Robert Carter slipped through the NBA mock drafts but still looks to be one of the draft classes biggest sleeper picks.
Draft Express recently posted a mock draft that put him in the mid second-round with the Atlanta Hawks as the No. 44 selection. While Maryland teammate Diamond Stone currently ranks higher in mock drafts, Carter can make a name for himself if given the right opportunity.
It's easy for teams to pass on Carter with his college career taking part in two schools with a red-shirt year in between. He started with Georgia Tech where he flourished overall as a power forward, averaging 11.4 points and 8.4 rebounds his sophomore year before transferring to Maryland. Georgia Tech produced great forwards in the NBA like Derrick Favors and Chris Bosh, but he felt that his best opportunity to grow as a player would be as a Terrapin.
And he was right.
Red-shirting his first year in Maryland turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he developed into a modern forward. In Georgia he played as an interior scoring, physical and bruising player. He clocked in at Maryland at 6 foot 8 inches and 260 pounds, but by the 2015-2016 season, he slimmed down while maintaining his strength.
"I wouldn't let Robert call it a year off," said Maryland basketball director Kyle Tarp. "It was a 'get better' year," according to Washington Top News.
His red-shirted year did him wonders and demonstrated to scouts that he is capable of difficult changes to training and diets.
His claim to fame came with his lone season in Maryland as he was a pivotal piece for the NCAA tournament run. Maryland reached the Sweet 16 round for the first time since 2003 while he averaged 12.3 points, third most on team, and a team-leading 6.9 rebounds. His 1.9 assists per game ranked third for the team and third for power forwards according to Draft Express per 40 minute average.
His development into a stretch four came as no surprise. Old fashioned big men are becoming a thing of the past with some exceptions while the ability to shoot from deep is almost a necessity. Everyone wants the next Draymond Green.
Carter's 7 foot 3 inch wingspan and height makes him a difficult matchup to guard against. His strong inside game had him score on a 62.4 percent clip inside the arc while displaying good ball movement and footwork. His soft touch helps him extend his shot to the mid range, but his three point shooting remains a struggle. He improved in his time with Maryland with 33 percent average, but his collegiate career remains under 30 percent. His rebounding numbers don't jump off the page either, but he led the team in rebounding while averaging 8.2 defensive and 2.6 offensive rebounds with a 40 minute adjusted average.
With Maryland he helped carry the team though the tournament while Melo Trimble struggled with injuries. He scored 10 or more points in 20 of the 25 games, tied for the most alongside teammate Diamond Stone. His clutch play made him a school hero, as he would always fill the void when someone was struggling. Whether it was Trimble with his nagging injuries or Stone with foul trouble, he always came through.
And that is what he can contribute to the NBA. An ever consistent player off the bench who can weather any storm when the team or certain starters are struggling. His all-around play is well documented as he recorded at least one steal, block and assist in nine games.
His draft stock got a boost as scouts and reporters got a taste of his potential at the NBA draft combine with his 22 point, 7 rebound performance. Scouts applauded his strong mid range game, pick and roll offense and tantalizing defense.
One lucky team will get a steal in the draft with him by the second round.