Legendary St. Anthony’s (N.J.) basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr. witnessed how Florida coach Billy Donovan molded Mike Rosario into a productive team player.
And Hurley said Monday he thinks Donovan could do the same for Rutgers transfer Eli Carter, if given the opportunity. Carter, who is mulling between Florida and Maryland, arrived in Gainesville on Sunday and visited the Florida campus on Monday.
“Billy could certainly tighten up his game,” Hurley said. “When you play for a losing team, there is a different approach when it comes to shot selection compared to when you are part of a team with more talent around you. You don’t have to take on that responsibility. Eli can do more by doing less (shooting).”
Like Rosario, Hurley coached Carter at St. Anthony’s, watching the 6-foot-2 guard grow into a player who averaged just eight points per game as a sophomore to a standout who signed a letter of intent to play at Rutgers out of high school.
“Billy would like coaching him,” said Hurley, who described Carter’s personality as quiet. “He was a late bloomer for us. He loves basketball. He was in the gym all the time.”
Carter averaged 14.9 points per game as a sophomore at Rutgers before his season ended in mid-February with a broken leg.
“I think you get someone who can put it on the floor,” Hurley said. “He can get his own shot. He can get to the basket. He draws a lot of contact. He’s a little bit of a streaky shooter, but he has range (out the 3-point line).”
Carter shot 32 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore after shooting 35.3 percent as a freshman. But Hurley thinks that Carter could be productive with better shot selection in Donovan’s ball-screen offense.
“He can turn the corner,” Hurley said. “He can get by people. I think with (Scottie) Wilbekin, Mike (Rosario) and (Kenny) Boynton, I don’t think any of those guys could create (offense) off the dribble like Eli.”
Hurley said he hasn’t seen Carter work out since the broken leg, but has talked with his father weekly since the injury.
“I know that the cast just came off,” Hurley said. “I don’t see it as something that would set him back.”
Update: According to CBS/WFAN’s Jon Rothstein, Carter has canceled his visit to Maryland.