After Rutgers coach Mike Rice was let go following the release of videotaped practices where he was seen physically and verbally abusing his players, a number of them have asked for and been granted their release. Jerome Seagers, Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett were all granted releases from their scholarships and Mike Poole has asked for his.
Now, Eli Carter has been given his release and Duke is one of seven schools that have made contact with the 6'2" guard. Brian Coleman, Carter's AAU coach at Sports U. told me via text earlier this evening that Florida, Xavier, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Nebraska and Seton Hall join the Blue Devils in inquiring. Carter averaged double figures in scoring both his freshman and sophomore years while playing with the Scarlet Knights.
Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com was the first to report that Duke Associate Head Coach Steve Wojciechowski got in touch about Eli and I can confirm that they have spoken with his father Dale Sterling. There are a number of connections between Duke University and Carter, beginning with his high school coach Bob Hurley, Sr. Former Duke point guard Kyrie Irving is known as one of Carter's best friends as well.
The interest from Duke was a bit surprising, considering that the Blue Devils have targeted Tyus Jones from the Class of 2014 heavily and current point guard Quinn Cook would be a senior on the roster. However, eligibility for the departing Rutgers players has not been determined at this time, and the NCAA could allow them to play next season without sitting out. The Blue Devils have their max allotment of 13 players on scholarship for the 2013-14 season, but walk-on Todd Zafirovski's scholarship is not guaranteed.
When asked if he thought the Kyrie-Eli connection put Duke in front for the transfer, Coleman disagreed.
"I'm not sure if it gives Duke a leg up. Eli wants to go to the school that's the best fit for him," said Coleman. "The school that needs him the most and gives him the best opportunity to showcase his talent."
One other school is still in contention for his services, according to Coleman.
"He's also going to meet with [new Rutgers head coach] Eddie Jordan as well to see what his plans are for the future."
photo via ScarletKnights.com