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Eli Carter to Florida, and Terps turn their focus elsewhere

Streeter Lecka

Guess we'll never get to figure out how the Eli Carter experiment would've gone down: the Rutgers transfer guard, who was previously down to Maryland and Florida, has chosen the Gators over Mark Turgeon and the Terps.

Rutgers transfer Eli Carter is off the board to Florida, sources told on Tuesday afternoon.

Carter chose the Gators over Maryland, although several other schools had shown interest after he received his release from Rutgers. He announced his transfer following the firing of head coach Mike Rice.

Not a huge surprise, perhaps, given that he skipped his visit to College Park and always seemed like an odd fit at Maryland anyway. But while I was always a tad bit skeptical about another high-volume, low-efficiency two-guard, it does disappoint a little, for two reasons: first, Maryland still was in need of depth, both overall in the team and also at guard in particular; and second, Mark Turgeon apparently wanted him, and as I've alluded to before, Turgeon has carte blanche until he does something to make you think he shouldn't.

Regardless, it's tough to think that he's going to be comfortable with nine scholarship players and such little depth, so Carter's decision means the search for immediate reinforcements likely continues. Like for, say, Antonio Barton, who, as was mentioned in the MM, is considering Maryland - to what degree is still uncertain, but without Carter in College Park you'd think the playing time he seems to covet would be available.

And Barton does make a lot of sense. He's a lead guard more than Carter was, not a pure point but comfortable running the show, and is an above-average shooter. He's local. He's a one-year stop-gap, so won't bottleneck Roddy Peters or Romelo Trimble. And, of course, he's named Barton, which, to be frank, is probably why most fans like him (and not to mention a surname that, you'd imagine, still carries some weight in Charm City grassroots circles). Not a difference-maker ala Dez, but a potentially clever addition nonetheless.

There are other names, Vertrail Vaughns chief among them. But few seem likely to make an impact like Carter may've or Barton would. The search continues.