Paul Carter to transfer from Minnesota

The junior forward plans to move closer to his sister Bria, who is currently fighting cancer.

Minnesota vs. Brown

Matt Mead

Minnesota vs. Brown

John Hageman

The Minnesota menâÄôs basketball team will be without one of its most consistent bench players next year, as junior Paul Carter plans to transfer to be closer to his sister, who is suffering from a form of bone cancer, the team announced Wednesday. Carter appeared in all 35 games for the Gophers during the 2009-10 season and averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game. During his two seasons with the Gophers, Carter averaged 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds a game . In his first year with the team in 2008-09, he averaged a team-high 4.5 rebounds per contest. âÄúWe appreciate everything that Paul contributed to this program in his two seasons in Minneapolis,âÄù head coach Tubby Smith said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. âÄúOur thoughts are with him and his family as his sister Bria continues her battle with cancer. We wish Paul the very best.âÄù Before MinnesotaâÄôs matchup with Wisconsin at Williams Arena on Feb. 18, Carter and his teammates shaved their heads as a sign of support for CarterâÄôs 14-year-old sister. The Gophers went on to win a pivotal game over the then-No. 14 Badgers, 68-52 . âÄúI think that got guys closer to each other,âÄù senior forward Damian Johnson said. âÄúPaul was very happy about that; he was surprised that we all did it.âÄù The news of CarterâÄôs transfer wasnâÄôt necessarily shocking given the circumstances, Johnson said. âÄúYouâÄôre going to want to stay with your family,âÄù he said. âÄúYou donâÄôt know whatâÄôs going to happen with your situation. I feel like he made the right decision.âÄù Johnson added that Carter was the spiritual leader for the Gophers, and his hard work off the court made him a good example for the team. On the court, Carter had a team-high 10 rebounds while shooting 4-for-4 for eight points in the GophersâÄô 69-42 rout of Purdue in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. That win sent the Gophers to their first-ever Big Ten championship game, where they later fell to Ohio State 90-61. However, CarterâÄôs play during the unprecedented run in the conference tournament propelled the Gophers to a NCAA tournament berth, where they lost to Xavier 65-54 in the first round. Carter had a team-high nine rebounds off the bench in the loss. Carter was a force on the glass down the stretch, averaging eight rebounds a game during the last three games of the season. The 6-foot-8-inch forward also reached a couple career milestones last season, grabbing his 200th career rebound against Penn State on Feb. 6 and scoring his 300th point against Northwestern just more than a week later. Carter played one year in junior college at Missouri State University-West Plains before transferring to Minnesota for his sophomore season in 2008-09. The only double-double of CarterâÄôs Minnesota career came a season ago against Wisconsin in a 78-74 overtime victory on Jan. 15, 2009 . Carter had 10 points along with a career-high 11 rebounds. Carter also scored a career-high 22 points in 22 minutes in a 64-52 victory over Indiana on Feb. 10, 2009. With Johnson leaving the team and junior Trevor MbakweâÄôs legal issues yet to be resolved, CarterâÄôs departure may leave the Gophers in danger of being thin at the forward position next season. -Max Sanders contributed to this report.