Robert Carter, Jr.

Former Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter Jr. transfers to Maryland

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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, 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.

Syracuse upsets No. 18 UConn as Tyler Lydon stars again

St Bonaventure Syracuse Basketball
AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth
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Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney combined for 34 points as Syracuse overcame an early 10-point deficit to knock off No. 18 UConn in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, 79-76.

The talking point at the end of this game is probably going to end up being UConn’s decision not to foul Syracuse with 36 seconds left on the clock. Trevor Cooney dribbled out the clock and, with six seconds left, missed a 35-foot prayer, the offensive rebound getting corralled by Tyler Roberson, sealing the win.

But that’s not the real story here.

That would be Tyler Lydon, who suddenly looks like he may end up being the difference maker for this Syracuse team.

If you don’t know the name, I don’t blame you. Lydon was a low-end top 100 recruit that had been committed to the Orange for a long time. He’s not exactly a game-changing prospect, but he’s a perfect fit for Syracuse. At 6-foot-9, Lydon has the length to be a shot-blocker in the middle of the 2-3 zone — he entered Thursday averaging 3.3 blocks — but his biggest skill is his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. When he plays the middle of that zone, when he is essentially the five for the Orange, they become incredibly difficult to matchup with defensively.

The question is whether or not he can consistently be that guy on the defensive end of the floor. Against UConn, Lydon had 16 points and 12 boards. Against Charlotte, he finished with 18 points, eight boards and six blocks. But neither the Huskies nor the 49ers have a big front line that crashes the offensive glass.

Lydon is great at using his length to make shots in the lane difficult, but at (a generous) 205 pounds, he may run into trouble against bigger, stronger front court players.

The perfect test?

Texas A&M, who the Orange will play in the title game on Friday.

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

Andy Enfield
Associated Press
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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.