Preseason report: Sampson Carter practices, UMass still trying to complete schedule

By Stephen Hewitt

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team was back at practice Thursday at the Curry Hicks Cage, where a familiar face joined them on the court for drills and workouts.

Five days after resorting to pedaling on a stationary bike during the Minutemen’s practice on Saturday, Sampson Carter, who is still recovering from a hip injury, was back on the court. While he looked slow at times, the redshirt junior forward fully participated with his team during drills and workouts, which lasted about an hour.

Coach Derek Kellogg said Carter still has some work to do to get to full strength.

“I think Sampson has still been behind schedule,” Kellogg said. “He’s the one guy that I’m not concerned about, but I want to see him pick up the pace and catch up a little bit.”

Everyone on the roster, besides Javorn Farrell, who is likely out for the season with an ankle injury, was on the floor for practice. Kellogg said Jesse Morgan, who has almost recovered fully from a broken wrist, is “ahead of schedule,” while Cady Lalanne, who had offseason foot surgery, “has done a good job of keeping up with his rehab.”

UMass looking for final opponent
UMass still has one game left to fill on its schedule and Kellogg said he hasn’t had much luck trying to find one. He said he’s reached out to schools like Lehigh, Drexel and Boise State, but finding the perfect arrangement between another school hasn’t been an easy task.

“The reality of it is I think everybody’s looking for home games right now, as we would be,” Kellogg said. “And you also have to work in those dates, so there’s still some teams out there, but at the same token, it’s not set in stone yet.”

Kellogg said it’s important not to schedule just anyone and that he has to be careful in finding not only the right opponent, but situation for his team.

“We’re already on the road four times, we’re already going away to a tournament, and the way we play, we need to be fresh as much as anything,” Kellogg said. “So I’m being a little bit conscious and careful with this last game to make sure it fits what we’re doing.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @steve_hewitt.