MHERST - University of Massachusetts junior forward Lawrence Carrier's basketball career is over. Carrier had knee surgery in August after damaging cartilage in his right knee as the Minutemen practiced for their trip to the Bahamas.
Carrier has had four knee surgeries dating back to high school. UMass coach Travis Ford said after the latest surgery, Carrier decided to heed his doctor's recommendation that he not continue with basketball.
'He's done playing,' Ford said. 'The doctor advised him he shouldn't play anymore. For his future health, it is probably the best decision for him.'
Carrier averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game last season. The highlight of his career was a 17-point performance on national television against Temple.
Even if he was healthy, Carrier's minutes likely would have been diminished this season after the Minutemen added five players to the roster.
Efforts to reach Carrier for comment were unsuccessful.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS - While there are many details still to be decided, UMass plans to have Midnight Madness again this year Oct. 13 into Oct. 14. Ford said it will likely be at the Curry Hicks Cage following the 7 p.m. season-opening ice hockey game that night against Sacred Heart at the Mullins Center.
'It's kind of a work in progress right now,' Ford said. 'We've gotten a big response from people, who really wanted us to do it. It'll be a good way for us to kick off our season and it will be a good way for fans to see us on the very first day we can get out.'
GAFFNEY IN, DONALD OUT - UMass will have a former Boston University player sitting out for the second straight season. Tony Gaffney, a 6-foot-8 forward from Berkley who went to Somerset High and played a prep year at Northfield Mount Hermon, is officially part of the program as a walk-on.
Gaffney, who averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds last year, follows another ex-Terrier, Etienne Brower, to Amherst.
Gaffney 'has good size and very good skills,' said Ford. 'He can play a couple different positions. It'll be interesting to see if he can continue to improve. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's got a lot of possibilities as a basketball player.'
Ford added that there is a chance that Gaffney, like Brower, could earn a scholarship. 'There's always that possibility,' Ford said. 'But I think it's impressive that he just wanted to be a part of our basketball team and was willing to pay his own way, because he probably could have gone some other places.'
Chris Donald, the Catholic Memorial star who had planned on enrolling at UMass as a walk-on, has elected to go elsewhere.
UMASS DAY AT HALL OF FAME - Ford and some of the Minutemen and women's coach Marnie Dacko and some of her players will be at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield for a clinic and autograph session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
FORD & CALIPARI - Former Minuteman and current Memphis head coach John Calipari visited with Ford when Calipari dropped his daughter Erin off in Amherst earlier this month.
Erin Calipari is a sophomore on the UMass women's basketball team.
Ford said the two coaches have talked several times and this conversation was more about decorating that X's and Os.
'We've talked on many different occasions,' Ford said. 'He came up and looked at the office and the locker rooms. He was impressed with it.'
SLOW START - Freshman Ricky Harris has begun doing individual instruction work with mixed results so far.
'Ricky is very good and he's going to have a great career at UMass, but right now he's having a little trouble keeping up with the speed of things and how hard it is, all things that are typical for a freshman,' Ford said. 'But I've been very impressed with the things he can do. He just has to grow and continue to get stronger and tougher.'
Ford said he is not considering redshirting him.
'He'll have a chance to play,' Ford said. 'With the things he can bring to the table, he can really help this team and play some valuable minutes.'
BABUL WITH BARBEE - Add Tony Barbee to the list of head coaches with UMass ties for whom former Minuteman forward Mike Babul has worked. Babul will be the director of basketball operations for Barbee at Texas-El Paso. Babul previously has worked for John Robic at Youngstown State, John Calipari at Memphis and Bruiser Flint at Drexel.
Several longtime UMass fans plan to see Barbee's debut as a head coach. His UTEP Miners open their season at the Black Coaches Association Invitational Classic in Syracuse Nov. 10.
BURNS CLINIC - Former Minuteman Ross Burns will help lead the 'For Love of the Game' basketball clinic from 2:30-5 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Greenfield YMCA. Registration is open to any player from sixth grade through high school seniors, but there are only 30 spots available. Participation is $45.
To register or for more information contact Angelo Thomas at 203-526-1591 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports