UK's 7-foot freshman impressive in practice

When Jared Carter arrived at Kentucky he found himself facing players his own size for the first time, and promptly had his shot blocked. Instead of being intimidated Carter used the experience as a motivating force for improvement. The 7-footer has been expected to redshirt as a freshman since the day he committed to the Wildcats last spring. However, the improvement in his game is coming at such a fast clip that Tubby Smith is now indecisive on a redshirt for his freshman center.

The first time Jared Carter scrimmaged with his University of Kentucky teammates, he found out just how different college basketball would be from high school.

"The very first scrimmage I got my shot blocked," said Carter, a 7-foot freshman center. "That had never happened to me before. That was so different. But rather than intimidate me, it motivated me.

"I love this game. I want to do the best I can to help this team win. That's why I've done all I can to get ready for this season and be able to hold my own inside. This is just like a dream come true for me. I've thought about something like this since I was a little kid."

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith says Carter has been so impressive in practice that he's not sure if he'll be redshirted or not. Carter insists whatever Smith decides will be fine with him.

"Coach Smith knows what is best for the team and me," Carter said. "If he wants me to redshirt, I will. If he needs me to play, I will. I didn't expect to even be in this position. I'm just trying to fit in and do what is best for me and the team."

That's why he practically lived in the gym over the summer months making sure he was in the best shape of his life and that his basketball skills were as sharp as possible.

"I tried to go in every day and work on my game. I knew it would take that for me to hold my own this year," Carter said.

Teammates have been impressed by the improvement he's made from the end of his senior season at Scott County (Ky.) High School.

"I saw him play last year. He's made major improvements. He's added 20 to 25 pounds. When I watched him last year, he didn't really look like he wanted to play in the paint. He would shoot jump shots," senior Preston LeMaster said. "Now he's taking on a new role. I think he really has a good chance to play and help us this year. He's worked so hard to get better and you can see he's really got serious about becoming a better player."

AllWildcats Top Stories