2017-05-24 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Carter’s back

For some West Virginia University men’s basketball fans the last month may have been full of angst awaiting the decision of point guard Jevon Carter who declared his intention to explore the NBA draft on April 24. It was made clear at the time that Carter would not hire an agent, that his entry into the draft was almost certainly exploratory and that he would return for his senior season at WVU. Still, one never knows what can happen in the pre-draft process, so there was a collective sigh of relief Monday when Carter announced he would indeed return for his senior season.

“I’m excited about coming back to West Virginia and playing with my teammates for my senior season,” Carter said. “The entire NBA process was a great experience for me and to gain valuable feedback that I can use to prepare for the future.”

Last season center Devin Williams also entered the draft without an agent, but Williams ultimately decided to not return to school even though it was pretty clear his shot at the NBA was slim. In Williams’ case the lure of playing overseas was enough of a hook for him. A year later Williams has played on the Bucks NBA summer league team, Melbourne in Australia where a knee injury derailed his progress after a month and is currently with Greensboro in the NBA development league. Would another year playing college basketball have helped Williams’ path to the NBA?

While I don’t have expert credentials, my thinking is Williams’ NBA stock would have been the same this year as it was last season. He was an extraordinary rebounder in college and likely could be effective in that area in the NBA. The rub is Williams’ lack of athleticism. While not exactly a slug, Williams seemingly lacked the ability to consistently play above the rim, something that is hard to overcome for a big man in the NBA.

It would be interesting to know more about Carter’s evaluation results. He also seems to be a ‘tweener’ at the next level in some areas. Despite being the Mountaineers’ primary point guard for the last three seasons, Carter is not a natural at that position. His natural position would be more of a two-guard, and at 6-2 he is on the small side for the NBA. But Carter is a defensive dynamo as noted by his inclusion on the all Big 12 defensive team all three of his seasons and a national honor last season.

The hunch here is Carter can enhance his NBA prospects with another season in college. Particularly by adding strength so he can utilize his defensive acumen against the stronger NBA guards. In any event, with Daxter Miles also back as a senior, coach Bob Huggins will have a pair of guards with 166 combined starts at WVU. That stat is actually a bit misleading since Carter only started four games as a freshman, but was second to Juwan Staten on the team in minutes played by a guard.

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