In the past six weeks, the NCAA has delivered good news to three former Rutgers players who left the Scarlet Knights program in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal and petitioned to be cleared to play immediately at their new school.
As a result, it's no surprise that the lone remaining Rutgers transfer waiting for his ruling also had his waiver request granted.
Florida confirmed Monday morning that combo guard Eli Carter has been cleared to play for the Gators this upcoming season. The addition of the high-scoring Carter will be a signficant boost to Florida's backcourt assuming he has regained his explosiveness less than a year after gruesomely fracturing his right fibula when he was fouled going up for a layup in a Feb. 16 game against DePaul.
Carter averaged 14.9 points per game and erupted for 20 or more eight times last season as a sophomore, but Florida fans probably best remember him for his 31-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist masterpiece against the Gators on Dec. 29, 2011. His shot selection and decision-making with the ball in his hands at Rutgers was often dubious, but his scoring ability nonetheless should help a Gators team in need of perimeter scoring punch to replace Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario.
How much of a role Carter plays this season could depend on his health, but he may come off the bench regardless of how his leg recovers.
Florida has two steadier, more natural point guards than Carter in Scottie Wilbekin and McDonald's All-American Kasey Hill, assuming Wilbekin is reinstated to the team after an offseason suspension. Carter should have no problem playing off ball, but the starting shooting guard position could be earmarked for Michael Frazier because his prowess from behind the arc will help space the floor for the rest of the Gators.
It's important for Florida that Carter buys into the team concept in Gainesville the way he never had to previously. Carter's shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio were both poor at Rutgers because he had to serve as a primary catalyst offensively, but he'll be much more of a complementary weapon for the Gators.