Ohio State freshman D.J. Carton stepping away from team to work on mental health

Ohio State guard D.J. Carton announced that he is stepping back from the team to focus on his mental health. (AP/Julio Cortez)

In an effort to work on his mental health, Ohio State freshman D.J. Carton is taking a break from the Buckeyes, effective immediately.

Carton announced via Twitter on Thursday night that he needs to “temporarily” step back from the team, as his mental health isn’t at “100 percent right now.”

“In making this decision, I felt it was important to be transparent as to why I’m taking this break,” Carton wrote. “I have been suffering with mental health issues for a couple years. I have been through a lot. I’m disappointed to say I’m not 100 percent right now. 

“I am not doing my teammates justice if I don’t work on this now. I am doing everything in my power to strengthen my mental health. I will fight for my team and Buckeye nation and I will come back stronger. If you are going through mental health issues, I have learned through this you are loved and valued.”

Carton has averaged 10.4 points and three assists in nearly 24 minutes per game this season at Ohio State. He dropped a team-high 17 points off the bench while shooting 6-of-8 from the field in their 71-59 win against Northwestern on Sunday, too. 

The Iowa native was a Rivals.com four-star recruit and the No. 6-ranked point guard in his class.

It’s unclear when Carton will return to the team. The Buckeyes — who started out the season on a 12-0 run while picking up marquee wins over No. 13 Kentucky, No. 24 Penn State and No. 8 Villanova — are set to host Indiana on Saturday before traveling to Michigan on Tuesday. They have dropped six of their last eight, however, and have fallen out of the rankings.

“D.J. remains a valued member of our program and we will continue to love and support him,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement, via Cleveland.com. “Please respect the family’s privacy in this matter.”

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