AMES, IOWA — There are common words thrown around when teammates talk about freshman forward Simeon Carter. He’s athletic. He’s long. He’s raw.
The list of adjectives goes on and on.
Carter himself won’t offer many of those. For one, the 6-foot-9 forward is quiet. For another, his descriptions are mostly short and fairly modest.
“Simeon is super talented, super long, super athletic,” Georges Niang said. “I think the biggest thing with him is his motor. He’s constantly playing hard and I feel like that’s like Jameel’s, I don’t want to say twin but...”
“Shadow?” a reporter offered.
“Yeah,” Niang agreed.
He paused and peered through doors on the Hilton Coliseum concourse.
“Look at them, I think they’re walking together out there right now,” Niang said. “They’re just always with each other. Jameel is really putting his arm around him and really guiding him to be maybe Jameel or maybe better than that.”
Could Carter be the second coming of Jameel McKay?
“You could say that,” Carter said after a pause. “Or you could say the first coming of Simeon Carter too.”
In some ways, Iowa State lucked upon Carter. He was all set to head off to SMU before eligibility concerns — unrelated to the NCAA — popped up. He took a visit to Iowa State in August and the rest is history.
When the team returned from Spain, Carter arrived in town, and the lanky forward has been playing catch-up ever since.
“Everything is new,” coach Steve Prohm said. “He wasn’t here this summer, so he’s kind of behind the eight ball, but his upside is great. Hopefully during the nonconference there are some games where you can sit Jameel, sit Georges and get him some extended minutes.”
With a wingspan of 7-foot-1 ½, Carter offers a long frontcourt presence. As a senior at West Charlotte (N.C.), Carter averaged 14.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as a leader on a 24-4 team.
As a rookie now, Carter has a modest minutes number in mind.
“For a freshman, at least eight [minutes],” he said. “That’s OK with me.”
“Simeon Carter is going to be a totally different player now than he is when we go to Oklahoma in January,” Prohm said. “That’s [a] realistic [number].”
As for realistic longterm expectations, Carter’s “shadow” has some thoughts.
“The sky is the limit for him. He can be as good as he wants to be,” McKay said. “Right now he’s still raw and young. I think if people just are patient with him — because he is a true freshman and he did miss the whole summer — they’ll really appreciate him. If not in the beginning of the year, by the end of the year and for sure next year I think people will appreciate him more.”