And now, at long last, our national nightmare is over.
On Wednesday, Marquette men’s basketball announced that the NCAA has processed the paperwork and approved a waiver for transfer guard D.J. Carton. The former Ohio State player will be immediately eligible for the Golden Eagles instead of sitting out the 2020-21 season due to the usual transfer redshirt rules. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining with Marquette.
BREAKING: The NCAA has granted @DJCarton a waiver and he is immediately eligible to play for #mubb in 2020-21 after transferring from Ohio State. Averaged 10.4 ppg. in 20 appearances last season and has three years of eligibility with MU. pic.twitter.com/cPYlZ7rI6Y— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) June 17, 2020
Carton appeared in 20 games as a freshman in 2019-20 for Chris Holtmann and Ohio State, earning a start in three of them. He averaged 23.9 minutes per game and chipped in 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. He shot exactly 40% from behind the arc, posted an Offensive Rating of 103.7 per KenPom.com, and added a 26.9% assist rate to go along with that. That was better than Markus Howard at 26.2% and ranked #154 in the country to give you some context. Because Carton left the Ohio State roster due to mental health related personal issues after 20 games, he didn’t play in enough minutes to qualify amongst the national leaders in assist rate, thus the comparison to Howard.
The immediate eligibility of Carton does a lot of good for Marquette and head coach Steve Wojciechowski for the 2020-21 season, presuming that we actually get one due to the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s drop in the ol’ scholarship chart, freshly updated of course, to provide a helpful visual aid.
Carton is now a sophomore, joining Symir Torrence in terms of eligibility class as well as in the MU backcourt. The oft-injured Greg Elliott and the disappointing Koby McEwen are the only other returning backcourt guys for Marquette along with the little used Torrence. Installing Carton as the immediate starting point guard goes a long way towards pasting over the offensive hole left behind by Markus Howard’s graduation. Having a proven reliable quantity in the backcourt should help MU’s freshman bigs out in terms of getting accustomed and acclimated to Division 1 hoops pretty quickly.
Beyond the idea of how Carton fits into the rotation, his mere existence is helpful. MU will now have 10 players eligible to play in 2020-21 with Jose Perez still expected to sit out on a transfer redshirt and two scholarships sitting open after Brendan Bailey elected to pursue a professional career. Sure, odds are that Wojciechowski won’t actually go 10 deep regularly, but just having 10 guys instead of nine might turn out to be important at some point. In addition, four of those 10 guys have never played a Division 1 minute before, although Dexter Akanno was on the roster and redshirting in 2019-20. Having a reliable point guard like Carton should be helpful in steering the MU ship in a positive direction.
Marquette is slated to start the 2020-21 season against Lehigh on Tuesday, November 10th. More info on television and tip-off time is yet to come, although I suppose there’s still the pandemic question of if any of these games actually get played.