 6’1”, 185-pound guard. Although he excelled in basketball, Gogerty was also a standout football and baseball player in high school. There was no doubt in Gogerty’s mind that he wanted to play college basketball at the Division I level.
“He was highly recruited as a quarterback by schools but he’s always had a passion for the game of basketball,” Gogerty’s mother Rosanne Gogerty says.
Feeley’s high school played in the high profile Watchung Conference, allowing him to get more exposure than Gogerty. Many Division I schools’ recruiting trails led them to
“The conference I played in is one of the best basketball conferences in the state,” says Feeley, a 6’9”, 250-pound center. “I played against players who went on to play in big time colleges. It helped to play against tough competition because it made me realize I was pretty good and made me a better player.”
Feeley’s first year as a Retriever fell short of his expectations but he came back with an outstanding sophomore season. Feeley went from averaging 3.8 points per game his freshman year to 10.6 his sophomore year while also doubling his rebounding average. UMBC’s switch from the Northeast Conference to the America East Conference put Feeley in line to face strong post players like Taylor Coppenrath of
“My sophomore year in the NEC I felt like was becoming better than the players in the conference and my confidence grew going into every game,” Feeley says. “It was an adjustment period for me during my junior year because the competition was so much better.”
Feeley’s transition to the America East did not go as smoothly as planned as the big man saw his numbers take a dip. Feeley says that his unfamiliarity with the players in the America East hurt his development last year. This year the senior feels more confident going up against players he is familiar with and his numbers reflect that confidence. Feeley leads the team in scoring (11.2) rebounding (8.0) and blocked shots (23) this season. He has had a team high in rebounds in 11 of 17 games this season and has recorded five “double-doubles” giving him a total of 14 for his career. Feeley is second in the America East in rebounding and is third in blocked shots. He attributes his off-season workouts for his improvement.
“Working in the weight room over the summers with [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Fred Cantor really helped me with my lifting and conditioning,” says Feeley.
The transition from high school to college did not go as Gogerty had planned--it went better. He was inserted into the starting lineup from the beginning of his freshman year and he has not relinquished that spot since. Gogerty has played in only one game that he was not in the starting lineup for and that was due to him returning from an ankle injury against Sacred Heart his sophomore season. The heady point guard did not let the recruiting process hinder his game in college but instead used it as a motivational tool.
“I did not know what to expect but I felt like I had something to prove when I got here,” Gogerty says. “I wanted to show that coming from a small school isn’t a bad thing; you can play [Division I basketball] regardless of that.”
It came as a pleasant surprise when Gogerty led the team in minutes played his first year after barely being recruited. His quick rise as a fixture in the starting rotation at UMBC led to Gogerty being named to the NEC All Rookie Team.
“Never in a million years did we think he would play so much right off the bat,” says Rosanne. “I kind of thought he had the ability to play at the Division I level but I thought he would wind up playing in a year.”
Gogerty has seen his numbers gradually go up every year. He benefited from playing in the America East as his production rose sharply from his sophomore to junior season. The competition in the new conference provided Gogerty more incentive to play better. Gogerty averaged 10.5 points per game his junior year, up from 5.7 points per game in his sophomore effort.
“He rises to the competition,” says Rosanne. “Robby loves to play against good teams and to guard players that are better than him because he takes pride in shutting them down.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Head Coach Randy Monroe who calls Gogerty one of the most competitive players that he has ever been around.
“I really enjoy playing against the bigger schools to see how we match up with them,” Gogerty says.
This year has seen Gogerty’s continued emergence as a point guard who is able to be a scoring threat while also getting his teammates involved. Gogerty’s 4.59 assists per game this year is third best in the America East and his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.44 is second in the league. Gogerty has always been stingy with the ball; he led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio last season.
“I try to play smart by not forcing plays that could lead to mistakes,” explains Gogerty, who is now fifth on UMBC’s all-time assist chart with 321.
Both Feeley and Gogerty have earned the trust of
“Coach Monroe is a very enthusiastic person and off the court he’s your best friend,” Feeley says. “His intensity during games gets us fired up. When we’re down and we see his energy it makes us play harder.”
Together they have led the UMBC basketball program to some critical wins this season. Beginning with their season opener at home against Navy, the Retrievers have been involved in exciting victories. UMBC is an impressive 5-2 at the RAC this year. The victories have made the RAC an inhospitable place to play for visiting teams. Gogerty acknowledges that there have been more vocal students at games this year.
As the sun sets on their college careers, Gogerty and Feeley have their hearts set on continuing to play basketball in some capacity after UMBC. They have been involved in sports for so long that they cannot envision life without basketball. Both say that they are open to all options, including going overseas to play.
“If I had the opportunity I would like to keep playing basketball and make some money,” Feeley says. “If that doesn’t work out, I would like to coach because I feel that I’ve learned a lot about basketball and I can help people. I don’t think I could leave it cold turkey.”
Gogerty adds that he would also like to be a coach some day.
Whatever their futures may hold, Gogerty and Feeley can count on their family being there with them. Their parents have made it to almost every game since their freshmen season. For UMBC’s upset win at
“I was really happy for Rob after the
Feeley believes that being good friends and roommates with Gogerty is the reason they play well together. He knows when Gogerty is going to try to shoot or pass and he plays off that.
“These four years have been great,” Feeley says. “UMBC has been good to us and we love playing here.”
Though they came from very different backgrounds, Gogerty and Feeley formed a special bond at UMBC that has seen the basketball program grow during their four years here.