Boston College’s young backcourt rotation received a boost in the experience department Monday afternoon, as former Florida guard Eli Carter announced that he’ll use his final year of eligibility at the ACC school. Carter, who played two seasons at Rutgers before moving on to Florida, will be eligible to play immediately for Jim Christian’s team.
Carter picked Boston College over Georgetown and UNLV, and in regards to both personnel and experience the Eagles had the greatest need for his services.
With the team’s top four scorers from last season, led by Olivier Hanlan, all moving on Boston College certainly has room for another contributor on the perimeter. Junior Garland Owens, who averaged 3.4 points per game last season, is Boston College’s most productive returnee on the perimeter with four freshmen joining the ranks this summer.
Carter averaged 8.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per games last season, and a key for him in 2015-16 will be efficiency. Carter shot just 36.2 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from beyond the arc in 2014-15, his first full season as a Gator after having to take a medical redshirt in 2013-14.
Carter’s sophomore season at Rutgers (2012-13) was cut short by a fractured leg, and issues with the recovery led to his having to be sidelined after just a handful of games in his first season at Florida.
One of the few remaining available players who will be eligible to play immediately next season, former Florida guard Eli Carter will announce his college choice Monday. News of a decision date was first reported by ESPN.com, and three schools remain in the running for Carter: Boston College, Georgetown and UNLV.
Eli Carter’s had quite the experience when it comes to Division I college basketball. Originally a member of the Rutgers program, Carter played two season there before a broken leg in a game at DePaul ended his 2012-13 season prematurely. That season was capped by the firing of Mike Rice, with Carter being one of the players who transferred out in the aftermath of the controversy.
From there it was off to Florida, where he played in seven games before having to redshirt for health reasons (the same leg he broke as a sophomore was once again an issue) during their Final Four season. Carter (8.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.0 apg in 2014-15) decided at the end of the 2014-15 campaign to use his final season of eligibility elsewhere, and while there was some consideration of a return to Gainesville that will not happen.
As for Carter’s three choices, UNLV has the most perimeter depth at this time. They add two transfers in Jerome Seagears (who was a teammate of Carter’s at Rutgers and sat out last season) and Ike Nwamu, and another newcomer in freshman Jaylen Poyser. That triumvirate joins returnees Patrick McCaw, Jordan Cornish and Daquan Cook, with the latter having missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
Boston College has options on the perimeter going into next season, but the issue for Jim Christian is that those players are incredibly young. Rising junior Garland Owens is BC’s most experienced perimeter option, with he and sophomore Darryl Hicks being joined by four incoming freshmen.
Georgetown can also use another experienced body on the perimeter, with D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera being their lone scholarship upperclassman. The Hoyas also have two talented sophomores in Tre Campbell and L.J. Peak, and freshman Kaleb Johnson will compete for minutes as well.
The 2015-16 season is an important one for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, as an influx of talent combined with some solid returnees is expected to pay dividends on the court. Add in the fact that the program has missed out on the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, with UNLV yet to win a tournament game under the leadership of head coach Dave Rice, and 2015-16 sets up as a campaign that could set the tone for years to come as well.
Even with the addition of players such as grad student Ike Nwamu and freshmen Stephen Zimmerman and Derrick Jones, Rice and his staff still have a scholarship at their disposal for the 2015-16 season. And according to Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there are a couple possibilities when it comes to filling that scholarship.
UNLV’s still in the running for former Florida guard Eli Carter, who’s also considering Memphis and Georgetown and will be eligible immediately, and 2016 commit Justin Jackson could reclassify to 2015. Or, UNLV could simply leave the scholarship open.
Rice is planning to utilize more players and frequent three-guard lineups next season. He envisions a team that plays pressure defense and runs, and he needs depth to execute his plan. But he already has 12 scholarship players who are expecting to see significant minutes, and Carter would be the 13th. No college coach in the country uses more than 10 players regularly.
Jackson, a highly touted UNLV commit, left Findlay Prep a year early with hopes of reclassifying as a 2015 recruit, but his status remains in limbo. Jackson made Canada’s Under-19 National Team roster and will compete in the FIBA World Championships in late June.
With the Under-19 World Championships running through July 5 it’s unknown when Jackson, who attended Findlay Prep last season, would make a decision regarding his status. UNLV has depth on the perimeter and in the paint, and as the report notes they have players who are expecting to be factors in the rotation.
They’ll all have to compete for minutes, but the question for Rice is whether he’d have the right balance with 12 players or if there’s a need for one more. And the answer will have an impact on whether or not the Runnin’ Rebels rebound from a disappointing 2014-15 campaign.