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Ben Carter officially joins MSU basketball team

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Ben Carter

East Lansing – Ben Carter is officially a member of the Michigan State basketball team.

The graduate transfer from UNLV announced early in May that he intended to play his final season of eligibility at Michigan State and the school confirmed on Tuesday the 6-foot-9 forward will join the program for the 2016-17 season.

“What struck me about Ben from the very first time I talked to him was that the most important thing to him was winning and being a part of a championship team,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “(Former UNLV interim) Coach (Todd) Simon felt Ben was one of the keys to their team last season before he was injured in January. He’s going to give us a bona fide 4-man, but once again, it’s his passion for winning that most impressed me.”

Carter averaged 8.6 points and six rebounds  in 22 games last season at UNLV before suffering a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 30. Carter scored a season high 16 points in a victory over Indiana in the 2015 Maui Invitational, adding five rebounds.

It was one of 10 double-figure scoring games for Carter, as he also scored 16 points to go along with a season-high 12 rebounds at Colorado State. He posted a second double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Boise State. On the season, Carter shot .556 from the field and .754 from the foul line.

Carter joins a roster that will see its share of changes. Gone are seniors Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes as well as freshman Deyonta Davis, who entered the NBA draft. Forwards Marvin Clark and Javon Bess also transferred following the season.

The Spartans will welcome a highly rated recruiting class, led by five-stars Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford as well as point guard Cassius Winston – Michigan’s Mr. Basketball – and big man Nick Ward.

Carter sat out the 2014-15 season as a redshirt after transferring to UNLV following two seasons at Oregon. As a sophomore in 2013-14, he averaged 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.7 minutes for the Ducks. As a freshman in 2012-13, Carter averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds. He scored a season-high 12 points at UNLV.

With Kenny Goins expected to remain scholarship, it leaves Michigan State with one remaining. The Spartans remain one of several schools being considered by 6-10 forward Taurean Thompson, a four-star from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He is also considering Syracuse and Seton Hall.