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    Florida guard Eli Carter. Florida Gators vs North Florida Ospreys. Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville, FL. November 8, 2013.

Healthy Carter ready to
go for the Florida Gators

Written by Ryan Randall, October 22, 2014, 1 Comment,
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Late at night, Eli Carter felt normal.

The jump shots and ballhandling drills with teammates Dorian Finney-Smith and Kasey Hill this summer were a physical reminder of the progress made. Carter could do everything he used to, before the redshirt junior’s career was changed February 16, 2013.

While still at Rutgers, Carter slashed to the basket in the opening minutes of the second half against DePaul. The end result was far worse than the foul call. Carter fractured his fibula, missing the rest of the 2012-13 campaign.

He transferred to Florida the following year, with much anticipation and the belief the injury was behind him.

Only it wasn’t.

Carter would only play 53 minutes in seven games last season, sitting out the rest of the year to rehab his leg. His only points came in the season opener against North Florida; a three-pointer with 11:39 left in the second half.

Florida would go on to an undefeated SEC regular season, an SEC Tournament Championship and the Final Four, all while Carter was sidelined, watching his teammates play.

“Making it to the Final Four, obviously I wasn’t going to be out there,” Carter said. “But I was happy for them. But I would say that was the lowest point.”

During his time away from the game, Carter had the support of family and teammates, as well as staff members such as team athletic trainer Duke Werner. Carter also received encouraging words from longtime friend and current Cleveland Cavalier, Kyrie Irving.

“Just stay focused, stick with the process,” Carter said. “God has a plan for everything.”

After much time away from team workouts, Carter returned to practice Monday. Over the summer, the guard worked out with strength and conditioning coordinator Preston Greene as he prepared for the new season. Fully healthy, Carter is ready to contribute to the Gators.

“I kind of knew where I was last year, it’s been a long process, pretty — 100% now,” Carter said. “Lot of the explosiveness has come back so it’s been pretty uplifting.”

While there was an excitement to get back onto the court, the guard said the goal is to learn and get better while remaining healthy. There hasn’t been a specific role set for Carter, but he wants to be there for his teammates. During DeVon Walker’s rehab from a torn ACL, Carter has been one of the players supporting the injured forward.

“I mean the whole team’s pretty good at that,” Carter said. “We all uplift each other. I’ve given him a couple words. He’s pretty good with that, he’s keeping his hopes high.”

Carter’s support also extends the new additions to the team, transfer players Jon Horford and John Egbunu. Having been through what Horford and Egbunu have gone through, Carter looks to share his experience as well as assist them with the team’s offensive and defensive schemes.

Eli Carter’s return to normalcy arrived during the late night summer workouts, but the path he took while getting there served as a teaching tool to where he is going forward.

“Being injured for a whole year, year and a half really humbled me,” he said. “It let me know how not to take the basketball for granted, so it’s been really good. Brought me closer to my teammates and my coaches.”

Ryan Randall

About Ryan Randall

From Melbourne, Florida, Ryan has lived in Florida since he was three, becoming a sports fan around that age.. His passion for journalism rivals his love of sports. Shortly out of high school he covered prep and community sports for his hometown paper in Brevard Country, before moving to Gainesville, where he covered the Gators in the pros as well as prep sports for a few publications. A Telecommunications major at UF, Ryan now interns at Gator Country and ecstatic to showcase his talents for the publication. When not working on stories, Ryan enjoys playing basketball, music, as well as art. Follow Ryan at @_RyanRandall_

  1. gwaderOctober 22, 2014, 6:17 pm

    It’s great to hear Eli is getting back to where he was before the injury physically and it sounds if he has grown mentally. We need him to be a scorer, but if he can set an example with a great work ethic defensively it could be a huge plus. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the first two games with Chris Walker suspended. have to go with Horford & Dodo and 3 guards, Hill, Frasier & Eli. There’s a long way before opener, but I would guess the first 4 mentioned will start, if not Eli I guess other possibilities are “Jake the Snake”or the Freshman , Robinson. I guess we shall see in a couple of weeks.
    Thank God for Billy D.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/13-11-08_uf-vs-unf-mens-basketball052-150x150.jpg Ryan Randall BasketballFeature ,,,,,,,
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Late at night, Eli Carter felt normal.

The jump shots and ballhandling drills with teammates Dorian Finney-Smith and Kasey Hill this summer were a physical reminder of the progress made. Carter could do everything he used to, before the redshirt junior’s career was changed February 16, 2013.

While still at Rutgers, Carter slashed to the basket in the opening minutes of the second half against DePaul. The end result was far worse than the foul call. Carter fractured his fibula, missing the rest of the 2012-13 campaign.

He transferred to Florida the following year, with much anticipation and the belief the injury was behind him.

Only it wasn’t.

Carter would only play 53 minutes in seven games last season, sitting out the rest of the year to rehab his leg. His only points came in the season opener against North Florida; a three-pointer with 11:39 left in the second half.

Florida would go on to an undefeated SEC regular season, an SEC Tournament Championship and the Final Four, all while Carter was sidelined, watching his teammates play.

“Making it to the Final Four, obviously I wasn’t going to be out there,” Carter said. “But I was happy for them. But I would say that was the lowest point.”

During his time away from the game, Carter had the support of family and teammates, as well as staff members such as team athletic trainer Duke Werner. Carter also received encouraging words from longtime friend and current Cleveland Cavalier, Kyrie Irving.

“Just stay focused, stick with the process,” Carter said. “God has a plan for everything.”

After much time away from team workouts, Carter returned to practice Monday. Over the summer, the guard worked out with strength and conditioning coordinator Preston Greene as he prepared for the new season. Fully healthy, Carter is ready to contribute to the Gators.

“I kind of knew where I was last year, it’s been a long process, pretty — 100% now,” Carter said. “Lot of the explosiveness has come back so it’s been pretty uplifting.”

While there was an excitement to get back onto the court, the guard said the goal is to learn and get better while remaining healthy. There hasn’t been a specific role set for Carter, but he wants to be there for his teammates. During DeVon Walker’s rehab from a torn ACL, Carter has been one of the players supporting the injured forward.

“I mean the whole team’s pretty good at that,” Carter said. “We all uplift each other. I’ve given him a couple words. He’s pretty good with that, he’s keeping his hopes high.”

Carter’s support also extends the new additions to the team, transfer players Jon Horford and John Egbunu. Having been through what Horford and Egbunu have gone through, Carter looks to share his experience as well as assist them with the team’s offensive and defensive schemes.

Eli Carter’s return to normalcy arrived during the late night summer workouts, but the path he took while getting there served as a teaching tool to where he is going forward.

“Being injured for a whole year, year and a half really humbled me,” he said. “It let me know how not to take the basketball for granted, so it’s been really good. Brought me closer to my teammates and my coaches.”

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