Gophers freshman Carrington has right attitude despite setbacks

Of the Gophers' 2022 recruiting class, former Park Center star and Minnesota Mr. Basketball Braeden Carrington was expected to be the freshman most prepared to help this season.

But Carrington's first year with the Gophers unexpectedly was plagued by injuries.

It started with missing the first two games with sore ankle. The 6-4, 195-pound Brooklyn Park native eventually had a stress reaction to his leg that forced him to be sidelined seven games in Big Ten play.

"He was probably in the most ready situation because he had the skill set," Gophers coach Ben Johnson said. "Shooting always transfers. It is unfortunate because I think he was in a good position because his game under our circumstances was what we needed. So, you feel for him because it's been up and down for him more than any of the freshmen with injuries."

In last weekend's 78-67 loss at Nebraska, Carrington went down with a hyperextended knee injury and only played 12 minutes in Lincoln, but he returned to practice this week.

Carrington, who is averaging 5.3 points in 20 minutes in 18 games, hopes to join his fellow freshmen Pharrel Payne, Joshua Ola-Joseph, and Jaden Henley to finish the regular season strong with two home games Thursday against Rutgers and Sunday against Wisconsin.

The highest scoring game for a Gophers freshman came with Carrington's 20-point performance vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Dec. 14. He also had a season-high 10 rebounds vs. Mississippi State on Dec. 11.

Three-point shooting was Carrington's strength in high school. He's shooting 29% this season, but he was 2-for-5 from long distance in the last two games before the latest setback.

"He's always maintained the right perspective," Johnson said. "He has unbelievable attitude. He's a team guy. He's never about himself. He's about all the right stuff. He wants to be good, and I think that kills him. He knows there are plays right now that he can't make because his body is working through it."


Time: 6 p.m. CT, Thursday. Where: Williams Arena. Line: Gophers 8.5-point underdogs. Series: Minnesota leads the series 9-7, including an 90-55 loss Feb. 1 at Williams Arena. TV: BTN. Online/Live video: BTN-Plus. Radio: 100.3-FM



Pos.-Player Ht. Yr. PPG

G – Ta'Lon Cooper 6-4 195 Jr. 9.9

G – Jaden Henley 6-7 200 Fr. 4.9

F – Jamison Battle 6-7 220 Jr. 12.9

F – Joshua Ola-Joseph 6-7 215 Fr. 7.6

F – Dawson Garcia 6-11 230 So. 15.3

Key reserves – Pharrel Payne, F, 6-9, Fr., 7.8 ppg; Braeden Carrington, G, 6-3, Fr., 5.3 ppg; Taurus Samuels, G, 6-1, Sr., 2.5 ppg; Treyton Thompson, C, 7-0, So., 2.1 ppg; Will Ramberg, F, 6-5, Jr., 2.1 ppg.

Coach: Ben Johnson 20-37 (2nd season)

Notable: The Gophers saw leading scorer and rebounder Dawson Garcia (bone bruise) return to the court Feb. 18 to score 23 points in a 76-69 loss vs. Penn State after missing five straight games. Jamison Battle was held under double figures in three straight games for the first time in his career last month. But Battle responded with a season-high 31 points in a 78-69 loss Feb. 20 at Illinois. … Freshman big man Pharrel Payne had 17 points in just 17 minutes in a Feb. 22 loss at Maryland. Payne, who also had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists vs. Penn State, ranked fifth in the Big Ten with a team-high 29 dunks. … The Gophers have lost five of the last six games against Rutgers. Their only win during that stretch was 68-65 at home last season with only seven scholarship players available.


Pos.-Player Ht. Yr. PPG

G – Paul Mulcahy 6-7 213 Sr. 8.8

G – Caleb McConnell 6-7 200 Sr. 9.7

G – Cam Spencer 6-4 Jr. 207 12.3

F – Aundre Hyatt 6-11 230 Sr. 9.4

F – Clifford Omoruyi 6-11 240 Jr. 13.2

Reserves – Derek Simpson, G, 6-3, Fr., 6.1 ppg; Antwone Woolfolk, F, 6-9, Fr., 2.2 ppg.

Coach: Steve Pikiell 309-272 (18th season)

Notable: The Scarlet Knights reached the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1975-76 last year. They seemed to be in contention for the NCAAs again this season, especially with a win against previously No. 1 Purdue on their resume. Steve Pikiell's program had its best finish in the Big Ten in fourth place in 2020-21. … Starting forward Mayot Mag, who had 10 points in a win this season against the Gophers, suffered a season-ending knee injury last month in a win against Michigan State. Mag was averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Fuller's score prediction: Rutgers 64, Gophers 54.