Ohio State freshman D.J. Carton’s time in Columbus appears to be over. Per a university spokesman, Carton has entered the transfer portal. Ohio State had coach Chris Holtmann issued a brief statement, thanking Carton for his contributions to Ohio State.
“We 100% support D.J. in this decision and we genuinely wish him all the best moving forward. We appreciate all he contributed to our program. We will assist him in any way we can.”
Carton issued a statement as well.
“Buckeye Nation, I first want to say thank you to all the Ohio State fans who supported me during the difficult times I went through this year. I also want to thank the university, my teammates, the coaches and all the staff who went above and beyond to help my family and me this year. After some careful thought and consideration, I have decided to make a fresh start and enter the transfer portal. I wish Coach Holtmann and my teammates the best of luck next year. Please respect my decision ”
The move comes after a long period of uncertainty between Carton and Ohio State. The former five-star recruit from Iowa played 20 games for the Buckeyes before announcing on Jan. 30 that he was stepping away from the program, citing mental health issues. He returned home for nearly a month, but returned to Columbus and resumed classes on Feb. 20. However, he did not return to the basketball team, and Holtmann indicated that there was no timetable in the 2019-2020 season for his return.
“I would say, as it pertains to him, I’m hopeful that we can get him on a path toward improved health. That’s the only priority,” said Holtmann. “Obviously we’re late in the season, so you can draw your own conclusions on that. It’s late in the year. He’s been away for a while. If and when he returns, when you leave for medical reasons — there’s a lot that goes into being in any way — really even outside of our hands, acclimated back into any type of organized activity.”
Now in the portal, Carton will likely eye a move closer to home. He considered Iowa, Indiana and Michigan in his recruitment along with Ohio State, and it seems as though the Hawkeyes would be a natural fit for the Bettendorf native.
With Carton off the roster, Ohio State is now at the scholarship limit with incoming freshmen Zed Key and Eugene Brown factored in and Andre Wesson factored out, but an additional spot could be cleared for Harvard transfer Seth Towns, who is set to announce his next school this week. Star center Kaleb Wesson has long been considered an NBA draft lean, and could look to make that jump, clearing a spot for Towns.
It seems as though Ohio State was prepared for something like this, and has expressed interest in two transfer point guards: Qunnipiac’s Rich Kelly, and Wichita State’s Jamarius Burton. Kelly would be eligible immediately, Burton would likely have to sit.
Carton averaged 10.4 points, 3.0 steals and 2.8 assists in 23.9 minutes per game at Ohio State. He shot 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three.