It's the closest two college basketball teams can come to making a trade.
First, ex-Georgia Tech power forward Robert Carter transferred to Maryland last week. Then on Thursday, ex-Maryland power forward Charles Mitchell announced he was taking Carter's spot at Georgia Tech.
The better of that exchange probably went to Maryland because Carter emerged as one of the top young big men in the ACC last season. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 11.4 points and 8.4 rebounds during a sophomore season interrupted by a torn meniscus that sidelined him all of January.
To appreciate Carter's contributions to Georgia Tech last season, consider how the Yellowjackets fared with and without him. They started 9-4 prior to his injury and notched decent wins over Illinois and rival Georgia. They staggered to a 3-7 start to ACC play during the games he missed. They continued to struggle as he regained his form in early February before showing signs of life in March when he averaged 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds in the team's final six games.
Mitchell is unlikely to match Carter's scoring output, but he might be able to soften the blow of his departure on the glass.
In two seasons at Maryland, Mitchell became a formidable rebounder, averaging 6.0 points and 5.8 boards and ranking 12th nationally in rebounding percentage as a sophomore. Conditioning remained an ongoing issue for Mitchell, which led to some struggles defensively against quicker, more agile opposing big men.
Whereas Carter will almost certainly have to sit out next season at Maryland, Mitchell appears to be a strong candidate to earn a hardship waiver enabling him to play right away for Georgia Tech. The Atlanta native chose to leave Maryland after his sophomore season in part to be closer to his ailing grandmother.
If Mitchell can play next season for Georgia Tech, that would be critical for a program thin in the frontcourt.
With starting center Daniel Miller and top backup Kammeon Holsey both graduating and Carter lost to a transfer, Georgia Tech either would have had to play perimeter-oriented Quinton Stephens at power forward more often than he's comfortable or rely exclusively on newcomers to solidify the frontcourt. Now they may be able to plug Mitchell in right away at power forward and solidify a position that once appeared destined to be a weak spot.
For more information about Georgia Tech, visit JacketsOnline.com.
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