This is the first in a series of five posts previewing five players that are going to be keys to the 2010-11 college basketball season in Chicago. (One for each school.) These profiles aren't necessarily about the best player, but a player I expect will make a meaningful impact this season.
When Paul Carter decided to take his game from Minnesota to Chicago and UIC in order to be closer to his ailing sister, he gave UIC a large boost in talent. Carter will play a key role on the Flames this season and it's quite possible that Howard Moore's squad will prominently feature his game.
What is Carter going to do in the Horizon League this season? Good question, my guess is after the jump.
Key Stats (2009-10 with Minnesota): 102.1 Offensive Rating, 22 percent of possessions used, 8.7% Offensive Rebound percentage, 19.5% Defensive Rebound percentage.
In general it has been shown that players don't really change who they are in terms of possessions used during their collegiate career. When Carter decided to come to UIC he brought with him a game that is decidedly that of someone who wants the ball in his hands when he's on the court. And that's a good thing. In the Big Ten last season Carter showed he could handle his role, albeit in limited minutes. Now he'll take that game to the Horizon League.
The guess here is that Carter continues to use between 22 and 25 percent of UIC's possessions when he's on the court. That is right in line with what he did during the Red-Blue scrimmage on Friday night when Carter used 11 of the Blue Team's 43 possessions (25.6 percent) in its 49-29 victory.
If he's going to use that many possessions Carter is going to have to be effective on offense for the Flames to be successful. It seems like he should fit in nicely as a complement to UIC's other top scorers - Robo Kreps and Zavion Neely. Interestingly enough, like Kreps, Carter has the ability to stretch a defense by hitting the three-point shot. He only attempted 32 in 35 games last season, but I'd expect that number to rise in Moore's offensive scheme. Carter went 1-3 from beyond the arc during the scrimmage. Small samples sizes make it hard to predict exactly how good a long-distance shooter he is, but Carter shot 40.6 percent last season, though he was 2-11 the season before. (He's exactly at 33.3 percent for his collegiate career - 17 of 51.)
The other thing I expect Carter to have a big impact on is UIC's defensive rebounding. The graduation of Jeremy Buttell had the potential to decimate the Flames' ability to grab defensive boards, but Carter is an excellent replacement. Between him and K.C. Robbins the team should be able to keep opponents off the offensive glass. Carter grabbed 19.5 percent of the defensive rebounds available when he was on the court last season - and that was in the Big Ten. There's no reason to believe he can't be one of the best rebounders in the Horizon League this season.
If there is one thing that worries me about Carter's metrics, it is that he's been turnover prone in the past. He turned the ball over on 19 percent of his possessions last season. That's not insanely high, but it's not good either. The numbers also suggest he's been a bit of a black hole on offense considering his high usage rate and low assist rates. (It's worth noting though that Carter had three assists and 0 turnovers in the scrimmage.)
Still, Carter should be a welcome addition to the Flames' rotation this season and should give UIC a legitimate third option to pair with Neely and Kreps.