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Xavier forward Jason Carter has entered the transfer portal

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Carter was a lightning rod for Xavier fans this year, but he filled a role the coaches found vital.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Xavier Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

First, the news:

It's hard to know what to say to you if you didn't see this one coming.

Carter struggled at times this year, especially as the season wore on. Coach Steele reported that Carter was battling injuries through the middle of the year, going from the turn of the calendar through mid-February without being healthy enough to participate in practices.

This no doubt had an impact on Carter's performance. His shooting numbers were way down this year, and it was evident as he left jumpers and free throws short that he just didn't have the legs to generate the necessary lift to shoot effectively. Despite being hamstrung by an almost complete absence of bounce, he actually posted a higher ORtg this year than last thanks to excellent ball security and offensive rebounding numbers.

Despite his struggles, Carter was a mainstay in the lineup. He started 20 of the team's 21 games and got about two thirds of the available minutes. Because of that, he often drew an undeserved amount of criticism from the Xavier faithful. Some fans will be happy to see the back of him, but I don't count myself among them. His effort level and commitment were always high, and his limitations were exacerbated by injury issues. It didn't quite work out the way we had hoped when he came over from Ohio, but I wish him nothing but the best in whatever his next step is.