Thursday, January 24, 2013
New role for Eli Carter
By Matt Giles
We wrote recently about Eli Carter; the offensively electric but erratic guard is capable of scoring points at a hurried clip -- 23 points in a win against Pittsburgh -- but he also can force shots, a tactic that affects not only his confidence but the Scarlet Knights' offensive efficiency and flow. In a recent loss to St. John's, Carter struggled against the Red Storm's overall athleticism, and missed his first six shots (in the first half) and committed four turnovers.
In their quest to topple Steve Lavin's squad, a feat that had no been accomplished in one season since 1978-79, coach Mike Rice did the previously unthinkable: he pulled Carter from the game and the guard remained on the bench for the final four or so minutes. Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger spoke to Rice after the game to get his thoughts on the benching: "If it's not dropping for one reason, pick up the challenge defensively. Make some assists. Do something. Make a play for your team. A winning play. Right now, it's affecting him. Putting the ball in the bucket is affecting the way he does other things when he's on the floor."
It will be interesting to see what will be Rutgers' strategy as Big East play progresses. At one point this season, Carter was a starter, but after his field goal percentages dipped dramatically, Rice moved Carter to the bench, a transition that helped both Carter and the team. However, since Carter is the team's leading scorer and only of the few Scarlet Knights capable of breaking down his defender and scoring in the halfcourt, it's clear there needs to be a change.