carter

Freshman guard Keith Carter leaves Saint Louis program

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With the experience that returned to Saint Louis following a trip to the NCAA tournament, it would be tough for a freshman to crack interim head coach Jim Crews’ rotation in 2012-13.

But that wasn’t exactly the case for Chicago native Keith Carter, despite the fact that he played in just three games before deciding to transfer. The news was announced by the school in a press release on Friday.

“When commitments are started, you don’t want to see things like this happen,” Crews said in the brief statement. “Unfortunately this is something that is consistent and constant in college basketball.

“With that said, we wish Keith the best in his future plans.”

The 6-0 guard played a total of 39 minutes for the Billikens, with 21 of those minutes coming in SLU’s 72-45 win over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night. Carter scored a career-best six points against the Panthers in his first action since playing four minutes in a 74-62 loss to Santa Clara in the second game of the season.

Carter strained his foot in the Santa Clara game and apparently felt that he needed more time to heal, but with Kwamain Mitchell out of the lineup the option of redshirting wasn’t available to the freshman.

Because Carter had already played in several games before then, he was unable to receive that benefit. A medical hardship waiver could’ve been applied for, but the two parties couldn’t reach a mutual decision.

“Since [Kwamain Mitchell] was hurt, we didn’t have many guards,” Carter said. “They were trying to do what was best for the team, and trying to do what was best for me. We just couldn’t come to one decision.”

Where the news of Carter deciding to leave the program could hurt Saint Louis revolves around the status of guard Kwamain Mitchell.

Mitchell, who suffered a broken left foot back in October, has yet to play a gams this season but is expected to return in early January. If he’s able to blend in with the Billikens and not have any lingering issues with his foot Saint Louis is more than capable of getting back to the NCAA tournament and contending in the Atlantic 10.

But even with Mitchell out of the lineup the 8-3 Billikens have performed well on the perimeter, with veterans such as Mike McCall Jr. and  Jordair Jett leading the way. Forwards Dwayne Evans (12.4 ppg) and Cody Ellis (11.2) lead the way offensively with McCall Jr., who like Mitchell was named to the Cousy Award Watch List on Thursday, averaging 11.1 points per game.

Carter’s decision to transfer means that Saint Louis will need to hit the recruiting trail for another guard, as they also have to account for Mitchell graduating at the end of this season. Currently the Billikens have one commitment in the 2013 class, 6-5 Tipton, Indiana wing Mike Crawford.

Photo credit: Saint Louis University

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: