Is there such a thing as a Wednesday news dump?
On Wednesday evening, literally one minute after 6pm Central time, the Marquette men’s basketball team announced that sophomore guard D.J. Carton was leaving the program to pursue a professional career, as they phrased it. Carton is entering his name into the NBA Draft and signing with an agent, meaning that he is declining the final two years of his collegiate eligibility.
#mubb @DJCarton leaving program to pursue professional basketball career, entering NBA Draft and hiring agent.— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) April 28, 2021
RELEASE ⬇️https://t.co/TXZmwbVYnw pic.twitter.com/WHgnGwLBT1
Here’s Carton’s statement from the MU press release:
“I would like to thank Marquette University, Coach Smart and my teammates for their support throughout my decision process,” Carton said. ”I will be putting my name in for consideration in the 2021 NBA Draft and hiring an agent. I am thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to the next step in my career.”
And here’s the statement from head coach Shaka Smart:
“We fully support D.J.’s decision and wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career,” head coach Shaka Smart said. ”We have enjoyed getting to know him over the past few weeks and we appreciate his contributions to the program.”
Carton led Marquette in both points (13.0) and assists (3.4) this past season, along with chipping in 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while starting in 24 of MU’s 27 games. He provided the Golden Eagles with a quality scoring option as a point guard, although his 28% three-point shooting left a lot to be desired.
The lasting memory of D.J. Carton in a Marquette uniform is going to be him absolutely yamming all over multiple people on various teams. Carton had an ability to accelerate to the rim with an unanticipated quickness, leaving defenders nothing to do but stare up as he emphatically dunked on them as hard as humanly possible.
And so, about 30 hours after Dexter Akanno entered the transfer portal, now D.J. Carton is gone as well. This changes the ol’ Marquette scholarship chart a little bit.
You’ll note that the question marks that went with every returning player for the article on Akanno’s departure are now gone, with the exception of Dawson Garcia. If Garcia elects to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Marquette, then he will be the 13th player on scholarship for Marquette. The NCAA limits teams to a maximum of 13 players on scholarship, so all we’re doing in terms of the roster right now is waiting to see what Garcia does. Either he’s on the 2021-22 roster or he’s not, and so he still gets a question mark.
Of course, that’s not the only important thing to note here. Carton’s departure leaves Marquette with no juniors on the 2021-22 roster. More importantly, Carton’s departure leaves Marquette without anything resembling a reliable experienced Division 1 point guard. Greg Elliott most fits that bill, but since he’s never averaged more than 19 minutes per game nor 1.5 assists per game, we can’t call him experienced. Given Elliott’s injury history, including being recently spotted in a sling in the background of a recent workout video, we can’t call him reliable, either.
Tyler Kolek led George Mason in assists last season at 2.3 per game, but he also had two teammates averaging at least two helpers per outing, so I hesitate to call him reliable or experienced. That leaves Kam Jones and Stevie Mitchell as potential point guard options, but I don’t know how Shaka Smart feels about turning the keys over to a freshman right out of the gate. Then again, he might not have a choice.