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Freshman guard Keith Carter leaves Saint Louis program

Dec 21, 2012, 2:43 PM EDT

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With the experience that returned to Saint Louis following a trip to the NCAA tournament, it would be tough for a freshman to crack interim head coach Jim Crews’ rotation in 2012-13.

But that wasn’t exactly the case for Chicago native Keith Carter, despite the fact that he played in just three games before deciding to transfer. The news was announced by the school in a press release on Friday.

“When commitments are started, you don’t want to see things like this happen,” Crews said in the brief statement. “Unfortunately this is something that is consistent and constant in college basketball.

“With that said, we wish Keith the best in his future plans.”

The 6-0 guard played a total of 39 minutes for the Billikens, with 21 of those minutes coming in SLU’s 72-45 win over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night. Carter scored a career-best six points against the Panthers in his first action since playing four minutes in a 74-62 loss to Santa Clara in the second game of the season.

Carter strained his foot in the Santa Clara game and apparently felt that he needed more time to heal, but with Kwamain Mitchell out of the lineup the option of redshirting wasn’t available to the freshman.

Because Carter had already played in several games before then, he was unable to receive that benefit. A medical hardship waiver could’ve been applied for, but the two parties couldn’t reach a mutual decision.

“Since [Kwamain Mitchell] was hurt, we didn’t have many guards,” Carter said. “They were trying to do what was best for the team, and trying to do what was best for me. We just couldn’t come to one decision.”

Where the news of Carter deciding to leave the program could hurt Saint Louis revolves around the status of guard Kwamain Mitchell.

Mitchell, who suffered a broken left foot back in October, has yet to play a gams this season but is expected to return in early January. If he’s able to blend in with the Billikens and not have any lingering issues with his foot Saint Louis is more than capable of getting back to the NCAA tournament and contending in the Atlantic 10.

But even with Mitchell out of the lineup the 8-3 Billikens have performed well on the perimeter, with veterans such as Mike McCall Jr. and  Jordair Jett leading the way. Forwards Dwayne Evans (12.4 ppg) and Cody Ellis (11.2) lead the way offensively with McCall Jr., who like Mitchell was named to the Cousy Award Watch List on Thursday, averaging 11.1 points per game.

Carter’s decision to transfer means that Saint Louis will need to hit the recruiting trail for another guard, as they also have to account for Mitchell graduating at the end of this season. Currently the Billikens have one commitment in the 2013 class, 6-5 Tipton, Indiana wing Mike Crawford.

Photo credit: Saint Louis University

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.