TIREY: Carter discusses decision to play for UK

WLAP's and KSR's Jim Tirey spoke to Jared Carter about why he chose Kentucky over North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Jared also offers his point of view on the possibility of redshirting next season.

When the 7-foot-1 Scott County center made up his mind to play his college basketball at Kentucky, all the critics of Tubby Smith had to catch their breath. What would they have to complain about now? They said he didn't want in-state recruits, after Chris Lofton wanted to, but didn't make it to the Kentucky roster two years ago. Carter shoots that theory down. They said he couldn't beat out the big programs for a recruit. Carter, again, takes the air out of that balloon. Jared chose Kentucky over the national champion North Carolina Tar Heels, and the runners-up two years ago, Georgia Tech. Now all the big man has to do is live up to the hype. KSR caught up with Carter to see why he chose Kentucky.

What was the difference maker? How did Kentucky get the nod? It was a tough decision for the youngster, and he loved all of the schools I mentioned. "Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech was in there, too," said Carter. "I thought they were great schools. But it came down to Kentucky. They got a winning tradition. They are a great basketball team. It was just a hard decision. Especially after North Carolina won the national championship." It would be natural for Carter to think he may have made the wrong decision, when he looks at the Tar Heels' roster, and how many players they have lost to graduation and to early entry to the NBA draft. Some may come back to the team, but as of right now, North Carolina has lost their seven top scorers from last season. That's right. The top seven.

Did Carter re-think his position at any time before signing the letter of intent? "I saw where they lose [those guys]," said the center. "I don't know where I would have been if I was there, and I guess I'll never know. I'm here at Kentucky and that's where I'm going to work hard at." But what clinched it for Kentucky? "I guess, being close to home, where your parents can come and watch you, your family and friends, that was kind of a big factor. But like I said, Kentucky basketball has always been a great tradition, they have always had a great team, and Coach Tubby Smith is a great coach. He's great to all his players and he's a friendly guy. I made the right decision."

Where there is an opportunity of playing time at North Carolina, Carter faces just the opposite, in the short term, anyway, at Kentucky. He'll be behind three guys next year at his position. Did that bother him? "That was a big factor, actually. I looked at it. At first, I thought this might get in the way, you know, a couple of seven footers. Then I thought, I haven't played against other guys my size every day. I thought if I play against them everyday, it will just increase my game." He has even started playing as much as he can in pick-up games on the UK campus. "I try to get over here almost every day," said Carter. "The coaches aren't really allowed to coach you right now. I just try to get in there and play pick-up games, and shoot around after, stuff like that." So has Carter learned anything from the big boys in pick-up? "It's been very competitive. It's a big step from high school basketball. I am learning different things every day. I am definitely going to get in here this summer and take some summer classes and try to step my game up this summer."

Now the big question for Carter is whether or not he expects to redshirt. "It could be a good thing and it could be a bad thing," said Carter. I mean, redshirting just gives you another year to get used to college basketball, and the college life, and all the classes and stuff. But, I'm going to try my best not to get redshirted. I'll work hard this summer, but if I have to get redshirted, it's not a very big deal."


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