Washington guard Nahziah Carter drives to the basket during the first half of a game against Arizona on March 7, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Washington guard Nahziah Carter drives to the basket during the first half of a game against Arizona on March 7, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Carter announces departure from UW men’s basketball team

The senior guard had been suspended indefinitely, but is now leaving for good to pursue a pro career.

By Lauren Kirschman / The News Tribune

SEATTLE — Washington won’t be getting its leading returning scorer back.

On Friday afternoon, senior guard Nahziah Carter announced on Twitter that he would be leaving UW to pursue a professional basketball career. Carter missed the first three games of the season after he was suspended on Oct. 15 from all team activities for violating the Intercollegiate Athletics student code of conduct.

“After much prayer and conversation with my family. I have decided to leave the University of Washington and pursue my professional career,” Carter tweeted. “Coach Hopkins and the University of Washington has brought out the best in me. For that I will forever be thankful. Forever a Husky!”

After averaging 12.4 points per game in 2019-20, Carter had All-Pac-12-caliber potential heading into this season. He reached double figures in all but eight games and set career-highs in steals (46), blocks (25) and assists (48). Carter, who became known for his athleticism and high-flying dunks, played his best game of the season when he finished with 23 points, three rebounds and three assists in UW’s road win over Arizona State in March.

“Earlier this week, Nahziah and I spoke to discuss his status as a member of our men’s basketball program,” UW head coach Mike Hopkins said in a statement. “In that conversation, he informed me that he will be leaving to pursue a professional basketball career. I am in agreement that this step forward can provide an opportunity for Nahziah’s growth and development.”

Along with forward Hameir Wright, Carter was one of two returning players that started at least 20 games for UW in 2019-20. He steadily improved each season, averaging 5.1 points, 1.7 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game as a freshman before averaging 8.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 20.5 minutes as a sophomore.

“You’re talking about a guy who’s an all-league-caliber player, fourth-year player who started to really thrive in big moments last year,” Hopkins said at the end of October. “Hopefully he can come back. If not, it’ll be a huge loss for us.”

The Huskies, who dropped their first three games of the season, could use Carter’s experience and scoring ability. UW has yet to find a consistent scoring threat outside of Quade Green.

Through three games, the Huskies have shot 60-of-17 (33.9%) from the field and 14-of-74 (18.9%) from the 3-point line. Without Green, they’ve shot 43-of-137 (31.3%) from the field and 9-of-58 (15.5%) from the 3-point line. Carter shot 43.3% from the field and 36.6% from the 3-point line last season.

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