The NCAA granted a sixth-year waiver to Michigan State graduate transfer Ben Carter on Monday.
In theory, that’s a good sign for N.C. State guard Terry Henderson’s chances for a waiver from the NCAA. In theory, because the NCAA doesn’t always follow its own precedents.
Still, Carter’s success is encouraging for the Wolfpack, which as it stands at 8:45 a.m. on May 9 has eight eligible players on scholarship for the 2017-18 basketball season.
Henderson averaged 13.8 points per game and led the Wolfpack in 3-pointers (78) last season. The 6-5, 190-pound guard from Raleigh would be a good fit in new coach Kevin Keatts’ up-tempo, 3-point heavy system.
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N.C. State submitted the paperwork for Henderson’s waiver after its season ended in the ACC tournament on March 7. The NCAA has given the school no timetable for the decision. There was no update to report as of Tuesday morning.
The traditional NCAA clock allows athletes to play four seasons over five years. There’s one built-in redshirt year for injury or transfer.
Henderson transferred from West Virginia after two seasons in 2014 and sat out one season. The 2016-17 season was his fifth in college. Hence, the need to apply for a waiver.
But Henderson’s redshirt-junior season at N.C. State lasted only 7 minutes. He suffered ligament damage in his right ankle in the first half of the season-opener and missed the final 32 games of the season.
Traditionally, the NCAA has only granted a sixth-year waiver if an athlete has missed all or most of two full seasons with an injury. Henderson missed only one with injury. The NCAA considers the transfer year to be a choice.
N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley, a grad transfer from Boise State, missed his first season in 2013 at Boise with a shoulder injury. Then he broke his ankle in the first quarter of the third game of the 2015 season and missed the final 10 games. The NCAA granted Finley a sixth-year waiver last summer.
The NCAA has been more flexible with transfers and sixth-year waivers recently and both Carter and Oregon’s Dylan Ennis have similar cases to Henderson’s.
Carter started his career at Oregon in 2012 and played two seasons for the Ducks. He transferred to UNLV and sat out the 2014-15 season. He played one season at UNLV (2015-16) but suffered a major knee injury on Jan. 30 after 22 games.
He graduated and transferred to Michigan State last season. That would have been his fifth season, but he suffered another knee injury and didn’t play at all. He was granted a sixth year by the NCAA on Monday.
Ennis is another former transfer who was granted a sixth-year by the NCAA. Ennis began his career at Rice in 2011 and transferred to Villanova. He sat out a year and then played two years for the Wildcats.
He graduated in 2015 and transferred to Oregon. In what would have been his fifth year, Ennis was able to play only two games, for a total of 21 minutes, because of a foot injury. The NCAA granted Ennis a sixth year and he helped the Ducks reach the Final Four in April.
The NCAA didn’t count the transfer year against Carter or Ennis. Like Carter and Ennis, Henderson has completed his undergraduate degree. The NCAA rewarded both with a sixth year at a new school. The only difference with Henderson is he is trying to get a sixth year at the same school.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Apples to apples?
The NCAA doesn’t always follow its own precedents but Michigan State’s Ben Carter and Oregon’s Dylan Ennis offer hope for Terry Henderson’s sixth-year waiver. How their timelines compare:
DNP — transfer (ineligible)
Note: *ankle injury, missed 32 games
DNP — injured
DNP — transfer (ineligible)
Note: *knee injury, missed 11 games
DNP — transfer, ineligible
Note: *foot injury, missed 36 games