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Bettendorf alum Carton to chase NBA dream

Bettendorf alum Carton to chase NBA dream

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Marquette North Carolina Basketball

D.J. Carton (21) drives to the basket against North Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., this past season. Carton, a Bettendorf High graduate, announced Wednesday he's leaving school to pursue a career in professional basketball.

After one season at Marquette University, DJ Carton is leaving school to pursue a career in professional basketball.

The former Iowa Mr. Basketball and all-state point guard from Bettendorf High School announced Wednesday he'll enter this summer's NBA draft.

"I would like to thank Marquette University, coach (Shaka) Smart and my teammates for their support throughout my decision process," Carton said in a statement released by Marquette. "I will be putting my name in for consideration in the 2021 NBA Draft and hiring an agent.

"I am thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to the next step in my career."

The 6-foot-2 Carton, who will turn 21 in August, started 24 games and averaged 13 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest for the Golden Eagles this past season.

Coach Steve Wojciechowski was fired at Marquette following a 13-14 season this past winter. Shaka Smart left Texas to replace Wojciechowski in late March.

Carton had worked out with Smart and the team on multiple occasions in the past few weeks. Davenport Assumption's Emarion Ellis just recently committed and signed with Marquette for next season.

"We fully support DJ's decision and wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career," Smart said. "We have enjoyed getting to know him over the past few weeks and we appreciate his contributions to the program."

Bettendorf's all-time leading scorer at 1,198 points and known for his supreme athleticism and highlight-reel dunks, the left-hander was a prized recruit out of high school.

He chose Ohio State and played 20 games for the Buckeyes in his freshman season, averaging 10.4 points and 3 assists per outing, before leaving the program for mental health issues in late January of 2020.

About three months later, Carton committed to Marquette and was granted a waiver from the NCAA to become immediately eligible.

In an ESPN mock draft by Jonathan Givony in late November, Carton was projected 46th overall (a mid second-round pick).

Carton is not listed on any of the current mock drafts for this year, but has him as the 32nd overall pick in its 2022 mock.

He'll be the second player from the Mississippi Athletic Conference to be in this year's draft. Iowa's Joe Wieskamp, a Muscatine graduate, announced earlier this month he'd be going through the draft evaluation process as well.


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Sports Editor

Sports editor, with my emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 20 years, the last eight at the Q-C Times.

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