Posted: 2:22 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2013
By Andy Hutchins
Is there a Rutgers-to-Florida pipeline under construction? The transfer of Rutgers shooting guard Eli Carter to Florida three years after the transfer of Rutgers shooting guard Mike Rosario would suggest that much, and FOX Sports' Evan Daniels reported that Carter will do just that minutes before Carter confirmed the news.
Eli Carter is headed to Florida, a source says.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDanielsFOX) April 30, 2013
Proud to announce that I will be continuing my career at the University of Florida !! #Gators— Eli Carter (@Eli_Carter5) April 30, 2013
Carter visited Florida over the weekend, and was thought to be deciding between Florida and Maryland. He was also thought to be leaning heavily to the Gators.
Carter is a 6'2" guard with decent ball skills and some of the same shoot-first (and shoot-second, and shoot-third) tendencies that Rosario had at Rutgers, taking shots on more than 30 percent of his possessions before an injury ended his 2012-13 season. But Carter also averaged 14.9 points per game last season, and dropped 23 on a very good Georgetown defense — his offense is likely the reason he got a look from Florida, along with memories of Carter's 31-point torching of the Gators in December 2011.
Carter, who might have a good case for a waiver that allows him to play right away as a junior in the light of Mike Rice's firing, also solves a problem of depth in the backcourt, where only senior-to-be Scottie Wilbekin, incoming freshman Kasey Hill, and rising sophomore Braxton Ogbueze would seem to be candidates to play at point guard, together constituting an unusually small and young group of ball-handlers for a Billy Donovan team. Carter provide insurance against Florida being left with just Ogbueze in 2014-15 should Hill depart for the NBA, and would provide much-needed depth if available in 2013-14.
Two things likely to work against Carter with Florida fans? His height is less than ideal (Florida hasn't had a starting guard taller than Wilbekin's 6'3" in quite some time, thanks to the reign of Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton) and his three-point shooting has been lacking, dipping from 35.3 percent as a freshman to 32.0 percent as a sophomore.
Carter will have three years to play two seasons as a transfer, and, again, might apply for a waiver that would make him eligible to play in 2013-14.