Eli Carter has gone from Gator-killer to Gator. The former St. Anthony star who led Rutgers to an upset over then #10 Florida in 2011 with 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists, will be suiting up for the Gators this season after receiving his transfer waiver from the NCAA.
Carter transferred to Florida from Rutgers in the spring after shocking disclosures of abusive behavior by Coach Mike Rice, who was subsequently fired. Carter averaged 14.3 points per game in his two seasons playing for Rutgers, hitting 94 3-pointers in his 56 games, 46 of which were starts.
“We are happy to have Eli available to play this season,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said in a statement released to the media.
Having Carter available will be a godsend for the Gators, who will go the month of November without Scottie Wilbekin, who averaged 9.1 points and 4.9 assists per game last year while earning All-SEC Defensive Team honors. Without Wilbekin, the only point guard on the Florida roster the first month of the season would have been freshman Kasey Hill. Once Wilbekin returns in December, Florida will have one of the deepest and most talented backcourts in college basketball with wings Michael Frazier II, Dillon Graham and Billy Donovan Jr. along with versatile multi-position players Dorian Finney-Smith and Casey Prather.
Carter is a combo guard, as comfortable on the wing as a shooter as he is at the point with the ball in his hands. At Rutgers he was predominately a shooting guard but filled in at the point, which is likely to be his role at Florida.
Carter suffered broken fibula in February in game 24 of Rutgers’ 2012-13 season so he’s only now rounding into basketball condition. His ideal playing weight is 200 pounds, but during his rehab Donovan reported that Carter had put on 15-20 pounds that would have to come off during conditioning.
The Gators are coming off a third straight Elite Eight season and will begin the 2013-14 season ranked in the top ten in both the AP and Coaches polls. Florida’s first game will be November 8 at 3 p.m. against North Florida.