With Xavier retooling its roster and Temple on its way to the Big East, other Atlantic 10 teams finally may have an opportunity to compete for a league championship the next couple years.
UMass took a big step toward that goal Friday when it landed a commitment from one of the nation's best available transfers.
Derrick Gordon, a 6-foot-2 combo guard who averaged 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds at Western Kentucky last season, announced via Twitter that he'll enroll at UMass in the fall. Gordon chose the Minutemen over A-10 rivals Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's and will have three years of eligibility remaining after he sits out the 2012-13 season.
"This was a long and hard decision for me...but now it's over," Gordon tweeted. "It's official I will be going to UMass!!!!....#UMassNation"
For a UMass team that won reached the NIT semifinals last year and returns its five leading scorers, the addition of Gordon only adds to the enthusiasm about the future of the program. UMass' best player, Chaz Williams, will be a senior when Gordon becomes eligible in 2013, giving the Minutemen potentially one of the nation's best backcourts that season.
The excitement about Gordon stems from his success as a freshman at Western Kentucky. He helped lead the Hilltoppers on an improbable run to the NCAA tournament, erupting for 25 points and 15 rebounds in the Sun Belt tournament against Arkansas Little-Rock and scoring 12 against Kentucky in opening round of March Madness.