When someone mentions a college that produces a lot of professional athletes, LSU, Texas, Duke, Notre Dame or UCLA might come to mind. How about UMASS Amherst? UMASS athletics has struggled over the last few years in football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, especially in the 2010-2011 season. But over the last few years, UMASS has produced an impressive list of professional hockey players, some in football, and basketball too. Among the players is an Olympic Silver Medalist for the 2010 U.S.A. Olympic Hockey Team.
UMASS has sent several players to the NFL over the last few years. Including Victor Cruz, a standout wide receiver for the New York Giants, and Patriots safety James Ihedijbo. Other notable current football players include Cincinnati Bengals Safety Jeromy Miles, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Horne, New York Jets lineman Vladimir Ducasse, and Marcel Shipp, a former running back for the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. He is currently a running back for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives, and won two championships with the Locomotives in 2009 and 2010. Also, basketball player Gary Forbes is currently a forward for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
On the ice, UMASS has sent three hockey players to the NHL in the last five years. Two of those three players currently play for the San Jose Sharks. Forward James Marcou who played for the Sharks’ AHL affiliate the Worcester Sharks in the 2010-2011 season, and defense man Justin Braun who is on the Sharks’ active roster. Most notably however is Los Angeles Kings Goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick played for the 2010 U.S.A. Olympic Hockey Team and won a silver medal with the team who had lost in overtime to Canada in the Gold Medal game. Since midway into the 2008-2009 season, Quick has been the starting goaltender for the Kings and has a 2.24 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Quick is the most well known and accomplished former UMASS athlete in recent years, however there may be many more to come.