AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – One of the stars of UMass basketball in the late 1990s has passed away. Lari Ketner has died at age 37, following a battle with colon cancer. Ketner played for the Minutemen from 1996 to 1999 during the era of Coach Bruiser Flint.
“He’s one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever coached, and an even better person,” Flint said in a statement from UMass Athletics sent to 22News. “It’s tough to lose someone so young. It’s a big loss for our UMass family.”
At 6’10” tall, Ketner has the 32nd highest points total in UMass history; scoring 1,184 points and grabbing 655 rebounds. He was Atlantic 10 rookie of the year and Basketball Times’ “National Newcomer of the Year.”
Ketner was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1999, and played two years in the NBA, with the Bulls, the Indiana Pacers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following his professional career, he completed his college education, and earned a diploma from UMass.
The Philadelphia native is survived by his wife, Aquarius, and their children.