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3 reasons why Robert Carter's NBA decision makes sense


3 reasons why Robert Carter's NBA decision makes sense

Robert Carter, Jr. made it official on Thursday, with the program announcing that he would enter the NBA Draft and plan to sign with an agent. That means forfeiting his one year of college eligibility remaining and fully committing to going pro, once he inks with an agent.

The agent component of the equation aside, a decision that takes away some of the flexibility that new NBA Draft entry rules afford, here are three reasons why Carter's decision to declare makes sense.

1) He has a coveted NBA skill set

There are few sets of skills more valuable to NBA teams right now than players who fit the stretch-four mold. In his single season at Maryland, Carter built on the groundwork he laid at Georgia Tech and the results are clear -- he improved dramatically.

His work during the season he sat showed in a 10 percentage-point jump in field goal percentage (to 56 percent), an eight percentage-point jump in three-point percentage (to 34 percent), and an increase in scoring to 12.8 points per game. That's his resume for the next level now. 

His worth ethic is unquestioned, so one would think that the trend would continue upward. That also applies to the areas of his game that are weakest. Can he make the same strides defensively that he did offensively?

2) This would have been the end of the college road for him (originally)

Turning 22 years old this week, Carter has been in school for four years. He just happened to sit out one of those years after transferring from Georgia Tech. So, yes, he has another year of eligibility available to him, but moralizers should be quieted by the fact that he is already on track to attain his college degree this spring.


Four years in school with a college degree in hand at 22 years old? That's what everyone says a player ought to do anyway before going pro.

It's never about if a player is "ready." It's about whether an NBA team thinks what you bring to the table is valuable enough to draft or sign into the franchise and whether that base set of skills you have can then be molded by that coaching staff. 

3) An outstanding final college season doesn't always mean being a first-round pick

The line of thinking is always that coming back for another year and posting strong numbers automatically means that you push yourself into the first round of the NBA Draft. Just look at other guys in this year's draft and you'll see that's not always the case. 

Perry Ellis was the anchor for Kansas this season (and was a game-changer in his team's Sweet 16 win over Maryland). DraftExpress projects him to go 59th overall -- the second-to-last pick in the draft. Yogi Ferrell was All-Big Ten as a senior. DraftExpress? Projected 56th overall. 

DraftExpress has only three seniors being selected in the first round of this year's draft. Two were without question the two best players in college basketball all year -- Buddy Hield and Denzel Valentine. The other is Baylor's Taurean Prince.

There's no guarantee that even if Carter posted All-Big Ten numbers that he would really move up in the draft all that much. If he is projected to go 50th now, has a strong season, and ends up at, say, 35th overall, was it really worth it? 

His earnings potential, either in the NBA or overseas, is there. It's difficult to turn that down at this point.

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Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State


Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State

RALEIGH, N.C.  — Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and North Carolina State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high.

Kalia Ealey and Chelsea Nelson added 12 points apiece while Akela Maize scored 11 to help the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (26-8) earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since the late Kay Yow led an inspirational run in 2007.


N.C. State, which shot 45 percent and was 7 of 14 from 3-point range, will play the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State winner on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Brianna Fraser had 17 points for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-8), who were held to 37 percent shooting.

Leading scorer Kaila Charles, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with four points -- 14 fewer than her average -- on 2-of-8 shooting before fouling out with 2:29 left. She had scored in double figures in 30 of her previous 33 games.

Maryland's offense, which averages 80 points, had trouble scoring against one of the nation's stingiest defenses.

N.C. State allows 56.7 points per game and only one team in the past two months -- top-seeded Notre Dame -- has reached 70 against the Wolfpack.


Maryland: The Terrapins were denied their sixth Sweet 16 in seven years in part because their potent perimeter game was nonexistent. Maryland, at 39.1 percent the nation's seventh-most accurate team, missed all five of its 3s. Kristen Confroy, who's third in the nation from long range at 40.3 percent, didn't attempt one.

N.C. State: Leslie kept tormenting her former teammates by turning steals into layups. Big brother C.J. Leslie led the N.C. State men's program to a Sweet 16 in 2012, and now she's headed to one, too.


N.C. State will play either top-seeded Mississippi State or ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.


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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."