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Bettendorf's Carton leaving Ohio State program
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Bettendorf's Carton leaving Ohio State program

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Ohio St Men's Basketball

D.J. Carton is leaving the Ohio State basketball program after playing 20 games in his freshman season.

Former Bettendorf High School basketball star DJ Carton’s stay at Ohio State was a relatively short one.

Ohio State announced Thursday that Carton had entered the NCAA’s transfer portal with plans go to some other school. Carton played in 20 games this season before leaving the team for personal reasons.

Shortly after Ohio State’s announcement, Carton followed with a message on Twitter.

He began by thanking "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," Carton added. "After some careful thought and consideration, I have decided to make a fresh start and enter the transfer portal. I wish Coach (Chris) Holtmann and my teammates the best of luck next year. Please respect my decision."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard was the highest ranked recruit in the Big Ten this season and entered his freshman campaign with lofty expectations.

He was named the Big Ten’s preseason freshman of the year, but Florida State transfer CJ Walker started at point guard ahead of him all season.

Carton still played in the first 20 games of the season, making three starts, and was third on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game. He also averaged 2.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, shot 47.7% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 75.9% from the foul line.

He left the team in late January and returned home to Bettendorf for what was described as "mental health" reasons. He returned to Ohio State about a month later but never rejoined the basketball team.

Holtmann issued a statement saying the Buckeyes "100% support DJ 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."

Holtmann said late in the season that his only concern was to get Carton healthy again.

"When you leave for medical reasons, there’s a lot that goes into it any way being acclimated back, really even outside of our hands, acclimated back into any type of organized activity," the coach said.

"When a player is pulled away for medical reasons, specifically mental health, there are very specific and extended protocols that go into that. And it’s to protect the player, and it’s pretty extensive."

Carton had a storied career at Bettendorf, setting the school’s single-season scoring record as a junior and being named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball as a senior last year. He averaged 24.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists as a senior and became the Bulldogs’ career scoring leader.

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