By Sebastian Obando
The buzzer sounded as Robert Carter Jr. stepped off the court in an 89-81 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday. Despite suffering the first defeat of the season, Carter Jr. is enjoying an impressive season with the Terps so far. Although suiting up in the Maryland colors for the first time in November, the Georgia native is already in his second year with the basketball program.
Transferring over from Georgia Tech during the summer of 2014, Carter Jr. was ineligible last season due to NCAA regulations. Instead, the 6-9 forward only practiced with the squad, gaining chemistry with his new teammates and learning under the direction of head coach Mark Turgeon. This year, the junior took that understanding acquired in training and applied the skills to his game. Carter Jr. has posted double-digit points in every game this season, and has started in all seven of the Terps’ games.
“I’m taking better shots. That’s something I’ve worked on every day is to just take better shots,” Carter Jr. said. “With our team, someone is always free, so we just have to be good at shooting the ball.”
This year in the Big Ten, only Indiana is doing better than the Terps shooting the ball. The Terps are second in the conference in field goal percentage, connecting .528 percent of their shots, largely due to the offensive talent Carter Jr. referred to. With scorers such as Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, and Rasheed Sulaimon all possessing the ability to be the top scorer on any given night, the rest of the Terps are able to benefit from open looks they receive, especially Carter Jr. Averaging 12.7 points and leading the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game, Carter Jr. is proving himself to be a worthy addition to an already talented Terp squad, and will undoubtedly be an instrumental piece if the Terps hope to have a strong tournament run in March.
“He’s a good player. Robert has a lot to his game. Obviously, low-post scoring, he can shoot the ball from the three, he’s become a better dribbler and passer,” Mark Turgeon said at the team’s media day on Oct. 20. “He’s worked as hard as anybody at trying to improve his game. I hope he has a great year because he’s worked really hard.”