Posted: 3:58 pm Monday, May 19th, 2014

Examining Robert Carter’s transfer decision 

By Ken Sugiura

Former Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter said he wanted to transfer to put himself “in a better position” to achieve his goals, namely playing in the NCAA tournament and getting himself ready for the NBA. Is that possible? Let’s look at both.

Going to the tournament

Making the tournament – clearly, there are any number of schools Carter could transfer to where his chances of playing in the NCAA would increase. Tech not only finished 16-17 but lost key players in Daniel Miller, Kammeon Holsey and Trae Golden. Had Jason Morris been healthy this season, you could have included him, as well.

With Carter back, the Yellow Jackets could have stood a chance to improve in the coming season, and certainly by the time he and Marcus Georges-Hunt were seniors and Tadric Jackson was a sophomore.

But, still, not as good a chance as he might have elsewhere. His reported schools of interest, though, are curious – St. John’s, Maryland and South Carolina, according to CBS Sports Network college basketball writer Jon Rothstein. (Carter’s AAU coach Winfred Jordan reportedly told SNY.tv that Baylor and Texas are also possibilities in addition to the three aforementioned teams.) St. John’s made the NIT last year and returns most of its key players, but has not made the NCAA tournament since 2011, coach Steve Lavin’s first season, despite the No. 3 recruiting class in 2011. Lavin did go to the tournament six of seven years at UCLA.

Maryland has missed the past four NCAA tournaments, and, alarmingly, four players have transferred out in the past month. Coach Mark Turgeon does bring in a recruiting class ranked No. 9 by ESPN that, if Carter were to transfer there and sit out a year, would be sophomores when he became eligible for the 2015-16 season. In four years at Texas A&M, he took the Aggies took to the NCAA tournament every year. But Maryland finished this season 17-15.

If South Carolina ends up being Carter’s option, that would be the most puzzling destination of the three. The Gamecocks finished 14-20 and have not been to the NCAA tournament since 2004. They last won an NCAA tournament game in 1973. Further, South Carolina’s leading scorer, Brenton Williams, just graduated. South Carolina did have the No. 23 recruiting class in 2013.

Going to the NBA

Lavin did have a strong run at UCLA of getting players into the NBA, although it’s easier to do that there than elsewhere. By my count, there were 11 players he coached and/or recruited as head coach who were drafted in seven seasons at UCLA (some were drafted after he was fired in 2003). Still, I’d think being able to claim 11 players into the NBA would be attention-getting.

One St. John’s player has been drafted since his hire, first-rounder Maurice Harkless in 2012.

Turgeon has had one player drafted at Maryland, No. 5 overall pick Alex Len last year. He had two players drafted at Texas A&M, both second-rounders. One other undrafted player is also in the NBA from Texas A&M.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin had two players drafted in five seasons at Kansas State, including No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley in 2008. There has been one player drafted out of South Carolina since 1999.

Gregory has not had a player at Tech or Dayton drafted, but it would be worth noting that three players he coached at Dayton are in the NBA now. Prior to the three, the school had last had a player in the league in 1999. And, obviously, Dayton was largely precluded from bringing in the type of players that would turn into draftable talent.

What if he stayed?
Another way of looking at it: Is it harder to get drafted off a non-tournament team than one that goes to the NCAA tournament?

In the past three drafts, 57 players were drafted in the first round that played on NCAA tournament teams in the season prior to their draft compared to 18 players who played on non-tournament teams (including Tech’s Iman Shumpert in 2011). It would stand to reason that the number would be greater; if a team had a player worth drafting in the first round, chances are the team was good enough to get into the NCAA tournament.

Regardless, 57-18 is a pretty significant difference. It would bear mention, though, that of the 18, half were lottery picks. Last year, Maryland’s Len (a Turgeon recruit) was taken No. 5, Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and No. 8 and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum went 10th. (Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel went sixth; technically counted as a player from a non-tournament team.) So it’s not as though not going to the tournament is some sort of unerasable scarlet letter.

On the other hand, a player on a more competitive team is likely to face more competition for minutes, shots and opportunities to demonstrate his game. Carter would have been the focal point of Tech’s offense, which he might not be able to do on a better team.

There is also a cost of moving out of the ACC. The conference has had 26 draft picks in the past five drafts, the most of any conference. (The Big East was second with 21.) Almost certainly, ACC teams play in front of as many scouts on a nightly basis as any conference in the country and certainly enjoy their share of TV exposure.

16 and 8

Finally, Carter was at his best in the final six games of the season, when he was most recovered from his meniscus tear. He averaged 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Since 1998, there have been 18 players in the ACC who’ve averaged 16 and 8 in the season prior to their being drafted. (Tyler Hansbrough did it twice.) Of the 18, 11 were drafted in the first round, five were drafted in the second and two went undrafted. If he had been able to reproduce the numbers he put up in those final six games next year – which would seem eminently achievable – and prove his worth over a full ACC season, chances are his ability would have been recognized by the NBA, regardless of Tech’s record.

Is transferring the right decision? Who knows? I know it was mystifying to people within the team, if only because Carter did not show any signs of being unhappy, he appeared to be developing and he had an opportunity to be the team’s central player for the next two years. I don’t know if someone crunched the numbers for Carter, but the 57-18 statistic could be convincing, although it’s hard to know exactly how much credence to put into it. That said, Carter also would have had plenty of influence over whether or not Tech made the tournament.

Another unknowable – what if Carter and other players hadn’t gotten injured? It is not unreasonable to believe Tech would have won three or four more games and at least gotten into the NIT tournament. If the Jackets had been able to make a run in the tournament, even though it would have been the NIT, the season past likely would have been perceived differently and likely the season ahead, as well. It would be easier to think of Tech as a team with momentum if it had won a couple games, particularly if Carter and Marcus Georges-Hunt and other returnees had played well. Maybe it would have been enough to convince Carter to stay.

In the end, it’s Carter’s career and his future, so it’s hard to fault someone for doing what he thinks is the most advantageous for him. Believing he would be better off elsewhere wouldn’t be the most outlandish conclusion, although it would make more sense if he were to transfer somewhere like Connecticut or Florida, two schools that have both had tournament success and had plenty of NBA draftees (if those schools were interested). Only time will tell.

31 comments
wreckbone
wreckbone

I disagree with him not recruiting well. Top twenty recruiting two out of 3 years and the other was a bust with the blue chip early enrolling. So you guys who say he can't recruit dint know what you are talking about. He not recruiting like coach k or Roy at unc but he's bringing in talent. And to build a foundation you don't need those. We just need better scoring. All the other things are settling into place.

juvenal
juvenal

Ken, you realize by deleting his post, only he, you, & me can see what a zinger i made..........

juvenal
juvenal

by definition, bmd, folks with lice scratch their heads.......

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

"In the past three drafts, 57 players were drafted in the first round that played on NCAA tournament teams in the season prior to their draft compared to 18 players who played on non-tournament teams"

-------------

There are a couple of problems with this statement.  For starters, 30 players a year are drafted in the first round - meaning that 90 players were drafted in the first round in the last 3 years.  The "missing 15" players never even played in college basketball.  

The other problem is that correlation does not equal causation.  The players aren't getting drafted high because their team went to the NCAA's.  Their team is going to the NCAA's because it has NBA talent on it.

If you are good enough it doesn't matter where you played basketball or whether your team went to the NCAA Tourney - the NBA will find you.

POAD2014
POAD2014

Not sure what to say but I bet a car salesman could sell him a corvair or a pinto.

TECH BBall might not be a Corvette right now but it isn't a Chevette either.

fuzzybee86
fuzzybee86

All this analysis is great but it really came down to the fact that he wanted to play forward (his natural position in the NBA) and was destined to be playing center next year. He needs to be playing the position he will ultimately play as a pro to "help him achieve his goals". The transfer was probably a wise move on his part but unfortunately bad for the jackets. 

wreckbone
wreckbone

I understand those numbers focused on tourney no tourney teams. But he should have watched a broadcast. The only guys the announcers talk about from gt were cater g-hunt and golden. And I dint think Carter will play against any better players than in the acc. I could understand if his numbers were like Boldens last year but he killed it especially at the end. I think what it really was is these kids are not used to losing acc that's what he didn't like, the same as is long time tech hoops fans.

But the way I saw it we were in many games. Lost by small margins. Not like Hewitt where when we lost we were pretty much laughed out of the gym.

I think he was going pro regardless of where he plays. I don't think he will perform like Nelson at uconn. I think he will do well. But leaving only delays his goals having to sit out a year.

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

Good article.  As someone who transferred into GT freshman year it was a good academic decision.  I'm surprised more attention is not paid to transfers as they have other experience and some maturity particularly after 2 years somewhere else. America is now that kind of Country.  GT is a school many would like to attend so it's important that student/athletes want to be there. FSU had a 27 year old QB a few years ago and GT basketball had Yvonne Joseph, a 25 year old Haitian if not mistaken under Bobby Cremins..  Best wishes to Carter as he is a good student/athlete. The school's not for everyone so it's important that recruiting targets student/athletes who want to be there.  My time in Virginia was nice but GT is where I learned the most and Atlanta.

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

demarco cox out performed rc head to head last year for those of you who forgot . we got our a%% kicked to boot.  if i recall many of carters points came AFTER they had built up a 20+ point lead.  cox/ carter 15/13 pts  13/13 reb  1/0 blcks  shting percentage 66%/33%

i think we will do just fine with cox. we didnt have enough in the paint warriors last year.   cox fixes that problem,

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Don't know if this was a factor, but many Tech athlete transfers give the same reason as do over half the non-athletes that start at Tech and end up transferring----Georgia Tech is just extremely rigorous academically. It's hard work.

While the diploma's value is well above average, the path is certainly not the one of least resistance to an athlete whose primary goal is playing a sport professionally.

Best wishes to Carter. Hope he lands on his feet and makes a zillion dollars in the NBA.

RBR
RBR

It's a good bet Carter will end up at St John's with Lavin as coach.  It makes total sense.  

TheNecromancer
TheNecromancer

I remember when Chris Bosh left for the NBA and the ACC ROY Ed Nelson transferred.  Things worked out pretty good for Tech the next season.

Oakland
Oakland

I'm looking forward to some new guys coming in. Remember Tech blew some leads last year. Glad Delmarco Cox is on board.

jeffphillips
jeffphillips

The bottom line is Gregory can't recruit the type of talent Carter wants to play with.

fuzzybee78
fuzzybee78

Let me say I like CBG as a coach and a person. I see the underling issue as his ability to recruit enough talent at GT to compete for an ACC title. I think that RCJr thinks that he can't. 


Cremins recruited on his personality, playing in the ACC, pre APR, play as a freshmen. You may have to have a former NBA GT player to attract top talent to GT given the rigors of the majors. Time will tell, but thats my read on between the lines… 

ToddE
ToddE

Re: "namely playing in the NCAA tournament and getting himself ready for the NBA"

- The 'NCAA tournament' bit is just saying you think your teammates and/or coaches can't cut it.  I don't know which it is, but clearly he doesn't see GT getting elevated anytime soon.

- The 'ready for the NBA' bit is just a bunch of B.S.  Playing *against* ACC competition another year would be the #1 way to get ready for the NBA.

GTBob
GTBob

He listened to some pretty bad advice from an old coach. I am pretty sure it is something he will regret.

inoto20
inoto20

What's the point of this? He left. Who cares at this point.

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

Deleting the post confirms it must be true! 

GO DAWGS!!!!

juvenal
juvenal

the scouts will find you, nfl draft based more on your combine than what you did in college......FA Cup winners with Ramsey back, Paul, Y'all had a critical late injury, injuries & ego all part of $port$ these days.....after living 3 years in WR,  macon south is a gnatsy place, should give it all to FLA.....

gt1995
gt1995

@jeffphillips  


Huh??? CBG can't recruit the type of talent that Carter wants to play with but was a good enough recruiter to land Carter himself???


I think other folks have said it pretty clearly already. Carter was going to be playing inside as a power 4 or 5 and he wants to play more outside like 3 or a stretch 4. In a flex offense, that is not a big deal because if he is the 5, he would have a serious mismatch against the opposing center. The real issue is that he would have to bang around on defense on the interior which can be very bruising.


One other possibility is that he simply didn't mesh with the new assistant brought in to help coach the big men.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@jeffphillips  

Unfortunately for Carter, by the time he is eligible to play again, the other players on whichever team he ends up on may say he's not the type of talent they want to play with either.

GGee
GGee

I agree with your assessment. Bad advice from a coach of AAU aka Streetball team. He needs to think about reconsidering if that is a possibility. If he goes to a crappy school it will be a big indictment of CBG IMO. Nothing he would have daid would make any sense unless he goes to a contender.

juvenal
juvenal

since you folks have intellectual challenges, i'll say it simply-if you are in a lousy place, that is, a place with lice, you will of necessity scratch your head, that's their favorite habitat-your post a humourous non sequiter, tho' superficially boring & redundant, & therefore worth deleting, having as it's only possible excuse for existence my witty riposte; concommitantly, canines have fleas & ticks, so your arena is much buggier....still, to keep it something simple you can understand--------TO HELL!!!!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@juvenal

It was a good final - you must have been ready to throw up 10 mins in though.

Ramsey is a heck of a player - I wish he  (and Bale and Seamus Coleman) was English

GT1971
GT1971

@GGee  That is a very good point - bad advice from an AAU coach.  Why would said coach have that much influence on Carter at this point?

juvenal
juvenal

they fielded a "British" team for the Olympics......the fact there is a Gibralter side shows how absurd it can get............one of the things that makes the bigger clubs better is that the better atheletes have more pace..............Bayern made an argument for GLT, but i would prefer just to have 2 onfield refs........