Frank Martin may be the gift that keeps on giving for Friar fans. He introduced us to cult hero and defensive stalwart Justin Minaya for one memorable year. Now, history is trending towards repeating itself with South Carolina freshman guard Devin Carter visiting Providence this upcoming weekend after putting PC in his Final 6.
Below, we break down Carter’s game and what he would bring to future Friar squads.
High School Pedigree
Carter’s high school profile and recruitment is certainly interesting. Carter was a unanimous Top 100 blue chip 4 star recruit, coming in at 86 overall in the Composite rankings. Despite being a a Top 100 recruit, his offer list didn’t scream 4 star prospect, with programs like DePaul, VCU, and Richmond battling Carolina for his enrollment.
Carter is the son of Anthony Carter, a 13 year vet of the NBA. Bloodlines are strong with this one.
Carter is originally from South Florida, but later enrolled at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. That may be the origin of Cooley’s interest, as Providence isn’t listed as being involved in his high school recruitment.
Carter is listed as a combo guard (more on that later) and was the #7 combo guard in the Class of 2021.
Freshman Year – South Carolina
Depending on where you look, Carter is listed as 6’3-6’4. In Carter’s freshman year, he averaged 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists on only 19 minutes a game.
While South Carolina was by no means a juggernaut, putting up those numbers in the SEC as a true freshman is impressive. He was able to put up scoring in bunches against some quality opponents, which should bode well for Carter potentially enrolling in the Big East.
Carter only shot 27% from 3, but was actually known as a good shooter in high school, so I’ll presume that is due to college acclimation. Carter shot 68% from the charity stripe, so I think it is fair to assume Carter will ultimately become a 30-40% shooter from deep throughout his college career.
Where Carter needs to improve most is on his release point of his jump shot. Despite having plus size, he eliminates that advantage by releasing the ball at eye/shoulder level (rather than extending and releasing high above his head), allowing smaller guards to contest the shot. He also needs to have a quicker release, which is something all coaching staffs can remedy.
Breaking Down Carter’s Game
The first thing that jumps out to me (besides his impeccable flow) is Carter’s athleticism. He absolutely plays above the rim and can attack off the dribble. That is where he is presently at his best. At this juncture in his career, he is more of a slasher than shooter. He’ll need to continue to develop his body to withstand the rigors of high level college basketball, but that’s to be expected of most second year collegiate players.
Besides physical development, Carter needs to round his game out and become a more consistent and accurate shooter. If he becomes a consistent threat from deep, it forces teams to play up on him on the perimeter. That plays right into his ability to attack off the dribble and finish at and above the rim.
Analyzing the Competition
Providence is in the Final 6 with UConn, Oregon, Arkansas, LSU, and UNLV. My Big East bias is showing, but I ultimately think this comes down to PC or Connecticut.
Arkansas has already landed about 15 transfers this year, and I’m not sure going out west to UNLV or Oregon would be too appealing to a kid from Florida. LSU is a wild card here, as their new coach can promise plenty of minutes due to the exodus of players leaving after Will Wade was fired. If it were me, I’m not sure I’d want to spend my collegiate years playing for a program that will likely get hit with significant NCAA sanctions.
Thus, it leaves the Friars and Huskies. Connecticut has a ton of minutes available in the backcourt with Cole, Diggins, and Gaffney all departing the program. Providence cannot promise those same amount of minutes, but I believe Minaya’s fantastic year last year in Providence, as well as Coach Frank Martin’s positive sentiments towards Cooley, will go a long way in considering Providence. Whomever lands Carter has a player with 3 years of eligibility remaining.
Carter’s immediate impact next year will likely depend on if Reeves returns and who else Cooley lands in both 2022 and the transfer portal. At a minimum, Carter can add some scoring punch off the bench, while being a pesky defensive player in the open floor.
Ultimately, Friar fans should look at Carter potentially developing into a player like David Duke Jr. who used his athleticism to be a 2 way impact player. Duke’s jump shot developed over time, and I think that would be a great career trajectory for Carter. He may never develop into a pure point, but can play off the ball alongside Bynum, Berry, and Pierre.
If Carter does transfer to Providence, it increases the athleticism of a Friar squad looking to make a repeat to the NCAA tournament. They often say a player makes his biggest leap from his freshman to sophomore year, and all Friar fans should love the thought of a sophomore Carter joining the fray. We should know by early next week where Carter is leaning. It wouldn’t shock me to see him pop for the Friars on Sunday or Monday.