On Monday afternoon, multiple reports surfaced that the NCAA had granted a sixth year of eligibility for Michigan State senior forward Ben Carter. This is huge news for Carter and should also have a significant impact on the Spartans for next season.
As Spartan fans will remember, Carter transferred from UNLV to Michigan State last offseason and was hailed by many as a likely starter for last year’s Spartans. Unfortunately, he would miss all of last season with a lower body injury, leading, at least in part, to many of Michigan State’s frontcourt issues last season.
Prior to his transfer, Carter spent two years at UNLV and two years at Oregon. Although he didn’t play major minutes at either program, he did average roughly 24 minutes per game during the 2015-’16 season before going out with injury. While on the court, he averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
While Carter is not a proven star, there’s little debating that his return is a notable one for the Spartans. If he can come anywhere near his numbers at UNLV, he could very well end up being one of the more productive frontcourt players in next year’s Big Ten. Obviously, that’s huge news for Michigan State, especially considering that Carter will likely play off the bench behind Nick Ward. That’s two great options upfront.
But, of course, that scenario assumes that Carter can replicate his production from UNLV for next year’s Michigan State team. With two serious lower body injuries, one has to wonder whether he will ever be the same player he was during the 2015-’16 season. Fans will hope for the best, but it’s certainly an unknown.
Nonetheless, with Carter set to return for Michigan State, the Spartans are absolutely loaded upfront heading into next season. Not only will the team have Carter and Ward, but it will also have Miles Bridges, Kenny Goins, Gavin Schilling, and an incoming McDonald’s All-American in Jaren Jackson.
Needless to say, that’s a pretty decent group of options.
Whether Michigan State can turn that frontcourt depth into a championship caliber team remains to be seen, but getting Carter back is a great start. Although Carter won’t be the star of next year’s team, perhaps he can be the difference in March, when it counts most.