Earlier this week, the Valparaiso Crusaders got some unfortunate news as fifth-year senior Keith Carter was denied his medical redshirt. As such, he will be ineligible to play next season. The guard had suffered with injury during the 2012-13 season and the program had been hoping that as a result, Carter would get one more year of eligibility.
Of course, that's not how things went.
During his career, Carter appeared in a total of 82 games for the Crusaders after transferring from Saint Louis. His numbers gradually improved during his time with the program and topped out last year when he played in 36 games and averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Carter might not have been the team's primary scorer last season, but he was a huge piece of the offense and played an impressive 1,038 total minutes over the course of the year, which was second on the team. All told, he was the most consistent presence in the team's backcourt and was expected to offer experience heading into next season.
Unfortunately, the Crusaders will now have to look for other answers in the backcourt.
With Carter and Darien Walker both departing Valparaiso's backcourt, there are not going to be any easy answers. Both Shane Hammink and Max Joseph are set to return next season, but neither is even close to a proven option at this point. In fact, both players had offensive ratings below 100 last season and neither played even 50 percent of the team's minutes over the course of the year.
The good news is that at least Valparaiso has options. Hammink and Joseph aren't proven, but at least both players have seen action. Plus, freshman Micah Bradford could be a viable bench option if one of the two returners doesn't work out. If even one of those three can turn into a competent starter, this could still be a solid backcourt.
Overall, Carter's departure will be a big loss for the Crusaders. There are certainly some options to replace him heading into next season, but having a senior like him back in the lineup would have been a huge boost. Additionally, with Alec Peters still testing the NBA Draft waters, there is a lot of uncertainty about Valparaiso for next year. The big question will be whether the younger returners can hit the ground running.