Eli Carter, a guard transfer from Rutgers who was made eligible immediately and played one full season with the Florida Gators, will transfer for the second time in his college career, a source close to the program confirmed to OnlyGators.com on Monday.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had here at Florida,” Carter said in a statement released by the school. “I’ll always appreciate the coaches, teammates and fans that made my time here memorable.”
CBSSports.com‘s Jon Rothstein first reported Carter’s move, noting that the player will be immediately eligible in 2015-16 as he will earn his undergraduate degree. The Gators confirmed it later in the day.
“We appreciate everything that Eli has done in his two years in Gainesville,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “We all wish him well and will do whatever we can to help him take this next step in his career.”
Ending a sophomore campaign in which he averaged 14.9 points per game for Rutgers by breaking his leg, Carter transferred to Florida and was granted immediately eligibility after his coach, Mike Rice, was fired by the school. He posted 13.8 points per game as a true freshman for the Scarlet Knights.
Carter was unable to stay on the court for the Gators during his junior season for health reasons as his rehabbed broken leg developed into a severely limiting ankle injury. He only played seven games before finding himself on the bench during Florida’s school-record run through the season and into the 2014 Final Four.
After earning a medical redshirt, Carter returned to the court as a starter for the Gators during the 2014-15 campaign but was largely ineffective, averaging 8.8 points on 36.2 percent shooting in 24.5 minutes per game.
Carter’s departure leaves the Gators, which were just days ago one scholarship over the limit after signing their 2015 class, one scholarship below the NCAA maximum of 13. He is also the third player to leave Florida this offseason with eligibility remaining, joining G Michael Frazier II and center Chris Walker, both of whom declared for the 2015 NBA Draft. Forward Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s best player from last season, decided to return to UF for his redshirt senior year.
It is currently unknown whether the Gators plan to make an attempt to fill that slot.
Florida will not lack for guard play in 2015-16 in Carter’s absence. Junior Kasey Hill and sophomore Chris Chiozza will run the point for the Gators, while redshirt junior DeVon Walker and redshirt freshman Brandone Francis attempt to crack the starting lineup.
Signee KeVaughn Allen, the nation’s 58th ranked player, should also make a play for court time, and Florida will also be able to play a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards in sophomore Devin Robinson and signee Keith Stone at the two.