While the Michigan State Spartans have a great recruiting class coming in, there are still some questions surrounding the team as they build their roster for the 2016-2017 campaign. One of the biggest questions around the Spartans and Tom Izzo heading into the summer was the look of their front court this coming year.
Well, while a transfer isn't going to solve everything, Sparty picked up a big answer to that question Wednesday with the announcement that Ben Carter, a 6'9" graduate transfer from the UNLV Runnin' Rebels was taking his size and skill to East Lansing to finish his collegiate career as a Spartan.
The Spartans lost front court depth in the graduation of Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman along with freshman Deyonta Davis declaring for the NBA draft and the announcement that Javon Bess and Marvin Clark will both transfer from the program. While they are bringing in Carter and hoping for him to fill the front court along with Gavin Schilling and Kenny Goins, even Carter will arrive on campus with questions.
On January 30th, Carter suffered a torn ACL in a game against San Diego State. He says that his rehab is going very well, and that he hopes to be back to 100% by mid-September or early October. That's good news for the Spartans, because a 100% Ben Carter is a very good piece for a program aspiring to win a National Championship this coming season. For UNLV last season after transferring from Oregon, where he started his career, Carter averaged 8.6 points and 6 rebounds in just 24 minutes per game. Carter also shot 55.6% from the field last season, good for second best on the team.
Along with his offensive production, the Spartans are also getting a good defender with some shot blocking ability. Last season, Carter averaged 1.4 blocks per game for the Runnin' Rebels. While future fellow front court mate Gavin Schilling is more of an athletic big man, Carter looks to provide a more stretch option for the front court of Michigan State while still having enough size to be a post presence when necessary.
Carter comes to Michigan State hoping to cut down the nets in his final season, and Tom Izzo and Michigan State certainly provides a great opportunity for him to do so next April. He chose the Spartans over 5 other schools, including remaining at UNLV for his final season.
Neither Tom Izzo or his staff can comment on the news until Ben Carter officially signs with the school, but it's quite obvious that if Carter really can come back from his ACL at 100% at or near the beginning of the year, that the already high expectations in East Lansing will only get much higher.
Along with the now three returning post players for the Spartans in Schilling, Goins and now Carter, the Spartans have a power forward/center from Ohio in Nick Ward heading to campus to join the front court, and with the addition of Carter, the Spartans will still have one scholarship spot for the 2016-17 season and will possibly be looking to add another front court piece.