It looks as if guard A.J. Lapray won’t be the only Oregon Duck moving on to another program this offseason.
Late Thursday night it was reported by Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that sophomore power forward Ben Carter has been released from his scholarship and is expected to transfer. And according to the story Carter, who played his high school basketball at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, is likely to wind up at UNLV.
After missing the first nine games of the season due to an NCAA suspension regarding the sale of team-issued sneakers (fellow sophomore Dominic Artis was also suspended) Carter averaged 12.7 minutes per contest, contributing 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 forward reached double figures just once last season, scoring 11 points in a loss at Oregon State in mid-January.
Oregon has already lost Mike Moser, Richard Amardi and Waverly Austin from its front court rotation, and Carter’s anticipated departure means more opportunities for incoming recruits Michael Chandler (junior college), Jordan Bell and Ray Kasongo. Elgin Cook, who proved to be a key contributor as the season progressed, will return next season.
Carter’s move drops Oregon to one scholarship below the limit (13), meaning that head coach Dana Altman has room to add another player to the program. As for UNLV, if Carter were to transfer there all 13 available scholarships would be filled with the forward having to sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules.
A scholarship opened up when Roscoe Smith announced his decision to turn pro, and the program is still awaiting a decision from Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Khem Birch.
With two games remaining in the suspensions of guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter, Oregon will see its depth improve in short order. And apparently the Ducks will add another player, as freshman forward Jordan Bell has qualified and is now able to join the team. Bell, who played at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, needed to raise his SAT score before being able to qualify.
The news was first reported on Thursday by Matt Prehm of Duck Territory.
Bell’s a highly-athletic forward at 6-foot-7, with that ability allowing him to make an impact as a shot-blocker defensively and an above-the-rim finisher on the other end of the floor. The question now is whether or not Oregon head coach Dana Altman will look to add Bell to the front court rotation or redshirt him and thus preserve a season of eligibility.
After beating Georgetown by seven in their season opener the Ducks have won each of their last six games by 15 points or more, scoring at least 100 points in two of those games. Inside Mike Moser (13.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Elgin Cook (10.4, 5.0) and Richard Amardi (7.0, 4.6) have been the best players in the rotation, with Waverly Austin being another valuable reserve.
Whether or not Bell gets a shot at playing time will depend on how quickly he picks up Altman’s system obviously, and there’s likely to be some rust as well. And with Carter likely factoring into the rotation when he returns, it isn’t as if Oregon has to get a major contribution from Bell.
Oregon has made it official: point guard Dominic Artis and big man Ben Carter, both of whom could have started for the Ducks in Friday’s season kickoff against Georgetown in South Korea, will be suspended for nine games.
The pair will be allowed to play on Dec. 17th, when the Ducks host UC Irvine. That means that they’ll miss important non-conference games against the likes of Georgetown, Ole Miss and Illinois.
The good news? Oregon has a trio of transfers that are eligible immediately in Jason Calliste, Joseph Young and Mike Moser. They have the depth to overcome the loss of these two guys, but that doesn’t mean they won’t feel the loss. If there is a silver lining here, it is that Dana Altman will be able to get two games in with his full lineup before conference play kicks off on January 2nd.
Artis and Carter were suspended for selling limited edition shoes that were given to them for being members of the Oregon basketball team. It may be silly, but it very much is an NCAA violation.