Robert Carter, Jr.

Former Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter Jr. transfers to Maryland

1 Comment

Maryland landed an important front court piece Friday morning, with it being reported by multiple outlets that former Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter Jr. has decided to transfer to the soon-to-be Big Ten school. Maryland made the news official with an announcement of its own shortly after the reports surfaced.

The 6-foot-8 Carter, who had already visited St. John’s and South Carolina, posted averages of 11.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2013-14. His addition will have Maryland a player capable of scoring in the low post, which will help a group that’s adding some quality perimeter shooters in its 2014 recruiting haul (Romelo Trimble, Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens).

“We’re excited to welcome Robert to the University of Maryland men’s basketball program,” Turgeon said in the school release. “We had a great visit with Robert and his parents, Robert Sr., and Linda, and welcome them to our family. Robert is a tremendous young man and he will be an outstanding teammate and leader.

“He is a complete player with a strong offensive skillset that complements his desire to rebound and defend. Our program is thrilled to have him as we transition into the Big Ten.”

Carter won’t be able to play in games this season as he’ll be required to sit out a season, but this is a key addition for Maryland with an eye towards 2015. Both Jon Graham and Evan Smotrycz are seniors this season, which at present time would leave Damontre Dodd, Michal Cekovsky and Trayvon Reed in the paint. The addition of Carter, who played alongside Reed with the Atlanta XPress, gives Maryland a needed boost in front court depth.

In a story written by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, Carter was highly complimentary of head coach Mark Turgeon in discussing why he decided to join the Maryland program.

“Throughout the process he called me when I decided I was going to transfer,” Carter said. “He laid out a plan on what he would help me do and I liked it.

“He was a coach in the NBA,” Carter added. “He was on a NBA staff. He has a great staff around him and is very good at skill development. The weight guy helped transform Dexter Pittman’s body and helped Alex Len gain weight.”

The 2014-15 season is an important one for Maryland, which is hosting former West Virginia guard Terry Henderson this weekend. Turgeon has yet to lead the program to the NCAA tournament, and with the arrival of a very good recruiting class reaching the 68-team event (at minimum) is the expectation of the fan base.

However even with the focus on this coming season there’s also the need to build with the future in mind, and the addition of Carter will help the Terrapins in that regard.

No. 4 Maryland refocuses, slows down No. 18 Purdue

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon watches from the sideline during a break in play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Leave a comment

No. 18 Purdue and No. 4 Maryland exchanged leads for most of the first 33 minutes before the Boilermakers scored five straight points on layups by Rapheal Davis (who was fouled on his make) and Caleb Swanigan. Purdue was getting the touches it wanted around the basket, and Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins weren’t doing a whole lot to keep it from happening either.

Turgeon called a timeout to get his team back in sync defensively, and as a result Maryland went on a 9-0 run that ultimately led to their winning by the final score of 72-61.

Maryland’s big men, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone, did a much better job down the stretch of keeping Purdue from getting the ball inside to senior center A.J. Hammons. Hammons finished the game with 18 points and ten rebounds, but only two of those points came after Maryland’s 9-0 second half run. But keeping the ball from getting inside is just as much about the players defending the passers as it is keeping the big(s) from getting to his preferred spot.

Defensively Maryland took away the passing angles and essentially made Purdue’s guards make plays, something they’ve struggled with at times this season. That led to far too many perimeter shots for Purdue, which shot 3-for-23 on the day from beyond the arc. Add in the fact that they attempted just five free throws as a team, making two, and areas in which the Boilermakers can benefit went neglected in College Park.

By comparison Maryland was able to make a habit of going to the foul line, shooting 24-for-27 from the charity stripe with Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble combining to go 17-for-19 on the day. The foul line helped Trimble make up for an off day from the field, as he shot 2-for-12, but the sophomore’s ability to work off of ball screens ultimately opened things up for Maryland even with his shots not falling.

Add in the fact that Sulaimon (21 points, ten rebounds) and Carter (19 points, seven rebounds) were able to pick up the slack, with Diamond Stone adding 12 points and six rebounds, and it’s easy to see why Maryland was able to turn things around down the stretch.

Maryland’s been a good defensive team this season, but they got away from that for a significant portion of Saturday’s game. A key timeout to get the team refocused paid off, the the Terrapins defending at a level that made it incredibly difficult for Purdue to get anything going. And as a result, Maryland remains within a game of leaders Iowa and Indiana in the Big Ten title race.

Darryl Reynolds shines, Kris Dunn struggles as No. 3 Villanova beat No. 11 Providence

Villanova forward Darryl Reynolds (45) dunks the ball in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Creighton, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Villanova, Pa. Villanova won 83-58. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Leave a comment

Replacing the injured Daniel Ochefu, who missed his third straight game as the result of a concussion, Darryl Reynolds finished with a career-high 19 points and 10 boards as No. 3 Villanova went into Providence and knocked off the No. 11 Friars, 72-60.

Josh Hart chipped in with 14 points and 13 boards (seven of which were offensive), Kris Jenkins notched a double-double as well and Ryan Arcidiacono added 16 points for the Wildcats, who improved to 10-1 in Big East play, keeping them all alone in first place in the league.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this win, which wasn’t quite as close as the final score would indicate, is that Villanova did it while shooting just 5-for-22 from three. The Wildcats have been reliant on the three during this recent run atop the conference, and on Saturday, they won by controlling the the glass and the paint.

Reynolds’ performance was something else. This is a guy who entered the game averaging just 2.3 points and a reputation for being little more than the reason that Ochefu played so many minutes, but it got to the point on Saturday that he was being double-teamed in the post to get the ball out of his hands. That’s pretty remarkable.

As if the fact that Villanova, playing without their best rebounder, grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and totally controlled the defensive glass.

 

Much of that is likely due to the fact that Ben Bentil, the 6-foot-8 forward for the Friars that is the Big East’s leading scorer, was dealing with an ankle injury he suffered at DePaul earlier this week. He finished 20 points, but much of that came in the form of jumpers and shots at the rim while his two rebounds was much more indicative of the impact that he was able to make with his ankle.

But what was really concerning for Providence was that Kris Dunn was downright awful. He shot 4-for-15 from the floor, committed six turnovers and simply made the wrong decision too many times. Yes, he was likely pressing due to the fact that Bentil was injured and Villanova’s defense was keying on him, but it’s not exactly comforting to know that this is what his floor is.

He’s Kris Dunn.

He’s going to be keyed on by defenses every single time he steps on a basketball court.

He has to be better than he was today.