Maryland pursued Robert Carter, Jr., in high school but was unable to sign him. The second time around, he’s now a Terrapin.
It’s largely the work of assistant coach Bino Ranson, whose Georgia recruiting ties have helped to bring in former Maryland forward Charles Mitchell, incoming freshman center Trayvon Reed, and now Carter, Jr.
So what will Carter, Jr., bring once he’s eligible to play in 2015-16?
Most notably, he’s a double-double threat every night. He registered six double-doubles in 23 games last season and came less than two points or two rebounds shy in six others.
By comparison, Maryland as a team had six total double-doubles by points and rebounds last season.
Carter, Jr., packs a diverse offensive game with the ability to run the floor, post up, or face up on the block. His 47-percent mark from the field is a bit lower than the staff would likely want from a big. That number includes 52-percent shooting from inside the arc.
But perhaps the best most important part of Carter, Jr.’s commitment is how he fits with the other pieces coach Mark Turgeon has assembled in the frontcourt.
Carter, Jr., is a true power forward who pairs nicely with Maryland's collection of three seven-footers (or near seven-footers) in Damonte Dodd, Trayvon Reed, and Michal Cekovsky.
Dodd and Reed are being groomed as shot blockers and rim protectors and still have a long way to go until they’ll be consistent offensive contributors.
Because of that, come 2015-16 Cekovsky and Carter, Jr., will be in position to be the inside scorers that Maryland needs for its secondary break offense to work most effectively.
The Terrapins like to spread the floor, often pushing four players outside with one on the interior. But unless the post player positioned in the paint can score in one-on-one situations or command attention off the pick-and-roll, the defense isn't held as accountable and it becomes easier to defend.
With a player like Carter, Jr., on the interior, defenses will either have to live with playing him one-on-one, or bring help defense which in turn frees shooters on the perimeter like Jake Layman, Dion Wiley, and Melo Trimble.
It also brings flexibility with the screen game, which either gives guards driving lanes or creates open paths to the rim for the big out of the four-out, one-in set.
Maryland often used Alex Len in that capacity, but his departure to the NBA limited Turgeon’s options this past season. Add Cekovsky in Len’s spot, or Carter, and the Terrapins can regain what they had lost once the Georgia native becomes eligible.